Joondalup United secured passage into the last 8 of the State League Night Series, while UWA will be left feeling a little hard done by after two second half goals gave United the victory on Friday night.
United started strong and were able to keep UWA pressured in their territory for the majority of the half. Their physicality and old school long ball approach was handled well by the UWA backline, and it wasn’t until midway through the first half that Joondalup had their first real shot on Ranjeet Singh’s goal.
The Joondalup left-winger was able to give himself enough space for a shot, despite the double team of Tristan Taylor and Michael Vlasich. His effort from outside the box almost curled in; however, it was denied by the woodwork.
The rest of the half saw minimal efforts on either goal, with both teams struggling to convert passages of play into clear goal scoring opportunities.
Aided with the breeze, UWA was able to switch the momentum slightly into their favour in the second half. A combination of resilient defence and careless possession from United saw UWA open them up at the back. Both Lloyd Prout and Kamando Sikazwe found themselves in dangerous areas; however, the final product was lacking.
In the 60th minute Prout had a goal denied through offside, but UWA were getting closer. Another great opportunity fell to Prout on the fast break; however, he was unable to make the most of a three on one and United were able to get numbers behind the ball.
The first goal of the game came shortly afterwards, against the run of play. UWA gave away a silly foul on the right wing and the consequent delivery found its way to the United forward after a deflection caught the UWA defenders stood still. The United forward made no mistake in side footing the ball past Ranjeet Singh to give United the lead.
UWA pressed hard to find an equaliser and found themselves around United’s area more frequently. With ten minutes to go, UWA coach Michael Janssen brought off a defender for Simon Baah, another forward, to help the push for a goal. Unfortunately, things wouldn’t go as planned as midfielder Will Conway was given his marching orders by the referee after being shown a second yellow for dissent.
With three at the back and ten men, UWA found it hard to control the game in the closing stages and united were able to make the most of it five minutes from time. United broke down the left flank and were able to get around the UWA backline through great pace and numbers before sliding the ball into the bottom corner to end the game 2-0 and progress to the last 8 of the tournament.
UWA Coach Michael Janssen saw the game as a clash of two philosophies, “We needed time to find ourselves in the game and to play our passing game against their simple but effective style. In the second half we dominated and the whole team worked very well. We won most of the second balls and just started to turn the game to our advantage when a simple set piece ended up in the back of our net. After the red card we just weren’t able to come back.” Janssen believes the tournament has been a good building block for his young side, “We can build upon the night series performances and will be strong till the season starts in April. Still a lot to do but this young and willing squad will be ready for the season soon.”
UWA will play friendlies for the next couple weekends before competing in the FFA Cup later in March.