Inter-divisional play-offs: Freo cash in on Mandurah red card

Fremantle City took a giant stride towards progressing to the NPL/Division One Inter-Divisional play-off final after defeating 10-man Mandurah City 2-0 in Saturday’s semi-final first leg at Hilton Park.

It was the first time Matty Sparrow’s side had overcome the Dolphins this term after defeats in both league matches and a penalty shoot-out loss in March’s Night Series final.

A tight first half in front of a great crowd burst into life on 41 minutes when Murray Mackintosh’s downward header was kept out brilliantly by Fremantle City goalkeeper Jordan Barbas. 

Cat Bryant Photography Fremantle City Mandurah City Leigh Griffiths Hayden Stevens
Mandurah's Leigh Griffiths, left, battles for the ball with Fremantle skipper Hayden Stevens. Photo by Cat Bryant Photography

Seconds later, Mandurah were reduced to 10 men when Aaron McCready’s late challenge on Pat Loughrey saw the defender shown a straight red card.

Ollie La Galia headed wide of the post as Freo set about capitalising on their extra man advantage and Mandurah needed Alfie Brincat to block from Elliot Ireland as the pressure increased. 

The hosts broke the deadlock midway through the second half when an indirect free-kick from six yards was dispatched by Dean Hurley via a visitors defender on the line.

In response, Sam Byrne got on the end of Mandurah’s best move before slicing wide of the mark. Then in the final few minutes, Fremantle doubled their lead to make it an uphill battle for John Baird’s side in Saturday’s second leg at Genesiscare Stadium.

Loughrey was architect with a pinpoint cross from the left which was volleyed in by substitute Enzo Marangoni as Freo claimed pole position.

Fremantle City Mandurah City Cat Bryant Photography
Fremantle celebrate Dean Hurley's opening goal. Photo by Cat Bryant Photography

The other semi-final first leg saw Joondalup United and Sorrento FC play out a goalless draw at Forrest Park.

Nick Jennings’ team meet the Gulls again next Saturday at Percy Doyle Reserve for the right to face either Fremantle or Mandurah at the State Football Centre on 23 September in a one-off fight for a place in the NPL.

Sorrento keeper Patrick Hughes was forced to tip over a dangerous corner from Ben Campbell 20 minutes in, while at the other end Joe Tweats’ goalbound shot was brilliantly diverted off the line by former Sorrento stalwart Shaun Kilkelly.

Gulls flier Clay Gibbs came closest to scoring a winner for either side when his strike cannoned back off the post with Dean Cummings putting the follow-up wide of the target.

Fremantle City Mandurah City Cat Bryant Photography
 Fremantle players congratulate Enzo Marangoni after his late strike put them 2-0 ahead. Photo by Cat Bryant Photography

In the Division One/Two play-off semis, Subiaco are well-placed to advance to the final after a 3-1 win over Swan United in Saturday’s first leg at Rosalie Park.

Youngster Kaleb Morrison continued his fine late-season form to get Subi off and running on nine minutes with a low drive from outside the box.

Morrison came up with another piece of brilliance just before the break as he took down a high ball before scooting past his opponent and stylishly finishing into the corner with the outside of his foot.

The striker then assisted Subiaco’s third early in the second half when he set up Agustin Ventre to arrive from midfield and coolly slot home.

It looked a long way back for Swan, but they gave themselves a glimmer of hope going into the second leg at the Swan Italian Club when Brennan Borzecki headed home Rhys Loxley’s corner with five minutes left.

Whoever emerges from that tie will face either Curtin University or Maddington-Kalamunda White City who drew their first leg 1-1 at Edinburgh Oval.

Curtin opened the scoring just before the hour mark when Simone Sichel turned Jaxon Illman’s shot into the back of the net from close range.

But Maddington-Kalamunda equalised in the final 10 minutes to claim an important away goal and leave the tie in the balance. It was scored in spectacular fashion as a corner broke to the edge of the area with Nicolas Roca showing tremendous technique to drill home on the volley.

Results

NPL/Division One play-offs semi-final, first leg

Fremantle City 2-0 Mandurah City

Joondalup United 0-0 Sorrento FC

Division One/Division Two play-offs semi-final, first leg

Subiaco 3-1 Swan United

Curtin University 1-1 MK White City