Almanac Soccer: The Magic of the Cup – Round 7 (Stirling Lions)

Continuing my journey through the WA side of the 2016 FFA Cup from the very beginning. I started off with my local side Backpackers FC have followed them until being knocked out by Curtin Uni who fell to Stirling Lions. I will now follow that side until they are defeated and follow that side and so on so forth. Who knows where I’ll end up…

 

ROUND ONE

BACKPACKERS FC 8 Western United (Sunday Division 5) 0

 

ROUND TWO

Fremantle Croatia (Sunday Premier League) 4  BACKPACKERS FC 4 (Backpackers won 4-2 on penalties)

 

ROUND THREE

BACKPACKERS FC 2 v Bunbury Dynamos (South West Premier League) 0

 

ROUND FOUR

Curtin University (Saturday Division 2) 4 v BACKPACKERS FC 2

 

ROUND FIVE

CURTIN UNIVERSITY 2 v Canning City (Saturday Division 1) 0

 

ROUND SIX

Stirling Lions (NPL WA) 4 v CURTIN UNIVERSITY 2

 

ROUND SEVEN-Monday June 6 (WA DAY)

 

STIRLING LIONS (WA National Premier League) v Cockburn City (WA National Premier League)

 

Through six rounds I have some seen some interesting sites and moments in the FFA Cup thus far. I started off at a local park some 5 minutes from my house in Bassendean one hungover public holiday watching Backpackers FC demolish the bottom team in the bottom division of the Sunday league amongst dog walkers, kit bags strewn over the sidelines and goal nets purchased from K-Mart. There were trips to the back of Fremantle, Bentley after a lovely Cats win over the Hawks and through to Stirling where for me it would end for the qualification part of the cup before the corporate big boys would come in.

 

Now following Stirling Lions (nee Macedonia), I would be watching them face Cockburn City for a place in the Final 32 of the cup.

 

Cockburn City hail from the area with the infantile funny name south of Fremantle and are a proud side rich in history so far as a West Australian football goes. Formed in 1928 by mainly British migrants they were known as Rovers and then Cockburn United in the 60s with a splinter club welcoming the new arrivals to the area from the Baltic region naming themselves Spearwood Dalmatamic. Even after a split in the club that saw two versions exist the work of some club legends put the club back under one banner as Cockburn City in 1999.

 

The club has been up with Perth Italia and ECU Joondalup as being one of the biggest producers of young talent in the State bringing through Socceroos like Robbie Zabica, the Petkovic brothers, Ali Edwards and Scott Miller who now coaches the side (and personally speaking has always been my favourite ever Glory player). The club prides itself on leadership, flamboyant play and good team culture drawing on its succesful history as proof its modus operandi works.

 

Stirling were firm favourites for this game after thrashing City 7-2 in their previous clash about two months before this tie. The pre-season cup finalists had done away with Curtin Uni in extra time in the last round but loved chewing teams up and spitting them out at Macedonia Park. Teams travelling to the place were frustrated by the baffling parking area and mozzies from the nearby swamp even before a ball had been kicked. A unique home ground advantage. The long undercover area at Macedonia Park was near full of locals, relatives and those who had come up the Kwinana Freeway or Stirling Highway to see who would be through to the 32, this was playing for sheep stations now on a Foundation Day public holiday afternoon.

Stirling were on top early in the match with the always dangerous winger Teeboy Kamara having two chances with one of them flying across the face of goal as City held firm with their midfield being anchored by one time Glory player Cam Edwards. On 24 minutes though City broke down to other end of the pitch with some quick damaging passing to Angel Adres who finished from the edge of the area around a defender and beating the keeper. A fine right footed finish to make it 1-0. Celebrations to the right of me with the gaggle of fans and family behind the Cockburn bench.

 

The celebrations were shortlived though as the goal just seemed to make Stirling angry. First a free header in the box after a cross from the right was headed just wide when it was easier to score. Then on 29 minutes from a corner Graham Doran headed in with strength and venom at the far post to easily make it 1-1. The pint sized Cockburn player trying to mark the powerful Stirling defender had a football version of sand kicked in his face. Adres was a thorn in the side of Stirling on the breakthough with skill and precision head and shoulders above his markers. The #9 went on a mazy run late in the first half dancing around two defenders before the Stirling keeper charged down a shot and it would be 1-1 at half time.

