Smith sends Bayswater into FFA Cup national Round of 32
Bayswater City moved into the FFA Cup national Round of 32 and the Belt Up Cup Final after a hard fought 1-0 win against Rockingham City at Frank Drago Reserve on Sunday afternoon.
The only goal of the preliminary Round Seven tie came from Scottish striker Gordon Smith 20 minutes from time.
And despite Rockingham pressing late in the game they couldn’t find the equaliser as Bayswater moved into their first State Cup Final since 2014.
Bayswater will face Floreat Athena in the Belt Up Cup Final, a repeat of the NPL WA Night Series Final which Floreat won on penalties.
The rain clouds were hovering at kick off but it didn’t affect the home side who were on the front foot early. Daryl Nicol’s shot on the run flashed inches wide after only 10 minutes, before the Scottish winger’s acrobatic volley went over the top moments later.
But Rockingham hit back and veteran keeper Gianni Papalia was out quickly to thwart James Harmer five minutes later, before a Riley van Dieken shot whistled the wrong side of the upright.
The best chance of the half fell to Rockingham two minutes before the break. A great run by the speedy van Dieken ended with a ball into Harmer, whose goal bound shot was well saved by Papalia.
Smith was in on goal early in the second half after good approach work from Jason Mirco, but a great last-ditch tackle from Mitch Firth saved the day for Rockingham.
Rockingham were dangerous going forward and Papalia was at full stretch to tip Jason Pottier’s shot from the edge of the box around the post.
Bayswater thought they had a penalty five minutes later when Nicol fell under a challenge from Jarred Mort, but referee Josh Mannella was well placed to wave away their protests.
But on 70 minutes the home side found the opener. A ball over the top sent Smith clear and he held off his marker before finishing with aplomb past Cyril Sharrock.
Rockingham weren’t finished and led superbly by skipper Harmer they pressed for the equaliser. Papalia reacted well to save Harmer’s angled shot, before Firth fired straight at the Bayswater keeper moments later.
With Rockingham pushing men forward Bayswater were always dangerous on the break and Nicol shot straight at Sharrock, before Todd Howarth’s cross picked out Giordano Colli but his effort was well saved by Sharrock.
However Rockingham couldn’t find the equaliser, and at the final whistle it was Bayswater celebrating a spot in the last 32 of the FFA Cup and place in next month’s Belt Up Cup Final, where they will face Floreat.
Star player: Gordon Smith (Bayswater City)
Bayswater City 1 (Smith 70min)
Rockingham City 0
Athena through after penalty drama
Floreat Athena advanced to the national FFA Cup Round of 32 and the Belt Up Cup Final following a penalty shoot-out win over Sorrento at E&D Litis Stadium.
The preliminary Round Seven tie finished 1-1 after extra-time before Floreat went through 4-3 on penalties – Jesse Fuller scoring the winning spot-kick.
It is the second time Floreat have advanced to this stage of the FFA Cup, after facing Melbourne City in 2016. And this is the third time they have prevailed on penalties in 2019 after wins over Rockingham and Bayswater in the Night Series.
It was perhaps no surprise the match was decided on penalties after referee Matthew Southern awarded three during the match itself.
The home side were presented with the first opportunity on 17 minutes when Gulls keeper James Morgan fouled Robert Petkov in the area. But Morgan made amends as he dived to save Dean Evans’ penalty and gathered at the second attempt.
Sorrento’s Cameron Teece headed over the bar and Floreat’s Chris Saldaris hit the post in a first half where chances were few and far between.
The second half was far more open. Jordan Roberts forced Athena’s Jason Saldaris into a terrific save, before Marco Santalucia’s header crashed off the Sorrento bar.
REACTION: Floreat Athena coach Garret McDuling
Saldaris saved a Teece header soon after, before the goalkeeper denied David Stokoe with a wonderful diving intervention to claw the ball away from the top corner.
Floreat rode their luck on those occasions, but they were presented with another opportunity from the penalty spot with eight minutes to play, which Petkov didn’t waste as he sent Morgan the wrong way.
The lead lasted for just three minutes though as Saldaris clattered into several bodies in the area and Southern gave a third penalty, which Teece blasted down the middle to level the score at 1-1.
REACTION: Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell
Extra time couldn’t split the sides either as Chris Saldaris headed over from six yards, while at the other end Reece Vittiglia’s goalbound shot was deflected wide.
And so to penalties. The shootout was tied at 3-3 before Vittiglia’s penalty was saved to his left by Saldaris, leaving Fuller to blast high into the net and win the tie for Floreat.
Bayswater City host Rockingham City in the second WA prelimary semi-final on Sunday (3pm), with the winners joing Floreat in the FFA Cup Round of 32 and facing them in the Belt Up Cup Final next month.
Star player: Jason Saldaris (Floreat Athena)
FFA Cup Round Seven
Floreat Athena 1 (Petkov pen 82min)
Sorrento 1 (Teece pen 85)