Ashfield win by one in hard-fought match
A GOAL on the hour mark from Ashfield leftback Ashley Corker gave the home side all three points in a tight 1-0 contest in their round 11 encounter against UWA Nedlands FC on the weekend.
UWA started off with the majority of the ball possession and a return to their style that was absent last weekend.
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 was looking dangerous from set pieces, with their centrebacks 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 link-up 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 longrange attempts well over.
The best chance of the first half fell to Ashfield’s forward from within six yards when he was found free at the back post from a low delivery. However, he fluffed his lines and shot straight at UWA shot-stopper Alex Preece.
UWA almost found themselves ahead at the other end courtesy of Simon Baah.
The forward nearly broke the deadlock from a header, 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 wasn’t for stern defensive plays from Marocchi and Michael Vlasich, they could’ve 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 leftback Corker who fired a low volley into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
UWA rallied and almost drew level courtesy of a Simon Baah header. Unfortunately the ball smashed into the crossbar.
UWA was denied a blatant 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 the UWA 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.