University of Wollongong FC won their fourth game of the Illawarra District League season on Saturday afternoon when they beat Unanderra Hearts 2-1 at home.
Uni opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Unanderra defender Nathan Belsito knocked it into his own net after trying to clear a free kick coming from the right wing.
UOWFC made it 2-0 in the 18th minute when Luke Inglis played a delightful ball over the top of the defence and into Ashley Hawkes who headed it into the back of the net.
Valentino Merxhushi pulled one back for the visitors late in the second half, but the side was unable to find an equaliser in what remained of the match.
The game started off with some early attacking threat from the home side as they had a few good chances in the first 10 minutes or so.
Ryan Sinclair was a great catalyst for Uni’s attack as he pumped through balls past Hearts defence all afternoon.
In the 23rd minute, Sinclair accurately lofted the ball from the left side of the pitch into the box and onto the head of Oscar Pruks who hit it into the grasp of the keeper.
Five minutes later, Uni had another chance to add to the scoreboard when Alex Kearton had a good crack from inside the box.
The ball was taken off a defender and Kearton quickly turned to face goal and shot but sent it whizzing over the bar.
One minute before half time Wollongong almost made it 3-0 when Joshua Martin floated a perfect ball over to Kearton but his half volley attempt when just over the bar.
University of Wollongong went into the break with a two-nothing lead, and the win looked probable after a dominant 45-minute showing.
Only five minutes into the second half, Pruks saw his close-range shot, soar over the bar after a great cross from Hawkes who set him up.
Unanderra started to find some attacking momentum and were getting more opportunities as the last 30 minutes went on.
Hearts forward, Dominic Magill got into the box and had a strike, but defender Anthony Gigliotti put in a great tackle and slid in at the last second to block the ball.
Sinclair was once again setting up teammates late on he put his teammate through, one on one with the keeper but Pruks could not get his foot to it in time.
With five minutes to go, Unanderra cut the lead to one with, a goal from Valentino Merxhushi. A cross was put in from the flank and it was poorly cleared by the defence, so Merxhushi knocked it over the line.
As the game was close in the final four minutes it started to get fiery. Five yellow cards were handed out over the course of the game and three of them coming late on in the match.
The final whistle blew and it was a relief for the home side as they celebrated the three points.
Unanderra is scheduled to play Warilla Wanderers next Saturday and as for Uni, they play Berkely Sports at home.
University of Wollongong 2 (Nathan Belsito OWN GOAL 12′, Ashley Hawkes 18′)
Unanderra Hearts 1 (Valentino Merxhushi 85′)
University: 1. KIPPS Jordan, 5. FRKOVIC Brooklan, 2. MORGAN Lachlan, 14. GIGLIOTTI Anthony, 15. KEARTON Alex, 19. COETZER Alex, 6. MARTIN Joshua, 30. INGLIS Luke, 23. SINCLAIR Ryan, 3. HAWKES Ashley, 9. PRUKS Oscar
Substitutes: 8. SIMMS Jordan, 4. FLINT-PETERSON Eamon, 7. FARR Charlie, 31. THORNTON Blake
Unanderra: 20. COAD Blake, 3. BELSITO Nathan, 4. GOLDSMITH Jason, 5. DEBROT Luke, 23. MOMEIRA Bradley, 10. NAGATSUKA TATSUKI, 7. PLAKIAS Christian, 6. DELBANCO Robert, 11. MERXHUSHI Valentino, 13. PICCIOLINI Mark, 17. MAGILL Dominic
Substitutes: 12. BRIDGE Scott, 2. PERINICH Michael, 8. LIDDLE Jonathon, 9. SAVERINO Daniel, 1. SAWANDA Kenji
Date: 4th June 2022
Venue: University of Wollongong Oval 1
Referee: Bobby Mazevski
Assistant Referees: Italo Roncato and Club
Report by Solomon Beddow @SolomonBeddow on Twitter.