Busselton City FC met Joondalup City this Sunday in the second round of the Australia Cup.
Itching for their first competitive game of the season, Busselton fielded on a near full strength squad of 18.
Handing debuts to left back Lewis McConnon, left midfield Paddy Begley, Centre midfielders Andreas Theodosiades and Hafizullah Gulzari and striker Ricky Tuse.
A new centre back pairing of Jason Rynis and the return of Ian Feakes were reliable performers.
Cam Goldsmith and Cam Best worked hard at right back and midfield and the come back kids Danny Kane sitting centre midfield and Adam Guthridge rounded out the starting 11 in goals.
Over cast conditions met the kick-off and Joondalup started slightly brighter with good work from their searching through balls getting in behind the Busselton defence.
Five minutes in a loose pass created a chance for Joondalup as the cross came in, a neat turn and shot hitting the inside of the post and spinning all the way across the goal line going out for a goal kick.
The next 15 minutes saw a cagey affair as both teams battled in a scrappy opening salvo.
On the 20th minute mark new striker Tuse, made a positive run and was fouled in the box, the referee correctly pointed to the spot, the chance was cooly taken by debutant Gulzari, the goal spurred Busselton on and another chance five minutes later when the impressive Begley intercepted a pass and jinked his way past defender who brought him down in the box.
Gulzari unfortunately saw his penalty saved, a great reaction stop by the Joondalup keeper.
Lighting quick Tuse showed what a nightmare he could be for defences this season as he raced clear of the defence, unfortunately he thought he was offside and pulled up despite no whistle.
The half petered out and one enforced change was made by Busselton as the impressive and combative left back McConnon came off injured.
Star defender Jack Garnhama reliable replacement as he slotted into centre back with Rynvis moving to left back as we went into the second half.
Midfield trio from Busselton showed some class and what a danger they could be in the South West this season.
Joondalup had other ideas and after some great interplay down the right hand side a wonderful cross saw the number nine head over from five yards out when he should have done better.
It was ominous though as a few minutes later a good play down the right flank saw a pull back find the number nine who made no mistake this time from eight yards out to even the game.
A tense 10 minutes followed and it was Busselton who gained the ascendancy again as a close range shot from Tuse was adjudged handball by the referee, this time the penalty taker taken by the calmness of Garnham slotting it past the keeper making it 2-1.
Busselton may have extended their lead but with 10 minutes to go Joondalup striker made up for his misses earlier as he powered home a header from all off 16 yards, a great goal giving star keeper Guthridge no chance once again evening the game.
Busselton were tiring and as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes and a late challenge in the box resulted in a penalty for Joondalup which put them ahead for the first time in the game and securing the win.
An impressive performance from Busselton who worked tirelessly all day but probably lost to a team just a bit sharper at this stage of the season.
Photos by Sharon Cowley