Albany’s FFA Cup bid falls to Perth pair

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Gwelup’s Isaac Koomson controls the ball ahead of Polonia’s Nathan Griffiths.
Camera IconGwelup’s Isaac Koomson controls the ball ahead of Polonia’s Nathan Griffiths. Credit: Laurie Benson

Albany teams Polonia and Caledonians were eliminated from the FFA Cup preliminary rounds in comprehensive fashion on Saturday, as they succumbed to State League division 1 teams Gwelup Croatia and Morley-Windmills respectively.

Polonia drew a home fixture against Gwelup Croatia Soccer Club in their round 3 match on Saturday but the visitors dominated from start to finish on their way to a 12-0 romp over the Albany side.

Gwelup Croatia took only six minutes to open their account and they surged 3-0 ahead by the 20-minute mark, which included a successful penalty kick from Danny Hodgson.

Gwelup Croatia's Isaac Koomson and Polonia's Tom Hunt contest possession.
Camera IconGwelup Croatia's Isaac Koomson and Polonia's Tom Hunt contest possession. Credit: Albany Advertiser

It was a busy afternoon for Polonia’s defence as they were under constant pressure, their side unable to hold possession and provide their back formation with a let-up.

Three more goals had Gwelup Croatia ahead 6-0 at the break and the goals kept coming in the second 45 minutes as the visitors showed their class.

Led by Hodgson and Ellis Healing up front, Gwelup Croatia put Polonia to the sword as they booked their place in the fourth round of the national knockout competition.

Gwelup Croatia's Emmanuel Kankpeyeng gets past Polonia's Cameron Spence.
Camera IconGwelup Croatia's Emmanuel Kankpeyeng gets past Polonia's Cameron Spence. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Hodgson was always dangerous in the box and netted four goals in the victory, while Healing added the first after half-time and finished with a hat-trick.

A very young and inexperienced Polonia outfit were led well by captain Tom Hunt in midfield, while youngster Parker Wingard was also busy throughout.

Polonia goalkeeper Angus Percy-Franken had one of his busiest afternoons on the last line but coach Wing-Kuen Wee said his young squad learnt plenty from the outing.

Polonia’s Jack McNamee gets to the ball ahead of Gwelup Croatia's Brodie Martin.
Camera IconPolonia’s Jack McNamee gets to the ball ahead of Gwelup Croatia's Brodie Martin. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“That is a good benchmark for our players to aim at,” Wee said.

“They are a league below the National Premier League teams so it was a harsh lesson for our players.

“There is a lot to gain from it, as much as the game was disappointing.

“We have a lot of young players, half our team was under 21, so we don’t have that experience but matches like, this don’t come around often.”

Polonia’s Parker Wingard.
Camera IconPolonia’s Parker Wingard. Credit: Albany Advertiser

In Morley, Caledonians’ run in the WA preliminary rounds came to an end with a 7-0 loss to Morley-Windmills.

Caledonians conceded two first-half goals and Morley-Windmills added a third early in the second half before injury reduced the visitors to 10 men.

Fraser Grant had to come from the field with a serious knee injury, leaving Caledonians to play with 10 men for the last half an hour.

Despite their best efforts to peg a goal back, Caledonians were overrun after the loss of Grant.

Caledonians defenders Nathan Kay and Ben Grey were outstanding in defeat and co-coach Doug Grant said playing in the competition was worthwhile experience.

“Fraser Grant looks like he’s done cartilage or ligament damage to his knee and when he came off it left a big hole,” he said.

“It was a great match played in the right spirits.

“I think this (competition) is great, it’s good for the players to get an idea of where they are at and what they can improve on.

“It’s a good opportunity for regional teams like us, but it probably starts a bit early given our season is still a few weeks away, but that’s the only hard part I’ve seen from it.

“Our defensive pair, Nathan and Ben, were exceptional at the back and the goals we conceded were not their fault, but overall we were happy with the way the whole team performed.”

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