South West Phoenix FC 2 - 2 UWA Nedlands FC

Photo courtesy of Chris Beech

Photo courtesy of Chris Beech

UWA ensured they didn't drive home empty handed as Geordie Papathanassiou’s last minute goal gave UWA a share of the spoils against South West Phoenix FC.

Following last weeks convincing victory over Dianella, UWA were looking to pick up another victory against a Phoenix outfit that had only tasted victory once this season.

UWA started the stronger outfit, comfortably holding the ball across the park and looking dangerous up front with the pace of Lloyd Prout and Alex Kretowicz. No clear opportunities were presented in the opening twenty minutes with Phoenix’s back four proving difficult to penetrate.

Eventually the Phoenix back four opened up and Marc Zagami was able to deliver a perfect through ball to Kretowicz. Through on goal the Phoenix centre back attempted to recover with a lunging challenge; however, Kretowicz was too far ahead and was brought down in the box for a penalty. Kretowicz blasted the spot kick down the middle with confidence to give UWA a 1-0 lead.

UWA continued to hold tight at the back; however, Phoenix were starting to pose a threat, particularly through the crafty feet of James McCleary. Alex Preece was called into action for the first time in the half and produced a sublime double save to keep UWA in the lead.

At the other end Kretowicz had a golden opportunity to double UWA’s lead. Bryce Conway played it wide to Prout on the break, who’s first time ball across the face of the defence found Kretowicz with goal in sight; however, the forward couldn’t control the winger’s pass and the Phoenix keeper cleared the ball to safety.

Just as UWA looked to be heading into the break with a 1-0 lead, the home side hit level. An optimistic long ball from the Phoenix centre back caught the UWA defence by surprise and Phoenix captain Ryan Francis was on his toes to latch onto the pass and chip goalkeeper Alex Preece with a sublime first touch volley.

Phoenix found their feet early in the second half and never allowed UWA to get into their rhythm. Great midfield work from Phoenix was met by sturdy defence from UWA centre back Michael Vlasich, cutting out continuous attacks from the home side.

After half an hour of battling, the home side finally found the lead through Catlo Chiellini. A free kick from the right wing evaded everybody in the middle and fell kindly for the midfielder, who controlled and riffled his finish into the upper netting.

UWA coach Michael Janssen wasn’t keen on leaving Bunbury without a point and made some offensive substitutions to try and shift the balance of the game. The attacking duo of Simon Baah and Geordie Papathanassiou made their way into the game and ultimately proved the difference.

In the last minute of regular time a quick long ball from Preece caused headaches for the Phoenix back four and UWA were able to capitalise. The ball found its way to Baah, who took on his defender and played the ball back into the goalmouth to the feet of Papathanassiou, who poked it home from close range to make it 2-2.

Despite being on the back foot for the majority of the half, UWA almost found a winner when Kretowicz found himself clear on the edge of the box. However, the striker’s effort was well blocked by the desperate Phoenix defenders.

The draw sees UWA remain within striking distance of the top four leading into a blockbuster clash with Gosnells at home next weekend. South West Phoenix remains in 10th spot; however, they’ll be looking to climb the table with crucial fixtures in the coming weeks.

South West Phoenix FC – 2 (Francis, Chiellini)
UWA Nedlands FC – 2 (Kretowicz, Papathanassiou)

The reserves were unfortunate to drive home with nothing after a heartbreaking 4-3 loss in a highly entertaining game. After going down early, co-coaches Chris Beech and Clive Stopper decided to wind back the clock and combined sensationally to equalise for UWA. Despite scoring two more though Sam Holden and Kevin Eguienta in the second half, it was enough to stop a fast finishing Phoenix outfit. The 18s also fell 4-0, but continue to develop well under Vinny Kapur exhibiting some brilliant passages of play throughout.