Perth Glory under 18’s are the West Australian Top Four Cup Grand Finals winners after a stunning 4-0 win against league winners Stirling Lions at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday.
The youngsters had been beaten three times by the Lions this season, but in the final they deserved the win, with second half goals from Adam Zimarino, Ethan Brooks, Liam Murray and Abias Bukuru sealing an amazing victory. Glory Coach Callum Salmon said it was a great performance from the side.
“I can’t express how proud I am of the boys today,” he said.
“Everyone was outstanding and the two things they took on board after past performance was dealing with their counter attack really well, and we took advantage of our opportunities, and I can’t fault them.
“Stirling are such a tough team to play against, well worthy of winning the league, but we just dealt with them better today.
“They were dangerous going forward, but it was better defensive performance today, we all know Stirling can turn over any team, on any day, but today was our day.”
Glory striker Abias Bukura led the line well and was a constant threat to Stirling, he said they worked hard during the week and it paid off on the day.
“It was a good performance from the boys today, the last time we played them, especially in the first half, we didn’t perform as we wanted to,” Bukura explained.
“But today we went out and put into plan what the coaches wanted us to do and we got the win.
“We have tried to play our style of football all season, and tried to find the open spaces, sometimes it’s not work like we wanted it to, but today it did and got the win.
“I was happy I got a goal today, I was hungry for one all game, so I was really happy to score the last one to top off a great win for us.”
Skipper Luka Bodnar said it finished off a good season for the side and him personally.
“We worked hard as a team today, against a good opposition, and deservedly came out on top,” he explained.
“We finished our chances today, which we haven’t in past games against them, we were solid at the back and we worked for each other and got the rewards.
“It’s been a great season for the boys, and I’m proud to have led them to success today, and I’m really happy of what I’ve accomplished this season, and I hope there is more to come next season.”
It was a lively opening with both sides going close early. First Stirling striker Bleron Mamudi fired wide after finding space in the box after only two minutes.
Then moments later Bukuru was sent clear by Riley Warland, but Stirling keeper Calum Atkins was out quick to save at the strikers feet.
Both keepers were working overtime, Atkins produced a good save to deny Aiden Edwards, before Liam Levy went one better saving superbly to thwart Denzil Tshuma.
There were further half chances, but both sets of defenders weren’t to be beaten and they went to the break at 0-0.
It was a perfect start to the second half for the Glory youngsters and they hit the front four minutes in.
The lively Bukuru found space in the box and picked out Zimarino who made no mistake from close-range.
It was Glory who were now dictating terms and Murray went close to doubling their lead on the hour, his shot on the turn whistled inches past the post.
But Glory’s pressure was rewarded with a second eight minutes later. A short corner caught Stirling napping and the ball was delivered to Brookes in the area, and the substitutes shot on the turn beat Atkins.
Stirling looked to hit back and Ben Campbell’s header was superbly tipped over by Levy, but the Glory looked dangerous every time they went forward.
Joe Tweats came close to making it three, when he was sent clear, but his lob over Atkins drifted inches wide of the post.
But on 84 minutes Glory added a third. Brooks’ slide-rule through ball sent Murray away and he finished clinically past Atkins.
The scoring was wrapped up five minutes later, with Bukuru scoring a goal his performance deserved. Brooks was the supplier again sending the striker clear and he made no mistake.
It could have been five in stoppage-time, when Brookes was brought down in the box by Mason Langham and referee Darren Quinlan pointed straight to the spot.
Bukuru stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but Atkins guessed the right way to safe, but it didn’t spoils a superb second half performance from Glory's youngsters, who take out the West Australian Top Four Cup.
Also - the club is proud to announce the Joeys selection of Jacob Italiano, Jaidon Selden, Bryce Bafford and Jackson Lee, set to represent Australia in the AFC U16 Championship qualifiers this weekend. More details on FIFA's site here: bit.ly/2cPSzvk
Stirling Lions 0
Perth Glory 4 (Zimarino 49’, Brooks 68’, Murray 84’, Bukuru 89’)
Saturday September 10, 2016
Venue: Dorrien Gardens, West Perth
Referee: Darren Quinlan
Assistants: Jake Friend, Mark McKane
Fourth Official: Max Hallas
Stirling Lions: GK Callum ATKINS, 2 Alan REIDY, 3 Jayden DODS, 4 Mason LANGHAM, 5 Nicholas ASHLEY (12 Nigel SMITH 77’), 6 Thomas BALCH, 7 Robbie MCNEILL, 8 Joey PERKINS (16 Roman MANDYCZEWSKY 83’), 9 Ben CAMPBELL, 10 Denzil TSHUMA (14 Daniel STONE 62’), 11 Bleron MAMUDI
Subs not used: 15 Oliver WATSON
Yellow Cards: Reidy, Langham, Ashley
Perth Glory: GK Liam LEVY, 2 Harry QUIGLEY, 3 Luca BODNAR, 4 Thomas EIJGENHUIJSEN, 5 Riley WARLAND (12 Zayd FARAH 36’), 6 Sasa NJEGIC, 7 Liam MURRAY, 8 Joe TWEATS, 9 Abias BUKURU, 11 Adam ZIMARINO (13 Ethan BROOKS 60’) 21 Aiden EDWARDS (14 Kian MCGUIGAN 74’),
Subs not used: 15 Huz GHAZALI, 16 Sam KOKKORIS
Yellow Cards: Bukuru, Brooks