A battling Mandurah City bowed out of the Football West Night Series competition on Sunday, going down 3-1 to Western Knights in a game marred by two controversial penalty calls.
City has their call turned down after striker Abe Tcuono was smashed in the face in the first half causing the player to temporarily leave the field with blood pouring from his nose.
Knights were given their appeal to extend their lead after Mandurah had fought their way back into the game.
Two evenly matched teams played out a game of contrasting styles, but City’s passing game, which controlled large parts of the match, couldn’t do enough to break down the Knights defence.
Tcuono was the lone scorer for City early in the second half before Paul Lloyd added a third from the penalty spot for the Knights.
Coach Doug Hesketh said he learnt a lot from the game and said there was nothing to be disappointed about.
“I am very pleased with the progress the squad has made so far although a bit disappointed we didn’t get into the pre season final,” Hesketh said.
“I don’t go into any game I don’t want to win and tonight was no exception. We changed the formation for the game and to be honest it wasn’t as effective as I had planned , but with no points lost the glass is still very much half full.
“We started well and looked in control , they seemed to be chasing shadows as we moved the ball well. However a mistakenly played back pass fell at the feet of knights forward who tapped into empty net.
After that I think we lost our composure a little and they lifted , a goal kick by the Knghts was not dealt with well by us in the air and the misjudged header allowed them to get a second.
“We did battle and had two shots cleared off the line along with a decent penalty appeal overlooked but could reduce the deficit. “At half time we decided to change the formation which we did early in the second half, young Mark McGlaughlin (18) came off in a tactical change.
“We got our game back on track in the middle and ran the show, Abe scoring from close range with a neat turn and it was 2-1.
“All the lads worked ever so hard to find a second and despite dominating we just couldn’t take a trick with the officials and when he awarded them a penalty in the same spot he overlooked our appeal we felt it wasn’t going to be our night.
“I am very pleased with the progress of the squad the attitude of the players and application on the pitch, we made a few schoolboy errors but we also played very good football. We will now focus on specifics of the team ie set pieces and tactics with some endurance work prior to season start in a few weeks.
“We are looking forward to the FFA cup game and the 2015 season start; its been a good pre-season.
“A big thanks for everyone’s support at the club we are moving in the right direction.”