Unanderra Hearts edged past Warilla Wanderers 3-2 on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Unanderra Oval.

Damian Jorge gave the hosts the lead in the 13th minute, but Jack Murray quickly equalised for Warilla.

Luke Picciolini put the Hearts back in front half an hour in – an advantage they took into the sheds.

Murray bagged his second soon after halftime in a resurgent spell for the Wanderers, however, Mark Picciolini secured the points for Unanderra in the 65th minute.

Warilla looked to hold possession early on and got a shot off six minutes in.

Sam Georges received the ball outside the box and took aim, but the ball rolled well wide.

The Hearts had an opportunity two minutes later when Volkan As got in behind the Warilla defence with his central shot being caught by Warilla goalkeeper Timothy Walsh.

Unanderra made the most of this positive spell and snatched the lead in the 13th minute. Luke Picciolini’s left-sided corner beat the near post, where Damian Jorge prodded home from close range.

The Wanderers quickly gathered themselves and restored parity two minutes later. Nikita Peros’ right-sided cross met the head of Murray who glanced the ball into the far side of the goal.

Unanderra’s Mondo Kagami proved a constant outlet down the right for the side and nearly scored on two occasions immediately after Warilla’s goal; being flagged offside on both occasions.

The side carried on this momentum and retook the lead in the 32nd minute. Luke Picciolini with some sharp footwork in the right of the box before arrowing a right-footed strike into the top left corner.

Murray nearly equalised for the Wanderers for a second time five minutes later. Georges played a clever ball in behind, which got the striker one-on-one with Unanderra goalkeeper Kenji Sawada. However, Murray’s effort was well-repelled by the Japanese shot-stopper.

Unanderra kept their slender advantage intact as the teams went into the sheds following a competitive first period.

The Wanderers came out firing for the second half and equalised seven minutes in. A ball was clipped over the top for Murray to run onto, and he slotted a neat finish past Sawada.

On the hour mark, Murray threatened again as he latched onto another ball in behind the Hearts’ backline, but this time he lofted a shot just over the crossbar.

Despite Warilla’s flying second half so far, they went behind once more in the 65th minute. Daniel Jorge’s right-sided cross wasn’t dealt with by Walsh as the ball dropped at Mark Picciolini’s feet for the striker to belt into the goal from close in.

Unanderra remained in front as the game ticked into the final 10 minutes, with Warilla searching for their third equaliser of the match.

In the 83rd minute, the Wanderers moved the ball well from right to left, where Joshua De Gouveia was waiting in the box, but his shot went wide of the near post.

The lively De Gouveia caused more problems for the hosts five minutes later. He managed to steal the ball inside the right of the box and cut it back for Murray, who saw his effort steer just wide.

Unanderra’s task of defending their lead was made harder in the final minute of regular time when Mark Picciolini was sent off.

The Hearts remained solid at the back in what remained and secured another win, keeping them in the hunt for finals football.

Match Stats

Report by Tim Gibson

Photos courtesy of Graham Brown @Gragrapix

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