ECU Joondalup’s under-13s have claimed the State League Cup Final after a penalty shoot-out win against Perth Glory at Wanneroo Reserve on Saturday morning.
Cody Psalia gave the ECU youngsters the lead at the break, but Reece Corrigan levelled for Glory just after half time.
In the shoot-out, ECU keeper Sam Reilly was the hero saving two penalties to see them home.
Riley said it was great to win the cup and save the penalties.
“A great win for the boys; I was confident going into the shoot out and it was a great feeling to save them and to help us win the cup,” he said.
Skipper Jacob Turner, who was part of the team on the day but couldn’t play due to a hamstring injury, said he was delighted for his teammates.
“I was really disappointed to miss the game but the boys played well and I was just happy to be part of it today,” he said.
“In the shoot-out, it was amazing when Sam saved the two penalties to win it for us.”
Defender Aiden Coyne, son of former Socceroos defender Chris Coyne, was outstanding on the day and he was first to take a penalty but he was confident.
“Some of the players were really nervous going into the game as it’s the first Cup Final for many of us but once we settled we played well,” he said.
“I’ve missed a few penalties this season but was confident stepping up for the first one and we managed to win it.”
Coach Nik Silsby was over the moon with the performance.
“We hit the post and the crossbar and I thought our defence was rock solid, like it has been all season, and they probably got us over the line today,” he said.
“We moved a few players around today when needed, it’s part of the learning process for the youngsters; it’s not about the winning it’s about the learning of the players and I was really proud of them today.”
It was a lively opening by ECU and Saul Morrissey headed wide from Psalia cross, and moments later Massimo Bresciani’s shot from the edge of the penalty area crashed off the crossbar, bounced down on the line and was claimed by Glory keeper Joe Pollard.
But on 23 minutes, ECU hit the front.
Sebastian Gomez sent Psalia down the right, he cut inside his marker and fired home superbly from the edge of the penalty area.
The Glory almost levelled moments later, Sonny Hennessey-O’Shea’s shot was inches over the top before Reilly saved well to deny Ethan Banks.
The Glory was level eight minutes into the second half; Corrigan’s long-range shot flew into the top corner of the net.
It was end-to-end football with both sides having good chances.
Aiden Coyne, shot on the turn was blocked for ECU, while Glory’s Nic Santalucia saw his shot well saved by Reilly.
ECU went close to the winner on 50 minutes; Psalia’s through ball sent Harry Fletcher clear, his shot crashing off the post and away to safety.
So it was on to penalties and Coyne, Fletcher and Frazer Houghton all scored for ECU, while Reilly saved two of the Glory’s.
It meant Sebastian Gomez had the chance to win it for the side and he stepped up and finished well to give them the Cup.
ECU Joondalup: GK Sam Reilly, 2 Sebastian Gomez, 4 Euan Blair, 5 Ben Ford, 6 Louie Inzalaco, 7 Aiden Coyne, 8 Jacob Turner, 9 Massimo Bresciani,10 Harry Fletcher, 11 Liam Silsby, 12 Saul Morrissey, 13 Spencer Patten, 14 Cody Psalia, 15 Frazer Houghton
Perth Glory: GK Joe Pollard, 2 Ryan Cruikshank, 4 Lucas Rossi, 5 Brayden Tierney, 6 Ethan Banks, 7 Rory Betts, 8 Sonny Hennessey-O’Shea, 9 Alex Christodoulakis, 10 Nic Santalucia, 11 Reece Corrigan, 12 Joshua Rawlins, 13 Kaelan Majeks, 14 Ryan Blackshaw, 16 Joe Hobson