A GOAL in the 92nd minute to ECU Joondalup’s Andy Higgins broke the hearts of Inglewood United and sent the 2016 National Premier Leagues WA championship to Perth SC.
Perth, who defeated Sorrento 1-0 thanks to an own goal by Gulls’ skipper Daryl Platten, started the day two points behind Inglewood but ended it with the league title after an incredible finish at Inglewood stadium.
ECU’s win meant the Joondalup club finished third on 41 points to join Perth (43) Inglewood (42) and Floreat Athena (38) in The Top Four Cup.
Perth coach Ramon Falzon, who took over from Melbourne Victory-bound Gareth Naven at the end of May, was quick to praise his entire squad.
“Credit to the boys we had a lot of players missing throughout the season,” he said.
“We never had our strongest 11 out there but whoever played always made sure to perform and I think that’s been the secret; 18 players just focused on doing their job.”
The former Balcatta boss said it was always his ambition to win trophies.
“It’s been a long wait for the club because it was five years ago they last won the top four or five, which was the most important trophy then,” Falzon said.
“But the actual league, it’s been 11 years, so a long wait and from my side, this being my first year, it’s been worth the wait.”
Last year’s winners Bayswater City notched a 4-0 win over mid-table Balcatta but sensationally finished outside the top four for the first time since 2011.
Stirling Lions ended a horror run of five losses in six games to sweep aside a young Perth Glory side 3-1 at Ashfield Arena.
Cockburn City put together a complete performance to see off the season in style with a 2-0 win against Floreat Athena at Dalmatinac Park, while Subiaco recorded a 2-1 win against Armadale at Alfred Skeet Reserve.
The Top Four Cup fixtures will be played on September 3, 7 and 10. Details to be confirmed.
NPL WA Round 22 results:
Sorrento 0-1 Perth SC
Inglewood United 0-1 ECU Joondalup
Bayswater City 4-0 Balcatta
Perth Glory 1-3 Stirling Lions
Cockburn City 2-0 Floreat Athena
Armadale 1-2 Subiaco