Mandurah City take down Balcatta for first National Premier League win

Mandurah City claimed their first win of the WA National Premier League season when a fierce first half followed by a composed second led them to a victory over Balcatta on the weekend.

An early strike from Mark McLaughlin proved the difference between the two struggling sides in a tight encounter.

Starting as the aggressors, Mandurah put pressure on Balcatta asking questions from the outset.

In the eighth minute the home side’s aggression quickly paid off.

McLaughlin found himself unmarked in the box and took full advantage of an unclaimed cross beating the keeper.

Mandurah continued to enjoy the majority of the possession throughout the first half as Balcatta struggled to find their feet.

Ten minutes into the second half, Mandurah survived a nervous moment when keeper Eiffe contested the ball under heavy pressure from Balcatta.

The ball deflected wide and the subsequent shot from Patrick Sara was cleared off the line by Oliver McGee.

In the 78th minute, Paddy Quinn’s long range effort forced Eiffe to tip the ball wide with their best chance of the match.

Mandurah endured some nervous moments and found themselves defending a free kick late in injury time only for Eiffe to clear the ball to safety. 

Mandurah coach Doug Hesketh was pleased his side was able to shake the monkey from its back.

“It’s a relief, but in all honesty our side has been playing encouraging football for most of the season,” he said.

“Nine of our first 23 are injured and they’d all be starters so we feel we’ve been pretty competitive under the circumstances.”

Hesketh said his side’s young reserves were stepping up to fill the void left by injuries.

“Any time you get injuries and call on younger guys it gives them a really good opportunity to play at a high level and get exposed to the top,” he said.

“I’ve been thrilled with how our young band of players have stepped it up and it will benefit them greatly in the long run.”

Mandurah will sit out with a bye next round before returning for a clash against Perth.