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GULLS ARE WA CHAMPIONS
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GULLS ARE WA CHAMPIONS

The Sorrento Gulls won the All Flags sponsored Grand Final in a captivating contest against Floreat at Frank Drago Reserve. Floreat looked the winners as the match entered stoppage time until Jamie Harnwell slammed in the equaliser to force the match into extra time where the Gulls eventually won 4-3. The Gulls adding the Champion trophy to their August knockout Cup victory.
 
Johny Mirco gave Sorrento the lead from the penalty spot on the stroke of half time, but Floreat hit back in the second half with goals to the lively Benny Kovaoio and a penalty by Mark Pritchard. It looked like that would be the final scored, but second half substitute Jamie Harnwell scored in the second minute of stoppage-time to send the game into extra time. Goals to Jason Mirco and Ryan Pearson made the game safe for Sorrento, despite a late goal from Floreat’s Jack Allen.
 
A fairly warm 26 degrees and a breeze from the west for the 2.30pm kick off. Thus, warm conditions, but a cooling breeze for the players and absolutely brilliant for the spectators at the Bayswater venue. Floreat’s Captain Mark Pritchard called incorrectly the toss of the coin by Referee Josh Mannella and Gulls Captain, Todd Harnwell asked Floreat to attack the City (western) end goal in front of a 2,500 crowd to witness the State’s biggest game of the season.
 
Sorrento made just the one change from the side that beat Bayswater City last week with James Morgan returning from suspension to replace Gavin Knight, who dropped to the bench, while Brodie Martin passed a late fitness test on his injured ankle, to take his place in the side. Floreat made three changes to the side that won the Major Semi-Final with Spencer Harris, Mark Walsh and Ludovic Boi coming into the side with Matt Spurling, Jarrad Smith and Mikey Roberts dropping to the bench.
Floreat who opened the brighter and went close in the opening minute. Boi crossed from the right to Pritchard, but the skipper’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was over the top with only 30 seconds gone. Pritchard was influential in the opening period and he fed Ludo Boi on 8 minutes, but again the shot was over. Within a minute the Gulls had their first decent attck. Reece Vittiglia worked his own space on the left and he fired across a low cross into the danger area and Todd Harnwell just failed to reach the ball in his attempt to deflect over the line. On the quarter hour Pritchard’s snap shot from 16-yards wnet wide of the left post. After the early Floreat pressure Sorrento settled and on 23 minutes Jason Mirco beat two opponents on the left and powered in a low daisy cutter cross to where Vittiglia was in front, but frustratingly he side footed well over Effie’s cross bar from 14 yards. Seven minutes later it was again Jason Mirco, but this time on the right where his low shot went across goal and Johny Mirco just couldn’t stretch far enough to get a toe on the ball to turn it over the goal line.within a minute the action was at the over end, but Benny Kovadio shot didn’t trouble Curtis Aspden as it went well over the cross bar.
The gamble on playing Ludovic Boi after a hamstring injury backfired on Floreat coach Chris Barbas when the former Perth Glory Youth midfielder limped off on 37 minutes, he was replaced by Jarrad Smith. 
 
In the last minute of normal time of the first half the team in white went ahead from the penalty spot. Reece Vittiglia wriggled clear down the left and his cross into the penalty area hit the outstretched right arm of Floreat defender Bobby Wilson and referee Josh Mannella pointed straight to the spot. Johny Mirco took responsibility and directed a low left footed shot inside the right post to send the Gulls into the break in front.
 
Two minutes into the second half the Gulls Steven McDonald was caught in possession and David Heagney played in Jarrad Smith, his shot from 12 yards was deflected away by Curtis Aspden with his legs. Then moments later Pritchard played in Jack Allen, who’s curling shot went inches past the far post. 
 
Their pressure finally paid off on 57 minutes with the equaliser for the team in royal blue. It was Pritchard again who passed a through ball into the path of Heagney, who in turn attempted to find Kovaoio. The Sorrento defenders should have cut out the pass, but somehow it went through to the striker who rounded Aspden and fired home from a very tight angle on the right, much to the delight of the Floreat faithful behind the goal.
Floreat were pressing and Kovaoio raced clear down the right on 71 minutes and his cut back found Pritchard, whose shot from the edge of the penalty area went agonizingly past the left post.
 
But eight minutes later Floreat had turned it all around and hit the front. Heagney raced into the penalty area and as he turned, was brought down by McDonald; again referee Mannella had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Pritchard had to wait for some time as Heagney demanded treatment. Finally Pitchard took the penalty and even though Aspden went the right direction couldn’t get to the ball as it hit the net on the right. 
 