 

City had made a game of it at Macedonia Park this time around but in the second half they were still prone to brain farts as the favourites tried to punish any mistakes. A lazy header back to the keeper by a City defender was pounced upon by Kamara but his shot was saved by a quick to action City keeper Luke Radonich and his lightning reflexes. Then Stirling had another golden oppourtinity when Kamara (again) was free on the left and put in a lovely cross to the striker Jamie Gibson but with two defenders on him his close range right foot shot somehow went over the cross bar. Then Kamara again had space of the left with his powerful shot going inches over the cross bar. City were hanging on like grim death.

 

The stereotype was that once a team wasted a heap of chances despite dominating the other team would score; and they did. With some 20 minutes left City finally broke out of defence and counterattacked down the other end of the pitch. A pass came to a City player in the area on the left who went to beat the defender and release the ball but was brought down in a clumsy challenge. PENALTY! Such pressure for the taker with so much on the line but who would take it? This could be for a spot at the table with the elite in Australian club football. Adres would be the one and to the fretful whistles and jeers of the home fans nailed the shot with his right boot off one step. 2-1 Cockburn.

 

Stirling look bereft of anything let along confifidence after going behind and it was almost 3-1 when Adres used pace and some would say witchcraft to dance around his marker and have a shot from a tight angle deflect on to the upright and out. Stirling tried to find some way back as the minutes ticked away and the efforts more futile. With minutes remaining Stirling won a free kick just in to the Cockburn half. All except the keeper were up for the home side in a final bit of drama in a game with so much at stake. The free kick was launched in to the area as a Stirling player went down under the weight of his defender and in all the confusion Kamara powerfully headed at goal but Radonich made a remarkable save deflecting the ball out for a corner when the pace of the ball dictated that it should have been in the back of the goal.

 

Randoms yelled out in frustration or desperation as Stirling came again collecting the ball on the outside of the penalty area but no one could get a shot away with City defending deeply and half clearing the ball. As Stirling went to win it back the ref blew full time and it was over. Cockburn City would be in the Round of 32 with the Foxtel coverage and everything else that goes with it. An upset of sorts but it was still an NPL team that would be with the big boys joining Floreat Athena who had thrashed Inglewood United around 5 miles away to be the other WA side. In the joy following the game ‘Reggie’ Miller said he would hope they would get an A-League team, they wanted the toughest challenge possible and it might come on and off the pitch away to those Melbourne Knights in the next round.

 

STIRLING LIONS            1 (Doran 29)

COCKBURN CITY            2 (Andres 24, 72 PEN) 

 

CROWD-300-400. The usual smattering of fans in their cars around the far side of the ground with the usual under the veranda cheering on Stirling with a gaggle of Cockburnians (that a word?) at the end.

 

ATMOPSHERE-Always a great atmosphere at Macedonia Park with the design of the ground. Much angst in the crowd near the end as the game was hanging in the balance.

 

FACILITIES-Same as last time. Some of the best in Perth with a large bar and entertainment area in the club rooms. Decent food and selection of drinks. Best in the competition for me so far. That car park though…

 

EATS/DRINKS FACILITIES-As above. Committee members multitasking make it hard sometimes to get a beer but that’s part of the charm.

 

Cockburn City are away to Melbourne Knights in the next round in early August.

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.

Comments

  1. Mick Jeffrey says:

    Local interest in the FFA Cup ended at the same stage when Frenchville got beaten in Cairns by the FNQ Heat.

    So will you be heading to Somers St or relying on a stream for the next round?

  2. Enjoyed that Dennis as ever. Do you plan to head to Melbourne?

  3. Dennis Gedling says:

    Thanks. Now the date is announced as August 10 I can maybe work it in with a Geelong game. So maybe. Have been to Somers St before, it’s a mission to get to without a car.

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