A STRONG opening and close to the game gave UWA Nedlands FC a hard fought 3-1 win over Shamrock Rovers FC in its State League Division One encounter at UWA Sports Park.
Shamrock was caught sleeping from the first whistle as UWA made it 1-0 within the opening minute.
An intelligent through ball from Mordecai Appiah was played into the path of Alex Kretowicz and the forward calmly slotted the oncoming keeper to give the home side the lead.
UWA continued to apply pressure to the Shamrock back four and the visitors struggled to create chances going forward.
UWA came within inches of doubling its lead when Michael Vlasich’s vicious shot from distance was goal bound but Shamrock’s goalkeeper produced a fantastic save.
Shamrock started to find its feet and had a handful of chances, proving especially dangerous from set pieces.
At the other end, the excellent feet and vision of Conor Devlin proved too much for Rovers to handle and UWA could have found itself further in front when Devlin picked out the run of fullback Tristan Taylor on multiple occasions but again the Rovers keeper was quick off his line to clear the danger.
On the half hour mark, Rovers were level.
A corner initially cleared by Josh Marocchi only went as far as a Rovers midfielder whose shot into the crowded box was deflected to the feet of striker Nathan Hibbert who made no mistake from close range.
The rest of the half proved uneventful with strong winds making it difficult for either side to produce opportunities.
UWA started the second half in similar fashion to the first and was back in front after five minutes.
Fantastic build up down the right hand side from Devlin and Kretowicz put Andrew Xydas clear on goal and the midfielder finished clinically to put UWA 2-1 up.
UWA had chances to go further in front, with the best falling to Marc Zagami.
The midfielder did well initially to control a ball on the edge of the box but snatched at his shot and missed the target.
Rovers remained dangerous on the break and UWA had goalkeeper Alex Preece to thank for keeping it ahead as the shot stopper was called into action several times.
However, Rovers lost any chance of a late equaliser when its centre back was sent off with 10 minutes remaining after bringing down Kretowicz on the edge of the box.
The resultant free kick was struck into the wall by Michael Vlasich but it did not matter as UWA found a third goal of the afternoon in the final minute.
Zagami picked the ball up inside his own half and played a brilliant one-two with Kretowicz to send himself clear on goal before holding his nerve to calmly pick out the bottom corner and seal the deal for UWA.