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The Sorrento Gulls won the inaugural Interstate Challenge against South Australian Champions MetroStars in an exhibition atmosphere at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday.

A pleasant 19 degrees for the 5pm kick off before a low number of spectators at the North Perth venue. MetroStar’s Captain Steven Grelli called correctly the toss of the coin by Referee Mat Cheeseman and asked Gulls Captain, Todd Harnwell to attack the City (southern) end goal. Both Captains wearing the No. 9 shirt.

MetroStar’s usual 4 back line players couldn’t make the journey whilst the Gulls were missing Mikey Aspin, Johny Mirco, James Morgan, Reece Vittiglia, Ryan Pearson and Brodie Martin. 

It was Sorrento that made the breakthrough after 8 minutes, thanks to the goal-scoring nous of the veteran Stuart Montgomery. Jason Mirco picked up the ball on the right wing and played it to the feet of Gavin Knight. Knight turned away from his marker and whipped a dangerous ball across the face of goal that Montgomery side-footed home at the back post.

The MetroStars responded soon after, thanks to the alertness of Steven Grelli, whose quickly taken free kick was clinically volleyed into the bottom corner by Perry Mitris’s left foot to level for the team in black.

The game was surprisingly open, with both teams looking like scoring every time they attacked. As it turned out, Sorrento scored their second goal with their next attack of note. Mirco’s ball over the top found Gavin Knight, who lobbed over the onrushing Daniel Godley to put Sorrento back in the driver’s seat.

Then on 33 minutes Grelli was unlucky to see his long range strike crash off the underside of the bar, but not over the line and Todd harnwell cleared. Meaning team in sky blue went in with a one goal advantage at the break.

The Gulls extended their lead five minutes into the second half, and Perth Glory fans would’ve enjoyed seeing Howarth tee up Jamie Harnwell on the edge of the box. The Glory legend scuffed his shot, but it managed to creep in at the foot of the right post.

Two minutes later it was four goals. Skorich cut inside and pulled the ball back to Montgomery. Montgomery’s deep cross was perfectly weighted for Knight to nod home his second of the evening just inside the left post.

Content with their three goal lead, Sorrento sat back. Mitris drew a good save from Aspden, but the visitors never really looked like coming back. 

Howarth got the goal his performance merited in the 82nd minute. Picking up the ball 20 yards from goal, he curled a shot towards the top left hand corner that struck both posts before nestling at the back of the net.

Metrostars’ top scorer from last season, Michael Matricciani, took a penalty a minute later, but Gulls keeper guessed correctly and saved to his right. MetroStar’s Grelli did scored his side’s second after seizing on a loose pass and coolly side-footing past Aspden.

It was too little too late for the visitors, as Sorrento’s win, coupled with Hamersley Rover’s 3-2 win over International SC, meant that Western Australia took out the inaugural Interstate Challenge. The first contest of the day saw visitors Adelaide City win 1-0 over Beckenham Angels.

SORRENTO 5 (Stuart Montgomery 8, Gavin Knight 19, 52, Jamie harnwell 50, Todd Howarth 82) v METROSTARS 2 (Perry Mitris 12, Steven Grelli 90+1)

HT: 2-1

Sorrento FC (4-4-2): GK Curtis Aspden, 30 Danny Cain, 6 Daryl Platten, 14 Steve McDonald, 9 Todd Harnwell, 10 Jason Mirco, 3 Anthony Skorich, 20 Todd Howarth, 16 Jamie Harnwell (21 Darcy Cosgrove 81), 17 Gavin Knight (11 Joe Allanson 81), 19 Stuart Montgomery. Subs not used: 15 Blair Govan. Cautions: Nil. 

MetroStars SC (4-4-2): GK Daniel Godley, 6 Tony Hatzis (3 Samuel Campagnale 78), 7 Lawrence D’Arrigo (2 Samuel Tortorella 83), 8 Rocky Callisto, 9 Steven Grelli, 12 Andrew Orphanou (11 Daniel Pauli 83), 14 Adrian Polisena, 15 Michael Matricciani, 18 Joseph Crescitelli, 22 Joseph Polisena, 23 Perry Mitris. Subs not used: RGK Callum Piantadosi. Cautions: Nil.

Referee: Matthew Cheeseman; AR1: Michal Jasinski; AR2: Tim Mihevc

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