State League Div1. UWANFC 1sts vs Fremantle City, UWA Sports Park, 04 May 2019

After a rocky start to the season with some unfortunate results, UWA looked to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointing draw at Ashfield as they hosted Fremantle City at the Mac. The Uni boys were going into this fixture sitting 4th on the table on 8 points, a point above their opponents down in 6th. A win would give them the chance to move top, depending on other results, and put them in a strong position before next weekend’s clash with Gwelup Croatia.

With star striker Alex Kretowicz, captain Josh Marocchi and defender Sam Carrello all out with injuries, it gave players like Tom White the chance to come in and play from the start. Their opponents going into this game with a win against Mandurah City last weekend meant it would be a gripping affair from start to finish.

The boys in green kicked off the match with a large spell of possession, a lot of the ball being played around in the middle of the pitch and some great link up play between the UWA midfielders in the centre of the park. However, there were few clear-cut chances, which meant there was little to cheer about in the first half.

Tackles flying in from both sides proved that the game was going to be a fiery battle and showed what was to come in the second half. A solid display from the Uni defence and a couple of saves from the Fremantle goalkeeper meant that the boys would be going into halftime with 0-0, giving them a lot of work to do in the second half.

The second half started with a higher intensity than that shown in the first half. It was clear that both teams were desperate for that decisive goal that would break the deadlock. Tackles continued to fly in from both teams and unfortunately for UWA, in the 60th minute, a late challenge saw a sending off for Max Welton, meaning the Uni Boys would finish the game with 10 men.

In the 70th minute, UWA were awarded with a free kick 10 yards into the Fremantle half, an opportunity for Uni to have an attempt on goal. Conor Devlin stepped up, and with a piece of brilliance, launched the ball over the goalkeeper and directly into the back of the Fremantle net making it 1-0 to the Uni boys with around 20 minutes left to play. Not long after, an injury to Riaz Kelly forced a couple of changes late on into the second half.

Added Fremantle pressure and the man difference proving costly for Uni, an unfortunate deflection in the 78th minute to a Fremantle player in the UWA box gave them the opportunity to slot it into the bottom corner of the UWA goal, making it 1-1 with 10 minutes left to play.

A close fought end to the second half saw chances created from both teams. However, it all seemed too little, too late as the match finished in a draw and ultimately a disappointing result for Uni who felt they could’ve potentially gone on to win the game.

The draw means that UWA will stay 4th, level on points with next week’s opponents Gwelup Croatia.

In the other State League matches vs Fremantle City, a hard-fought game, with a last-minute penalty save from Tim Rossi saw the Reserves win 2-1, whilst the 18s returned to winning ways and regained 1st place on the table as they beat their opponents 5-3.

Match report by Cameron Holley.