The Magic of the Cup – Round 6 (Curtin Uni FC)

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. 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-Saturday May 14

STIRLING LIONS (WA National Premier League) v CURTIN UNIVERSITY (Saturday Division 2)

It has been a charmed life so far following teams around the FFA Cup only changing sides twice through the first six rounds. Backpackers FC fell to Curtin University who I now follow around whatever local ground they might frequent. Just how long I stick with Curtin Uni would be up to them and the monster clubs they would now face as we got deeper in to the competition.

For the next round they would face the top division’s Stirling Lions (nee Macedonia).

Stirling are one of the premier clubs in West Australian Football/Soccer despite only being formed in 1971. They started off as West Perth Macedonia and like many clubs at the time embraced a certain local ethic community. It was when the club moved to nearby Stirling and Macedonia Park did they become a force winning 6 league titles in the 80s and 90s and made the first big round of the FFA Cup in 2014 losing to Brisbane Roar. Again, this season they made the pre-season cup final so Curtin had a fight on their hands.

After a lovely un-May like sunny day I made my way to Macedonia Park for the twilight clash. The ground was located on a former swamp area with a car park that had challenged many who likened trying to find a parking spot to like playing Tetris. The last time I had been here was for a cup final a few years ago when Italian world cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro made an appearance while in Perth but decided he couldn’t be arsed with it all so did a quick wave and then took off to the high rollers room at Burswood Casino. The grandstand was more just a long veranda along one length of the pitch where the club rooms were offering cover and tremendous atmosphere when it was a big game.

Curtin had a bunch of lads in support for the away team in what looked like a good excuse to get on the booze but it looked like it would have been better doing something else when Stirling went ahead early through Jason Rubidge after being brilliantly set up by Teeboy Kamara. This wouldn’t be a hit and hope game like the early rounds. Passes would connect rather than spray wide. There would be a crowd rather than people having a look while walking their dog. There would be signs advertising Westfield and PS4 rather than a rope for the fence. Curtin Uni were going to set out to park the bus to try and stop Stirling but with this early goal had to at least try and attack but were stuck in their own half for the first 20 minutes. Then on 21 minutes a foul on Khaled Salhah saw a free kick given to Curtin in a dangerous position. With a finely worked out set piece Arjan Stovrag powered home an equaliser. 1-1! Curtin equalise!

Curtin went back to putting that bus back in front of goal and repelled constant attacks from Stirling with the flying Kamara on the wing causing all kinds of discomfort for the visitors. Half time 1-1.

In the second half Curtin again put in a well organised effort keeping their shape at the back as Stirling looked for the winner. The locals under the veranda started to get vocal along with the Stirling bench as they couldn’t find a way through to hit lead and be on their way to the next round. Tackles were getting rash. Names were going in to the ref’s book. Then finally on 79 minutes Stirling broke through when Rubidge had his second, finishing easily after good lead up work. Stirling looked through and would face another big name club in the next round. But Curtin kept at it, being the club now looking for a goal, as Stirling went defensive and looked to ease through.

With the odd whistle being belted out from the locals and time all but gone Stirling took the ball up forward hoping to take the ball to the corner flag to eat up time. The trouble was they lost the ball and Curtin countered, launching down to the other end of the pitch in a last ditch bid to get that vital goal. A chain of passes got past the tired chasing legs of the Stirling players and a chip pass saw it land at the legs of Salhah who immediately got foot to ball and put it past the keeper! 2-2! Curtin live! The travelling student brigade celebrated, then looked to get another round in for the possibility of 30 minutes extra time. Whose round was it was the discussion at the end of 90 minutes. Extra time it would be.

Curtin had been so brave coming with tactics that could be described as anti social and something akin to Ross Lyonesque but they had taken Premier League Stirling this far. Could they hold on? Well, no. After 5 minutes of extra time it was 3-2 to Stirling when after a well worked free kick the ball defected to Martin who slotted home. Curtin chased but they were now really pushing shit up hill. In the second half of extra time Rubidge had his hattrick which saw Curtin heads completely drop at 4-2 with normal service resuming. It was 5-2 just seconds from full time when QuaQua finished a fine game with a goal to send Stirling through and Curtin out after a supreme effort to make it to extra time this deep in to the cup.

There were warm applause from the locals for the Curtin boys. There were celebrations for the home side who now go on to host former Glory captain and Socceroo Scott Miller and his Cockburn City team with the winner to be through in to the main part of the FFA Cup and A-League clubs. Now there they are playing for sheep stations.

I now follow Stirling for the FFA Cup and who knows how far this team can go.

 

STIRLING LIONS            5 (Rubidge 5, 79, 108 Martin 95 Qua Qua 120)

CURTIN UNIVERSITY    2 (Stovrag 21 Salhah 91)

 

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.

ATMOPSHERE-Always a great atmosphere at Macedonia Park with the design of the ground. The equaliser to take in to the extra time generated a lot of noise.

FACILITIES-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.

Stirling Macedonia are at home to Cockburn City on June 6 (WA Day).

 

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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. E.regnans says

    This is a terrific journey, Dennis.

    And a cracking report.
    So close for Curtin Uni FC. Carn the underdogs.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    When do the interstate rounds kick in Dennis?

  3. Dennis Gedling says

    Not many underdogs left now unfortunately. Curtin and Gosnells City were the last resistance. All NPL teams in WA but there’s some regional teams left in Victoria. Would be nice to see Cockburn City get through to the proper draw, they’ve pumped out many talented West Australians through their youth system including the Petkovic and Garcia brothers among other Socceroos.

    Swish, July I believe is when it gets to the proper final knockout competition and all the States have done their knockout comps. 32 teams (10 A-League, 8 NSW, 4 QLD, 4 VIC, 2 WA, 1 SA, 1 ACT, 1 NT, 1 TAS)

    By that stage there would have been 672 fixtures around the country since February.

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