A hungry UWANFC outfit were able to snap their losing streak and cause a major upset in the All Flags State League Division One by defeating ladder leaders Mandurah City FC 4-2.
UWA started on the front foot putting pressure on the Mandurah back four from the first whistle. Tristan Taylor had the first chance of the game, but he was unable to keep his effort down after a great delivery into the box from Alex Kretowicz.
UWA took the lead after a quarter hour courtesy of a Bryce Conway header. The midfielder met Robbie Black’s corner at the near post and glanced his effort past the keeper to put UWA 1-0 up.
The away side doubled their lead five minutes later thanks to an outstanding long-range effort from Thomas Moroney. UWA switched the play quickly down the right hand side before Taylor played the ball back to Moroney, who sat 25 yards out from goal. The midfielder was given far too much space and made Mandurah pay, riffling his stunning effort into the top left hand corner.
Returning vice-captains Marc Zagami and Conor Devlin were dictating play superbly from the middle of the park and making life difficult for Mandurah going forward.
Mandurah were struggling to keep up with UWA’s vibrant style of play and were another goal down when Conway added his second. Stern defensive play from Moroney and Taylor on the right led to a quick break for Kretowicz down the wing, the forward got to the touch-line and played a fantastic ball across the face, leaving Conway with the easiest of finishes from close range.
Mandurah needed a response and were handed a lifeline on the 35-minute mark when the referee awarded a penalty for a handball on UWA captain Joshua Marocchi. Jordan Rhodes stepped up to take the spot kick and calmly slotted it home to pull one back for the home side.
UWA were unlucky not to receive a penalty when the Mandurah goalkeeper caught Kretowicz after he rounded him in a one on one. The forward stayed on his feet and his effort on goal was superbly saved off the line by the Mandurah defence to keep the score at 3-1 at half time.
Mandurah knew they had to lift in the second half if they were to come out of the match with anything and through the leadership of Jordan Rhodes and Andy Brown they were able to mount pressure on the UWA defence.
The experience of UWA captain Joshua Marocchi proved pivotal in their lead protection and the centre back was on his toes to sniff out the danger on multiple occasions.
Mandurah continued to pressure the UWA goal and missed a golden opportunity on the hour mark when Jordan Rhodes missed the target from 10 yards after a terrific ball into the area.
Eventually Mandurah were able to peg one back through the head of Oriol Fernandez. The forward found himself free in the box and made no mistake from close range after a brilliant delivery from the right flank.
Mandurah pressed numbers forward in search of an equaliser; however, it left them exposed at the back and UWA were able to capitalise. Mandurah’s right back was careless in position and Kretowicz was able to steal the ball from him before weaving through the defence and squaring it to Andrew Xydas, who steered the ball home from the edge of the area to make it 4-2.
UWA head coach Michael Jansen had nothing but praise for his young side, believing it was a nice reward for weeks of hard work at training. “It makes me proud to see how this young team executes the advice on the park. Each player from 1 to 16 is committed and willing to perform like we want to play. I wish Mandurah all the best and hope that we can continue our development step by step and week by week.”
Mandurah City FC – 2 (Rhodes, Fernandez)
UWA Nedlands FC – 4 (Conway 2, Moroney, Xydas)
It was a great day for UWANFC all round with the Reserves also producing a fantastic performance to beat a top four Mandurah side. Kamando Sikazwe continued his impressive goalscoring form by netting his 16th and 17th goals of the season as his brace helped Stopper and Beechy's men to a comfortable 2-0 victory.
The 18's also continued their impressive development by securing a 2-2 draw. Viny Kapur could perhaps consider his side a tad unlucky to not secure all three points as they were unable to hold onto a 2-0 lead, but the boys played excellent football from start to finish and are beginning to be rewarded for their efforts.