Soccer: single strike enough for Ashfield to see off UWA Nedlands


Morcedai Appiah looks to thread a pass through for UWA.
Morcedai Appiah looks to thread a pass through for UWA.

A GOAL on the hour mark from Ashfield left back Ashley Corker gave the home side all three points in a tight 1-0 contest against UWA Nedlands FC.

The return of influential captain Joshua Marocchi helped to ease the nerves as UWA looked to damage Ashfield early.

UWA had the best opportunity of an even first 15 minutes courtesy of an Andrew Xydas strike from range, with the midfielder’s attempt forcing the Ashfield keeper into a diving effort.

At the other end, Ashfield looked dangerous from set pieces, with their centre backs squandering several great opportunities from close range.

UWA continued to control the tempo of the game, frustrating the Ashfield players and leading to a string of vicious challenges and several yellow cards being shown.

Despite great midfield linkup from the likes of Alex Kretowicz and Bryce Conway, UWA was restricted to long range efforts by a solid Ashfield back four, with Geordie Papathanassiou and Andrew Xydas both firing several long range attempts well over.

UWA almost found itself ahead at the other end courtesy of Simon Baah.

The forward nearly broke the deadlock from a headed effort, but the Ashfield keeper was alert to the danger and produced an excellent save to keep scores level heading into the break.

Ashfield started the second half the stronger side and if it not for stern defensive plays from Marocchi and Michael Vlasich they could have easily found themselves ahead.

Ashfield’s pressure finally proved too much for UWA and the home side took the lead on the hour mark.

A free kick into the box was well defended by UWA however, nobody reacted to the rebound ahead of Ashfield left back Corker who fired a low volley into the bottom corner from just outside the box.

UWA rallied and almost drew level courtesy of a Simon Baah header.

Andrew Xydas’ corner was well met by the head of Baah, who directed it goalwards.

Unfortunately, the forward could not keep his effort down and it smashed against the crossbar.

UWA was denied a penalty in the final five minutes when Kretowicz was brought down inside the area as he fired an effort on goal, but the referee waved away UWA’s claims.

Ashfield was able to hold out for the remaining time and secured their fifth win of the season to increase the gap between the top five sides and the rest of the league, while UWA remains in seventh place.

It will be a tough away trip against league leaders Mandurah City FC this weekend but UWA will look forward to the return of leadership group members Marc Zagami and Conor Devlin to the squad after carrying out their suspensions.