There were mixed results for Perth Glory’s PS4 NPL-WA side’s on the weekend, the Under 18’s were beaten 3-0 by league winners Stirling Lions at Dorrien Gardens in the West Australian under 18’s Top Four Cup Major Semi-Final, but there was better news for Bobby Despotovski’s under 20’s who beat Balcatta 1-0 in the under 20’s minor semi-final.
There were no second chances for the under 20’s and they made a perfect start and hit the front on 25 minutes, Sam Pollard’s stunning shot from the edge of the box giving the keeper no chance.
Both sides had late chances, Glory keeper Stefan King was alert to save Scott Newland’s header, before Losene Dulleh fired wide with the goal at his mercy.
Pollard fired wide for the Glory early in the second half, before the lively Newland made room in the box, but his shot was superbly saved by King.
The Glory went close again with Dulleh firing wide, but at the final whistle it was the Glory running out 1-0 winners and moving into a Preliminary Final with Armadale on Tuesday evening.
Under 20’s coach Bobby Despotovski said it was a good all-round team performance, but they must start to keep possession better.
“I thought we dominated them today, but we made too many mistakes and kept them in the game,” he said.
“They had a few players with NPL first team experienced today, but that’s the rules, we have to deal with it, but I’m proud the way boys responded when they put us under pressure late on.”
Pollard said they (Balcatta) made it hard for them.
“We had to fight to the last minute to hold on to our lead, but we did create a lot of chances today,” he said.
“It’s great to score the winner, but it was a team effort today and the hot conditions took a great deal out of us all.
“We now have to recover and be ready for Tuesday Preliminary's Final against a good Armadale side.”
The U-18s began well against the league winners Stirling Lions, and Liam Murray’s cross picked out Abias Bukuru early, but he headed straight at the keeper.
It was end-to-end football but the Glory youngsters were holding their own, and Murray went close himself on the half hour, but his shot was well saved by Lions keeper Callum Atkins.
But just before half time, and against the run of play, Stirling hit the front.
A loose ball in the penalty area was finished by Thomas Balch.
The Glory went close to the leveller early in the second half; Adam Zimarino’s free kick was pushed around the post by the Lion's keeper.
As Glory pressed forward, looking for the equaliser, the cubs were caught out on a counter attack on 75 minutes and doubled their lead.
The result was put beyond the youngsters when Denzil Tshuma scored a third late on, but Coach Callum Salmon said his players were magnificent.
“I’m really proud of the way the boys played and the amount of chances and opportunities we created throughout the game,” he said.
“Very disappointed to concede the goals we did, uncharacteristic and probably a result of nerves when we didn't capitalise on our opportunities.
“Physically we’re not at the same level of Stirling, but a great challenge and a fantastic part of the players’ development. We'd love to play a team like Stirling every week; it's always a top contest.”
The U-20s take on Armadale at Inglewood Stadium on Tuesday evening (7.00pm) in the Preliminary Final, while the under 18s take on Balcatta on Wednesday with a 6.30pm kick off at the same venue.