North Beach was second-best in the second round of the Amateur Division One, with a 3-1 defeat to Belmont Villa.
It was a game of two halves. Belmont dominated the first half, capitalising on Beach mistakes, and the second half saw Beach control the game but lacked the finishing touch.
Benny Reynolds was unlucky to open the scoring early on. Through on goal, he tried to place the shot to the right of the onrushing keeper, who managed to get just enough on it to put it out for a corner.
Beach had another opportunity to score a few minutes later after David Kelliher put a dangerous cross into the box. Reynolds met it with a volley but wasn’t able to get his head over the ball sending it over the crossbar.
The game was 0-0 for most of the half, but minor errors were punished 30-minutes into the half. Villa scored three goals under five minutes to make it 3-0 with 15-minutes of the half left.
A few minutes before the end of the half, Jake Dean came on for Ali Westwood, who had picked up a knock.
After conceding three goals within 5-minutes, Beach needed to come into the second half with more intensity and concentration to have a chance at getting something from the game.
The improvement was evident, with Beach dominating most of the possession and finding each other with passes.
About 15-minutes into the second half, a double-substitution saw Harry Richings and Alec Etheridge come on for Kelliher and Aaron Persse.
With the substitution came a change in formation, and Luke Wearing pushed into an attacking midfield role from Centre Back.
The intensity picked up, and the high-pressing play eventually forced an error from Villa conceding a penalty.
Reynolds coolly put it away and gave Beach the motivation to push for a comeback.
More chances came after the goal, and Beach put on the pressure and looked like scoring more.
Beach should have punished a few mistakes from the Villa backline, but unfortunately, they just couldn’t find the net.
Towards the end of the game, frequent breaks in play slowed Beach’s momentum, and the game ended 3-1.
The game was won in the space of 5-minutes after a lapse of concentration saw Villa capitalise on a sluggish Beach first half. It was indeed a game of two halves, with Beach looking off the pace in the first 45-minutes, but on top for the second 45.
Beach’s preseason efforts were evident as the boys kept the hard-pressing into the 90th minute on a scorching day. Beach can see the second-half performance as a positive and something to be improved on in the coming weeks.
Coach Stephen Critchley says the second half domination could have resulted in three or four goals.
“That 10-minute lapse in the first half that cost us the game,” he says.
“We know where we went wrong and will bounce back strong.”
Lineup: Hughes, Roberts, Wearing, Persse, Felstead, Kelliher, Di Carlo, K. Parker, A. Westwood, Reynolds, Aitken
Subs: Dean, Etheridge, Richings, Catalfamo, de Lima
The return of David Kelliher to the First Team saw him directly replace the injured Ross Westwood at Right Midfield.
There were three more changes to the team that faced South Perth in the first round, with Aaron Roberts starting at Right Back and Kaimon Parker returning to the starting 11 after injury, with Jake Dean starting from the bench. Aaron Persse started his first game and moved into the vacant centre half position.
A strong performance saw Luke Wearing take home the Bar 1 Player of the Match award.
Around the grounds
Villa Reserves 1-5 NB Reserves
NB 3’s 4-3 Olympic Kingsway (Metro Nth Div 3)
NB 4’s 3-0 Yanchep Forfeit (Metro Nth Div 5)
NB Masters 4-1 Wanneroo (Nth Div 2)
NB Masters O45’s 2-7 Bayswater City (North A)
NB 1’s 1-6 Sorrento (Metro Nth Div 1)
NB 2’s TBD Whitford City (Metro Nth Div 3)