Edgeworth Eagles 1 (McBreen 51’) defeated Perth SC 0 at Dorrien Gardens, Perth, Saturday 24th September 6pm
FOR the second time in a week the Edgeworth Eagles have travelled away in the NPL Finals, and for the second time, stunned the home fans. Like Bentleigh were last weekend, Perth SC came into the match with the visiting Eagles as favourites and they quickly found out this would be nothing like their 6-1 demolition of Devonport last weekend.
Edgeworth showed character, fight and determination – a hallmark of their record-breaking 2016 season – in their trip to Perth and await either Sydney United 58 or the Brisbane Strikers in the NPL Grand Final. In reaching the final two, Edgeworth became the first side from NPL Northern NSW to reach the Grand Final.
Perth started the match with intent and had the best of the field position with a string of early corners. Brody Taylor had the best chance for the Eagles in the opening 15 minutes, when his chipped shot from outside the box thumped into the crossbar.
In the 16th minute Perth had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock when Nick Ambrogio’s stinging left-foot volley crashed into the base of the right post.
The match continued in its end to end style with both sides having half chances, Edgeworth’s Daniel McBreen had his shot deflect wide in the 36th minute before Edgeworth’s striker played a perfect ball to Keanu Moore seven minutes later to send him speeding down the left edge.
Moore cut into the box before firing his shot from the angle on the left, at Francis Soale in the Perth goal, who blocked the shot with his foot back to McBreen. McBreen then hammered his left-foot shot at Soale who once more was up to the task with a brilliant save.
Perth and Edgeworth headed into the sheds at the break locked at 0-0, but it was the Eagles with the best of the chances.
As they did last weekend against Bentleigh, the Eagles struck early in the second period. With Edgeworth moving the ball around swiftly around the pitch Ayden Brice from inside the centre circle found McBreen on the left side of the box with a pinpoint long pass. McBreen controlled with one perfect touch before driving his left foot volley into the bottom right corner and the Eagles into the lead on 51 minutes.
Seven minutes later Perth had a half-chance to get back into the match when Jordan De Leo’s cross was fumbled by Edgeworth keeper Jim Fogarty. Fortunately for the Eagles, skipper Josh Evans was on hand to clear the danger.
Fogarty was on hand in the 62nd minute to deny Perth an equaliser when Matt Milenkovic’s drive from the right was well blocked over the goal line by the Edgeworth keeper.
The visitor’s hero from last weekend Aden Gardner came on in the 63rd minute and had a chance to seal it in the 79th minute for Edgeworth, but his shot from the angle on the right was deflected wide with the goal at his mercy.
Just as the Eagles seemed to have the match won, the NPL WA champions gave themselves one final chance at an equaliser. In the 89th minute substitute Francesco Furfaro raced away down the left edge, and rolled a low cross towards Gustavo Catarcione who was unmarked at the back post. Perth’s leading scoring couldn’t control the cross, which bounced harmlessly over the byline.
In an even contest it was the Eagles who took their chance through McBreen and Perth will rue what could have been. Edgeworth making it through to their first NPL Finals ‘Grand Final’ with a 1-0 win.