ARMADALE slipped to 10th on the National Premier Leagues WA ladder after a 4-1 loss to ECU Joondalup at Alfred Skeet Reserve.
After two games without a win for the visitors, teenage striker James Owen sent them on their way early, before Daryl Nicol doubled their lead before the break.
Owen added a second after half time before Billy Quinncroft pulled one back for the home side, but ECU skipper Gordon Smith sealed the points late.
It was Owen’s second league goal for the club, but he said the three points were more important.
With former ECU and current A-League players Shane and Ryan Lowry in the crowd, the visitors made the perfect start and were ahead after six minutes when Owen turned home Nicol’s cross from close-range.
Armadale looked to hit back, and Quinncroft’s shot on the run flashed wide of the post, but the visitors doubled their lead just after the quarter-of-an-hour mark.
Nicol picked the ball up on the half way line and raced at the Armadale defence, slaloming past three defenders, before beating Michael Craggs in goal.
The woodwork came to ECU’s rescue just before half time, when Jackson Bealey’s cross was met by Quinncroft, whose effort bounced off the post and back into the grateful arms of keeper Fraser Greenwood.
Armadale started brightly after the break and Greenwood produced a stunning save to deny the lively Quinncroft, and while Dylan White’s follow-up found the net, the assistants’ flag was up for offside.
ECU added a third just before the hour when Kevin Moon’s ball sent Owen down the right channel, and the youngster superbly chipped the on-rushing Craggs to add his second.
Nicol’s pace caused problems all afternoon for the home side, with Craggs making a strong save to deny him, before Bealey’s cross found Quinncroft, who lost his marker and headed home to give Armadale a lifeline.
Any chance for a comeback was short lived when ECU added a fourth soon after, as Owen unselfishly crossed to Smith who made no mistake from close range.