UWA Nedlands FC 1 - 1 Rockingham City FC

 Andrew Xydas looks to advance for UWA - Photo courtesy of Susi Nodding

Andrew Xydas looks to advance for UWA - Photo courtesy of Susi Nodding

A drama filled final five minutes saw Rockingham City FC escape UWA Sports Park with a point in their mid-table clash with UWA Nedlands FC in the All Flags State League Division One.

Both sides were coming off the back of impressive victories but neither could carry last weekend’s momentum into the game, as the opening 10 minutes saw neither side able to break free from the midfield.

The conditions didn’t help the case, with heavy rain and winds were making it difficult for both sides. Despite the weather, UWA persisted with their passing game and were finding some success going forward through the feet of Andrew Xydas. The midfielder had the first effort of the game, finding space on the edge of the box to shoot but he was unable to steer his effort on goal.

Rockingham was proving a handful from set pieces, but the leadership of Joshua Marocchi and Michael Vlasich ensured that UWA were equal to the task.

Both sides struggled to create clear-cut opportunities in what was a cagey opening 45 minutes. Rockingham’s best chance of the half came from the head of forward Alex Grayson, but it proved little trouble for UWA goalkeeper Ranjeet Sekhon.

At the other end, Alex Kretowicz and Bryce Conway were looking dangerous in wide areas, but were both unable to cause any damage from their great build up play thanks to stern defensive efforts from Rockingham captain Sean Brady.

The second half started with much more energy and UWA begun to open the game up. Conor Devlin and Andrew Xydas were finding much more space through the middle of the park and tested the Rockingham goal from range on various occasions, but were unable to find a breakthrough.

UWA were looking the more likely to score and fortune favoured them on the hour mark when a defensive mistake opened up the Rockingham defence. Andew Xydas was quick to react and played in Alex Kretowicz on the edge of the box, the forward rode several challenges and calmly slotted it past the Rockingham keeper to put UWA 1-0 up.

Despite maintain control of the game, UWA were still tested from set pieces by a physical Rockingham side. However, the UWA defence stayed strong thanks to some desperate defending.

Rockingham’s search for an equaliser left them exposed at the back, and UWA were almost able to capitalise when they were awarded a penalty. A fast break eventuated in Marc Zagmi being fouled when he superbly turned his marker. Kretowicz stepped up to take the spot kick but the Rockingham keeper guessed correctly and pounced on the rebound to keep his side in the match.

After defending brilliantly all game, UWA let the three points slip in the final moments of the game. A deep free kick from Ryan Kennedy was put into a dangerous area for Rockingham, and UWA substitute Matt Deveraux’s attempts to head the ball to safety were in vain as the ball flicked off his head into his own net to send Rockingham home with a point.

UWA remains a point clear of Rockingham and will look towards next weekend to reduce the gap between themselves and the top four when they face Western Suburbs rivals, Western Knights SC.

UWA Nedlands FC – 1 (Kretowicz)
Rockingham City FC – 1 (Deveraux, OG)

Both clubs also shared the points in the Reserves fixture, with the game finishing 2-2. Sam Holden scored a second half brace for UWA but it wasn’t enough to take Beech and Stopper’s men over the line. Additionally, the 18’s were beaten 6-0 by a second top Rockingham side, but showed good competitiveness for large stretches of the game.