Sunday, January 27, 2013
Aussies feature in cup fairy tales
By Liam FitzGibbon
Usually outshone by their star compatriots in the Premier League, a host of lesser-known Australians are enjoying their moment in the sun in English Cup football.Oldham Athletic duo Dean Bouzanis and James Wesolowski became the latest Australians to feature in a cup fairy tale, as the third-tier League One outfit shocked Liverpool 3-2 on Sunday to reach the FA Cup fifth round.It was a particularly sweet victory for promising goalkeeper Bouzanis, who left Liverpool in 2011 to pursue first team football."Wow wow wow what a feeling! You can't beat days like these," the 22-year-old tweeted after the victory.It continued a feel-good run for Australians in cup competitions, with defenders James Meredith and Curtis Good featuring in Bradford City's remarkable journey to next month's League Cup final.Bouzanis and Wesolowski will be joined by a host of other Australians in the FA Cup fifth round.Millwall's Shane Lowry, Reading's Adam Federici and Middlesbrough's Rhys Williams and Scott McDonald are also set to figure after their sides had fourth-round wins.Bouzanis spent four years coming through the ranks at Liverpool and at 16 was declared by former coach Rafa Benitez as the best `keeper in the world of his age.Ironically, it was a fellow Australian that helped seal Oldham's fate with Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones conceding three goals, including one howler as he made a mess of a simple cross.Wesolowski, 25, is playing for his sixth English club since joining Leicester City from NSL side Northern Spirit in 2002.He, Bouzanis, Meredith and Good are representative of almost 40 Australians plying their trade in England's lower leagues, below the likes of Premier League stars Mark Schwarzer, Brett Holman and Federici.Wesolowski had more than one reason to celebrate the win, revealing on Twitter he had also secured the shirt of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez after the win."So proud off the boys and staff today. What a result. Boundary park atmosphere was unbelievable!" he tweeted."Same again against Everton???"Suarez shirt as well today! What a day! #framed."Oldham will host Everton in the fifth round on February 16-17.Bradford face Swansea in the League Cup final at Wembley on February 24.