A clinical second half performance by Dianella White Eagles saw the home side prevail 4-2 over UWA-Nedlands FC at Dianella Reserve.
Lloyd Prout opened the scoring in the 10th minute, before Dianella’s Sotiris Theodosiadis equalised from a free kick in the 24th minute. Alex Kretowicz returned from a serious collarbone injury and would find the back of the net with a 45th minute goal, before three unanswered second half strikes, scored by former UWA player Damon Kalamaris and wingers Francis Wanrig and Ibrahim Hamad, would give Dianella all three points.
The match began in even fashion, with both sides surging forward and creating opportunities at either end. Former UWA player Damon Kalamaris was dangerous up front for the White Eagles.
Uni opened the scoring in the 10th minute from a sleek team move. Junior skipped past two players on the wing and played it into Patrick Morrison, finding Prout at the back post to tap in the opener and give the away side a deserved lead.
14 minutes later, Dianella would strike back and bring the match level. A sumptuous free kick from Theodosiadis on the left touchline curled over keeper Ranjit Sekhon and into the back of the net.
The chance would continue to present themselves, as Dianella gained control of the match. Wanrig had a curling strike punched away by Sekhon, while Uni’s Robbie Black had a 30-yard free-kick narrowly zoom over the crossbar.
In the 35th minute, Kalamaris almost put the White Eagles ahead. The striker’s acrobatic volley from a corner was directed on target but was brilliantly tipped over the bar by a diving Sekhon.
Uni regrouped and regained their foothold in the battle for possession, as Connor Devlin and Junior found themselves pulling the strings once again. Right before the stroke of half time, Kretowicz would restore Uni’s lead. The pacey striker controlled a lofted ball from Devlin on the left, outpacing the defender and poking a left footed bobbling shot by the flailing Dianella custodian. Kretowicz’ goal would prove the final action of the half, as Uni would head into the sheds 2-1 up.
The second half began in more composed circumstances than the first, with both teams taking time in possession at the back. Devlin continued to make the game tick in the heart of midfield, while the centre-back pairing of Harry Hosking and Tom Moroney pushed away much of Dianella’s aerial attacking threat.
Uni’s attacking brand of football gradually began to flourish through the early stages of the second half, and Morrison would create the first opportunity after 6 minutes of play. Devlin threaded a smart through ball to the big striker but his low, powerful effort traveled straight at the Dianella goalkeeper to hold on to. Nine minutes later, Kretowicz would hit a 20-yard curling strike at the keeper before Morrison fired his effort over the top right corner from the edge of the box.
However, it would be Kalamaris who would strike the equaliser against the run of play in the 64th minute. Kai Jie was caught in possession by the White Eagles striker, who lunged in to direct his strike past Sekhon off the near post and in.
As a goalfest looked likely, the match then erupted into life on the pitch and in the boisterous Dianella Reserve stands. Both teams flung themselves forward as the physical intensity, pace of general play and pressure notably increased.
10 minutes later, Dianella would take the lead for the first time in the match. After a superb Sekhon save from a long range strike, the subsequent corner saw Francis Wanrig latch onto a loose header in the box, nodding the ball off the underside of the crossbar into the back of the net to give Dianella a 3-2 lead.
From there, Dianella dominated the rest of the match as Uni dug deep to find an equaliser of their own. As the dying stages of the match approached and Uni left themselves open at the back looking for the elusive equaliser, Dianella would put the result beyond doubt with a fourth goal.
Ibrahim Hamad found space on the right wing, moving the ball onto his right foot as he slammed a ferocious strike past Sekhon at the near post to double Dianella’s advantage.
Dianella held on to round to see match finish a six-goal thriller on a tough afternoon for UWA-Nedlands FC.
UWA Goals: Lloyd Prout 10’ (UWA), Alex Kretowicz 45+1’ (UWA)
Dianella Goals: Sotiris Theodosiades 24’, Damon Kalamaris 64’, Francis Wanrig 74’, Ibrahim Hamad 90’