Match Report: UWA & Dianella share the spoils in dramatic season opener



Captain Josh Marocchi and Alex Kretowicz continued their goalscoring form, with the latter's stoppage-time leveller ensuring UWA opened the season with a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Dianella.

A bumper crowd down at 'The Mac’ was witness to a great clash of football between promotion hopefuls Dianella White Eagles and hosts UWA Nedlands Football Club.

UWANFC started the game brightly when a free kick from the right-hand-side touch-line from club stalwart Robbie Black was met by Marocchi, who snuck behind his defender to meet the ball and tap home past Dianella Keeper Mathew Battigelli.

From this point on the first half saw Dianella take control and threaten the UWANFC goal on a number of occasions.

Dianella's Angel Andreas and Theodosiades had a few decent chances to equalise, but some smart keeping and timely blocks aided the UWA cause. On the 23rd minute, however, Andreas would be denied no longer as he cleverly peeled off his marker to receive a nice lofted ball from midfield, which he controlled and finished from 12 yards in the blink of an eye.

A change of tactics at half time from coach Michael Janssen changed the game in the second half, as Uni started to play their own game and control the play in midfield.

Promising chances fell to Alex Kretowicz and Patrick Morrison, while Robbie Black was looking dangerous with the dead ball.

Preece's brilliant reaction save denied Dianella from 8 yards as both teams began pressing for the lead.

With 10 minutes to play, Dianella keeper Mathew Battigelli appeared to suffer a serious injury after coming off his line to collect a threatening through ball. The game was halted whilst the keeper received treatment and was subsequently replaced.

Joshua Marocchi opened the scoring for UWA in the 5th minute - Credit: Gabriele Maluga

Joshua Marocchi opened the scoring for UWA in the 5th minute - Credit: Gabriele Maluga

With the final whistle drawing near, Dianella looked to have stolen all three points as Captain Bojan Radinovic slammed home from close range to make it 2-1, but it wasn't over yet.

From the resulting kick-off, a superb long ball forward from full-back Brandon Naude found the mercurial Kretowicz who rolled the equaliser home in the space of ten seconds to ensure parity at the end of an exciting encounter.

Janssen was pleased with the general performance and character showed by the squad.

"After their very late second goal the team showed another immense quality, never to give up and to believe in the strength of the team," he said.

"Scoring the late goal was well deserved and made it overall a fair result looking after 90 minutes," the head coach added.

UWANFC travel to Hilton Reserve Fremantle Saturday 15th March to take on Division 1 new boys Fremantle City FC.

Everyone at UWANFC would also like to extend their best wishes to Battigelli for his recovery after having surgery yesterday.