Sorrento looked to hit back immediately and four minutes later Johny Mirco’s free kick from the right was flicked on by McDonald and Daryl Platten’s shot from six yards was deflected away off a Floreat defender. Heagney then almost put the game beyond Sorrento with five minutes remaining, Allen’s ball picked out the English striker, who’s shot on the turn was only inches over the bar with Aspden well beaten.
Sorrento Coach Paul Price brought on Jamie Harnwell for his brother Todd, Also taking over the Captain’s arm band with four minutes of normal time remaining as they strived for the equaliser. They pressed forward and in the first of three minute of stoppage-time, Morgan’s free kick was flicked on by McDonald but Jamie Harnwell’s header was deflected wide. But in the 92 minute the former Perth Glory skipper wasn’t to be denied. Johny Mirco played to Gavin Knight on the left, when he skillfully turned his marker to cut inside Allen and his cross picked out Harnwell who powered his shot high into the net from eight yards, despite Eiffe getting a hand to it, to send the game into extra time.
 
Jamie Harnwell won the toss for the Gulls and chose to attack the hils (eastern) end. The Gulls made a perfect start to the first period of extra time and were ahead five minutes in. Johny Mirco raced clear down the left, his shot was well saved by Eiffe as he struck out his right arm to block, the rebound fell to Knight, whose follow up shot crashed off the left post, but third time lucky for Sorrento as the rebound came out to Jason Mirco had the skill to keep the ball down and fire truly from 20 metres. 
 
The crowd were on the edge of their seats as both sides pressed and in the 101st minute Floreat went close to the equaliser. Pritchard picked out second half substitute Mikey Roberts, whose long-range shot was superbly tipped over the bar by Aspden at full stretch.
But in the last minute of the first period of extra time Sorrento added a fourth. Ryan Pearson sent Knight racing down the right. Pearson continued his run into the penalty area and when Knight delivered the ball high into the area Pearson met his cross with diving header to score. Floreat pressed late and Aspden had to be alert to save Heagney’s long-range shot on 110 minutes, and the English keeper did even better moments later tipping over Roberts’ long-range shot. Floreat gave themselves some hope in the final minute, when Allen’s corner from the right evaded everyone and settled inside the far left post to the amazement of everyone.
 
But Sorrento held on and at the final whistle they were celebrating the club's first ever Championship and Cup double. At the after match presentation, Floreat skipper Mark Pritchard was awarded the Gary Marocchi Medal for his best afield performance, while Sorrento Coach Paul Price praised his players for a great season. “We left it late today, but everyone knows that Sorrento never gives up and we play to the final whistle and we got our rewards with the late equaliser in normal time,” said Price. “We didn’t play particularly well especially in the first half, but the longer the game went on we got better and we’re all delighted to have won the double.”
 
“It was a really good game and to get on the score sheet and be part of the second goal it’s a great way to go out,” said retiring Sorrento striker Johny Mirco. “We really like to do things the hard way, but it was terrific. We’ve done the same for the last three weeks, but to end my career like this, I’m really delighted.”




MATCH REPORT: FOOTBALL WEST. TOP 5 GRAND FINAL, SATURDAY, 6 OCTOBER 2012.
 
FLOREAT 3 (Benny Kovaoio 57, Mark Pritchard 79, Jack Allen 118)
v SORRENTO 4 (Johny Mirco 44, Jamie Harnwell 90+2, Jason Mirco 95, Ryan Pearson 105)
 
HT: 0-1
FT: 2-2
AET: 3-4
 
Referee: Josh Mannella; AR1: Michal Jasinski; AR2: Joe Fusari; 
Fourth Official: Hugh Best
 
Floreat (4-4-2): GK Brad Effie, 3 Jack Aallen, 10 Bobby Wilson, 21 Mark Walsh, 4 Spencer Harris, 6 Mark Pritchard, 14 Ludovic Boi (5 Jarrad Smith 37), 16 Jon Brooks (19 Vincent Sweeney 98), 17 Callum Franz, 9 David Heagney, 11 Benny Kovaoio (8 Mikey Roberts 98). Subs not used: RGK Michael Craggs, 15 Matt Spurling. Cautions: Spencer Harris 65, Mark Pritchard 67. Send Off: Vincent Sweeney 120 + 2.
 
Sorrento (4-4-2): GK Curtis Aspden, 30 Mikey Aspin, 13 Steve McDonald, 6 Daryl Platten, 22 Ryan Pearson, 8 Brodie Martin (17 Gavin Knight 55), 7 James Morgan, 10 Jason Mirco, 11 Johny Mirco (2 Danny Cain 111), 9 Todd Harnwell (5 Jamie Harnwell 86), 20 Reece Vittiglia. Subs not used: RGK James Morgan, 19 Stuart Montgomery. Cautions: Todd Harnwell 9)
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