WESTERN Knights and Sorrento are into the FFA Cup Round of 32 after respective victories in the final WA preliminary stage of the national knockout competition yesterday.
National Premier Leagues WA (NPL WA) team Sorrento defeated Dianella White Eagles 1-0, while State League Division One team Western Knights caused a major upset with a 2-1 win over NPL WA giants Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve.
The Knights are the first WA team outside of the top-tier NPL WA to reach the FFA Cup Round of 32 draw, which includes A-League clubs.
The Round of 32 draw will be conducted live on Fox Sports on Thursday June 29.
Sorrento and the Knights also earned their respective places in the State Cup final, which will be held on July 22.
Bayswater had taken an early lead through Brent Griffiths but Knights’ Adriano Jelenovic levelled before half time.
A last minute penalty from Knights’ skipper Paul Lloyd won the match, setting off wild celebrations from the visitors.
Knights coach Trim Morgan was proud of his players and delighted with the huge opportunity they face in the Round of 32.
“It’s a super day for the club,” he said.
“(It’s been) a long time coming but the lads were great. We’ve worked hard since November and they really deserve all the credit.”
Knights captain Paul Lloyd said the Knights had sensed an opportunity before the game against their more fancied opponents.
“We knew we had a chance; they’ve conceded a few goals in recent games,” he said.
“I thought we were the better team in the first half and the team spirit after the break got us home. It’s probably the best team spirit I’ve been involved with in football.”
Bayswater coach Chris Coyne was bitterly disappointed with his side’s performance.
“When you’ve got five or six passengers out there, it’s difficult to win games and I’ve tried to protect the players for the last month but you have got to draw a line in the sand,” he said.
“That being said, it takes nothing away from the Knights. I thought they were magnificent today but our keeper hasn’t had anything to do in the second half except pick the ball out of the net, so it was a real disappointing day for the club. We’re better than that.”
At Percy Doyle Reserve, Sorrento striker Sean Canham’s early headed goal was enough to push his team past a resilient Dianella White Eagles side and reach the Cup final for the second time in three years.
Both sides had a number of chances throughout the high-intensity match, but it was Sorrento who prevailed, holding on for a 1-0 victory.
Bayswater City 1 (Griffiths 2 min)
Western Knights 2 (Jelenovic 21min, Lloyd 91’)
Sorrento 1 (Canham 8min)
Dianella White Eagles 0