A set-piece goal in each half gave 10-man Balcatta a 2-1 win over Stirling Lions in their PS4 National Premier Leagues WA clash at Grindleford Reserve.
The hosts went ahead inside seven minutes thanks to Conor Kavanagh’s header and were rarely troubled in a fairly dull first half.
Alan Carroll seemingly put the result out of Stirling’s reach with 15 minutes to play before the visitors came to life and pulled one back through Graham Doran.
And they nearly claimed a late equaliser after a couple of close calls but Balcatta cleared the danger to break a four-game losing run, much to the relief of Marc Anthony.
“It’s very pleasing. We’re used to going a goal behind and then fighting to get back into the game, so it was good settler to get that early goal,” he said.
“First half, I thought we were excellent and dominated the game but they were probably the better team in the second half.
“It was backs to the wall after they pulled one back, so I’m obviously proud of the boys for hanging in there at the end.”
Anthony also reflected on his maiden season at Balcatta and has seen enough this season to believe his team can push up the table in 2017.
“We had a good run earlier in the season and the boys got plaudits for that but unfortunately the wheels came off a little bit,” he said.
“That happens with a young side, though, and we probably need to add a little bit of experience.
“You need to be consistent in this league because three or four wins on the bounce can get you right up near the top four.
“It’s a learning curve for the boys and for me in my first year here. I’m reasonably happy but I always strive to do better and we want to believe that we’re a top four side.”
The hosts were excellent in a first period bereft of clear-cut chances and led when Hanafi Ghazali swung in a free kick for Kavanagh to head home.
Stirling came back in the second half, though, and should have levelled when David Micevski spooned Teeboy Kamara’s cutback over.
Kamara was a real threat in the second half and forced Kyle McDonald into a fine save before Micevski curled the follow-up narrowly wide.
But against the run of play Balcatta doubled their lead as Carroll got across his man and glanced into the far corner to all but seal the result.
Stirling responded again, though, and halved the deficit when Doran broke forward and side footed into an empty net after good work from Kamara.
Cameron Teece then received a second yellow card in an all-action last 10 minutes as Jonathan Corness shot wide for the hosts before Milorad Vujacic curled wide for Stirling.
McDonald made a brilliant save in stoppage time from Vujacic’s volley and Ghazali cleared another effort off the line as the 10 men of Balcatta held firm to win 2-1.
Balcatta 2 (Kavanagh 6mins, Carroll 76’)
Stirling Lions 1 (Doran 83’)
Saturday August 13, 2016
Local kick-off: 3:00pm
Referee: Michal Jasinski
Balcatta: GK: Kyle MCDONALD, 2. Hanafi GHAZALI, 3. Kieron STALLARD, 4. Alexsander SULESKI, 5. Conor KAVANAGH, 6. Jonathan CORNESS, 10. Zefy NAZARY, 11. Feisal ZAW (9. Gomo DUKULY 83’), 17. Kieran COLWELL, 19. Alan CARROLL, 22. Scott NEWLAND (13. Cameron TEECE 63’)
Substitutes not used: RGK: Clint DAVIES, 12. Eamon MCNELIS, 18. Daniel MOSS.
Yellow Cards: Newland 50’, Suleski 62’, Carroll 71’, Teece 81’
Red Cards: Teece 83’
Stirling Lions: GK: John PERKINS, 2. Michael PUGLIESE, 5. Graham DORAN, 6. Brodie MARTIN, 7. Milorad VUJACIC, 8. David SESAY, 9. Jason RUBIDGE (13. Breron MAMUDI 79’), 11. David MICEVSKI, 12. Benjamin CAMPBELL (3. Lukas DE LIMA 79’), 15. Shane CASSIDY, 17. Teeboy KAMARA
Substitutes not used: RGK: Connor CAMPBELL, 14. William KESSEL, 16. Mathiang MATHIANG
Yellow Cards: Sesay 75’
Red Cards: Nil