Coach sees positives in loss
ARMADALE went down in penalties 3-1 on Sunday, as Mandurah City booked a place in the NPL WA Night Series grand final.
Armadale took a deserved 50th minute lead in the semi-final at Inglewood Stadium through Jordan Pavett’s clinical strike. But they were unable to hold on and substitute Craig Tone hooked home the equaliser on 74 minutes to force the shoot-out.
Jack Eades, Sean Troupe and Matthew Stares all converted from the spot for City, while Armadale’s luck deserted them, with Pavett successful before David Annall struck the bar, Dylan White’s effort was saved and Jake Sardelic blazed over to send Hesketh’s side into a maiden decider.
Armadale enjoyed the best of the first half and had they brought their shooting boots they could have been out of sight by the interval. However, Josh Tumoe (twice), Kyle King and David Annall all saw good chances go amiss.
At the end of the first half, Mandurah suffered a blow when Trent Wood was stretchered off for a knee injury that required a trip to hospital via ambulance.
Armadale started the second half brightly, with Sardelic stinging the fists of Eiffle and they deservedly took the lead thanks to Pavett’s stunning opener. The midfielder latched on to a Faustinho Machochi pass, after Annall’s clever step over, before firing home from 25 yards, in off the keeper’s right post.
Pavett and King then forced Eiffle into smart saves before Mandurah finally threatened the Armadale goal, with Ryan Francis breaking forward and Tone firing wide.
Buoyed by that attacking foray, Hesketh’s men then capitalised on some sloppy play from Annall, who conceded a corner, from which Tone hooked home.
The game burst into life in the closing stages, with Tone almost completing the comeback on 88 minutes but his header lacked the pace to trouble Cragg. On the counterattack, King nearly won it for Armadale, but his shot didn’t concern Eiffle, who was quickly out to deny Machochi a short time later.
“It’s time to go back to the training ground for a little shooting practice,” Armadale coach John O’Reilly said.
“There are lots of positives to take, not just from this game, but from the last couple and it will be about fine-tuning going into the league season.
“I’m not too disheartened going forward, but I’m gutted about today. It would have been nice to have got to the final.”
Sean Troup from Mandurah City, Josh Tumoe from Armadale and Oliver McGee from Mandurah City on Sunday.