FLOREAT Athena warmed up for its clash against A-League heavyweight Melbourne City with a 3-2 NPL WA win over rivals Stirling Lions at E&D Litis Stadium on Saturday.
Athena, who take on City in a FFA Cup Round of 32 clash at Dorrien Gardens tomorrow night, were in fine form in a pulsating opening period against the Lions.
A double from Ludo Boi and Phil Arnold’s opener gave the home side a comfortable half-time lead before David Micevski’s stunner and a late strike from Teeboy Kamara sent a scare through the Athena camp.
Floreat coach Glen Grostate was delighted with a victory that has boosted Athena’s confidence ahead of the clash with City.
“Now we get to play Melbourne City, who are one of the best teams in Australia, and we will go out there and give it a good old crack,” Grostate said.
“They’re supposed to win. They have to win. But anything is possible in a cup game.”
The win lifted Floreat to fourth place on the table – a point ahead of Stirling – and in position to contest the end-of-season The West Australian Top Four Cup.
But the competition for places is heating up with just five points separating the top five teams with four matches to play.
Inglewood United had its lead at the top cut to just a single point after it lost 2-1 to Sorrento, and defending champions Bayswater City climbed to second with a thumping 5-0 win against Subiaco.
Perth SC slipped to third after Joe Knowles scored the only goal of the game for Perth Glory at Ashfield Arena.
ECU Joondalup continued its impressive push for silverware with a 3-0 win over Balcatta that leaves it just three points off fourth place.
Armadale climbed off the bottom of the table thanks to goals from Michael Domfey and Ellis Healing in a 2-1 victory over Cockburn City, while Subiaco were left rock bottom after its heavy defeat to Bayswater.
NPL WA Round 18 Results
Balcatta 0 ECU Joondalup 3
Floreat Athena 3 Stirling Lions 2
Bayswater City 5 Subiaco 0
Inglewood United 1 Sorrento 2
Perth Glory 1 Perth SC 0
Cockburn City 1 Armadale 2