Night Series: UWA 1-1 Ashfield

 ANDREW XYDAS RETURNED TO THE STARTING LINE-UP - CREDIT: GABRIELE

ANDREW XYDAS RETURNED TO THE STARTING LINE-UP - CREDIT: GABRIELE

It was a frustrating day at the office for Michael Janssen's men, with UWA's dominance in possession rewarded with a solitary point after failing to put Ashfield away in Round 4 of the Night Series.

Zeke McPherson continued his prolific pre-season campaign with a well-taken chance on the hour mark, but a lapse in concentration at the back enabled Ashfield to snatch an equaliser against the run of play to ensure the points would be shared on a balmy Sunday evening in Wanneroo.

It was a scrappy encounter for a large majority of the match, with uni unable to penetrate a resolute Ashfield defence despite the tireless efforts of Luke Randazzo and Andrew Xydas in central midfield.

The first-half was void of any clear-cut chances, with the defenders on both sides holding firm to keep it scoreless at the break.

Returning midfielder Conor Devlin made way for Bryce Conway at the interval as UWA continued to look to translate their momentum into ascendancy on the scoreboard.

Uni finally got the goal they deserved as Conway and McPherson linked up yet again to open the scoring. Conway's through-ball from the right-wing allowed McPherson to twist and turn on the edge of the area to eventually strike home into the bottom corner for his sixth goal of the Night Series.

The university side peppered the Ashfield goal but were unable to kill the game off with a second, which would prove to haunt them in the 75th-minute. A swift counter-attack caught uni off-guard as the long-ball from left-back found their striker with plenty of space as the forward kept his cool to equalise.

 JOE HAYDEN DELIVERS A CROSS AGAINST ASHFIELD - CREDIT: GABRIELE MALUGA

JOE HAYDEN DELIVERS A CROSS AGAINST ASHFIELD - CREDIT: GABRIELE MALUGA

UWA pushed hard for a late winner, with Randazzo and Mordecai Junior forcing the Ashfield keeper into a string of heroic saves.

Despite a number of chances, uni were forced to share the spoils for the second week in a row to leave the side in second place in Group D behind Kingsway, who overcame Dianella 3-2.

Skipper Josh Marocchi was disappointed with the result, with the centre-back lamenting missed opportunities.

"After playing a rather lacklustre first-half and going into the break 0-0, we started to perform better in the 2nd half. This was rewarded with a goal to Ezekiel, and we had some good further chances to go further ahead which we failed to capitalize on."

"What this game emphasized was that we can't afford to switch off or have off days in our league. Any Division 1 side will give us trouble so if we aren't up to the task or performing at an acceptable level it can hurt us."

Despite the result, it was great to see star midfielder Devlin return to the starting line-up as he works back to full fitness following a groin injury.

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