University opened their season with a stirring comeback to grab a 3-3 draw away to Fernhill on Saturday. 

The Foxes pushed to a 3-1 half-time lead despite a couple of key absences, before a second-half collapse which finished with the Students perhaps feeling unlucky they didn’t steal all three points.

Fernhill had the run of play early and found the first goal nine minutes in through Will Roberts.

The young winger got on the end of a cross from the right wing before controlling it around his marker and picking out the bottom right corner.

University equalised half an hour into the match through a fortuitous own goal. 

Midfielder Jackson Dummett played in Uni skipper Doug Woodiwiss who scuffed his shot across goal, however, retreating Fernhill captain Nathan Thompson slid in and pushed the ball into an empty net.

Parity lasted less than a minute with Roberts scoring his second with a long-range effort that Caleb Biondo couldn’t keep out. 

The Foxes had a flood of chances in the closing 15 minutes of the first half.

In the 39th minute, Roberts skimmed the bar with another shot from distance before a magical run from Mitch Turner which wasn’t matched by his finish which flew high and wide.

With three minutes left in the half, it was Sean Poulton who squandered a golden opportunity when Turner squared him the ball before he blasted it over from only a few metres out.

University had a half-chance seconds before the break with Adam Bassuni outmuscling two Fernhill defenders to get a shot away but it drifted wide.

Fernhill’s third came eight minutes into the second half after Elias Ayoud made a determined run into the right of the box before cutting the ball to Turner who made amends for his first-half miss with a controlled finish into the bottom left corner.

The Students won a penalty in the 55th minute after a tired tackle from Scott Muilwyk tripped Charlie Farr-Hannah.

Josh Martin stepped up for the spot-kick but he slammed it straight at Jack Dugan before Bassuni rushed in and thumped the follow up over the crossbar.

On the hour mark, there was nearly an early contender for the goal of the season after Biondo punched a corner out to Ayoub who, from 25 metres out, headed the ball back to goal with it coming off the crossbar – the ball remained in play with Muilwyk heading it into the grateful arms of the University goalkeeper.

With 15 minutes remaining, the Students were able to score two quickfire goals to give them the ascendancy. 

The first came through Bassuni who controlled Oscar Pruks cross before burying it into the bottom right corner and then a half-volley from Martin which flew past the Foxes custodian.

University pushed for a winner and they had three decent opportunities to grab the win through Woodiwiss, Farr-Hannah and Pruks – who headed wide from close range with just two minutes remaining.

After the match, Fernhill coach Dale White rued wasteful finishing and his side’s inability to finish University off.

“We were 3-1 up with 15 minutes to go and in control and we just fell to pieces in that last 15,” he said.

“I don’t know what happened, maybe it was heavy legs, it was our first game since Bulli in the Frat Cup (on March 10) and we’ve had a bit of bad luck with the rain and cancellations.”

“We missed three sitters in the space of four minutes before half time and the game could have been over with us four or five one up.

“They kept coming, we made some errors and invited the pressure on ourselves and you can’t defend for 30 or 35 minutes and expect to win a game of soccer, the pressure told in the end.”

Fernhill will be looking to bounce back against Picton on Good Friday with the fixture reversed to Ray Robinson Field after the recent torrential rain’s impact on Hume Oval.

Scott Regent’s side will aim to build on their second-half showing when they host Oak Flats next Friday.

Fernhill: 3 (Will Roberts 9’ 31’, Mitch Turner 53’)

University: 3 (Nathan Thompson OG 30’, Adam Bassuni 76’, Josh Martin 78’)

Fernhill: 1. DUGAN Jack, 2. CALDER Lachlan, 3. THOMPSON Nathan, 4. FOULGER Kurt, 5. OLIVER Anthony, 6. MUILWYK Scott, 7. AYOUB Elias, 8. POULTON Sean, 9. DJUKIC Dejan, 10. TURNER Mitch,  11. ROBERTS Will

Substitutes: 12. MOROSIN Dean (POULTON), 13. ELLUL Ben (MUILWYK), 14. MCLEOD Nelson (THOMPSON), 21. MCCLELLAND 

University: 41. BIONDO Caleb, 25. WOODIWISS Doug, 3. HAWKES Ashley, 22. TWIGG Chris, 13. O’BRIEN Conor, 20. DUMMETT Jackson, 6. MARTIN Josh, 8. IVERSON Curtis, 23. SINCLAIR Ryan, 14. BASSUNI Adam, 9. PRUKS Oscar


Date: 27 March 2021

Venue: Ray Robinson Field

Referee: Nathan Alterator

Assistant Referees: John Ruscica and Helmut Lux

Report by Dylan Arvela, on Twitter @dylanarvela

Photo by Clayton Campbell

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