North Perth United overcame a resilient UWA-Nedlands 2-1 in Round 16 of the Belt Up Amateur Premier Division at Butlers Reserve on Sunday.
Goals from Paul Gabel and William Pender handed North Perth a 2-0 lead at half-time before T Oluysanoye pulled one back for the visitors.
But it was too little too late as North Perth collected their 11th win in a row and maintained their three-point lead over Kingsley with a game in hand.
North Perth coach Alex Carter was pleased with the result but frustrated his side allowed UWA a route back into the game.
“First half I was probably very happy barring probably a five or ten-minute spell toward half-time,” Carter said.
“We controlled possession well, recycled the ball well and we created five or six really good chances, we just didn’t take the opportunities. The game potentially could’ve been dead.
“Second half was a completely different game. We probably came out of the rooms as we finished the first half, we sat quite deep and invited them on.
“They started winning possession quite easily through the midfield and we never really got our foot back on the ball in the final third in the second half and that’s what invited them back into the game.
“Last two weeks we’ve probably been a bit scrappy but last two weeks we’ve scraped 2-1 wins and if you look back in six, seven weeks’ time, you might look at that and say no one really cares how we play. We might’ve played outstanding and drawn today. It’s about three points.”
North Perth took the lead after only 10 minutes when Gabel collected the ball just inside his attacking half and unleashed a shot that went over the head of UWA keeper D Lissiman, who was off his line.
And they doubled their advantage when in the 27th minute Emmon Kelly flashed the ball across the face of goal and Pender tapped home.
It looked like North Perth might run away with the match but UWA dug their heels in and were rewarded with a goal in the 50th minute. Oluysanoye found space on the edge of the box and finished well past North Perth keeper Jamie Serra.
UWA had all the momentum as a free-kick from L Pilgrim took a heavy deflection of the defender but couldn’t catch out the alert Serra.
Oluysanoye almost snatched a draw for UWA in injury time when his low shot from the edge of the box went just wide of the post.
UWA-Nedlands coach Art Heimstra felt his side gave a good account of themselves despite the result not going their way.
“Overall I’m pleased, a bit unlucky with the first goal that we conceded and it kind of haunted us for the rest of the game but overall I think the lads did a good performance throughout,” Hiemstra said.
“Tough conditions at times but North Perth were suffering from the same so overall I’m happy with how the lads did against the top of the table.
“The objective when we came into this league was to stay in the league and considering it’s so close it is still.
“So, whether it’s 10th or fifth, I’m happy with either as long as we don’t end up in the bottom two spots. It’s very close so two games could make the difference between being relatively safe or being in the risky area.”
North Perth face third-placed Leeming Strikers next while UWA return home to take on Belmont Villa.
North Perth United 2 (Gabel 10min, Pender 27)
UWA-Nedlands 1 (Oluysanoye 50)
Sunday, August 5
Referee: David Bruce
Assistant referee: Robert Veroni
North Perth United: 26. Jamie Serra, 3. Richard Denalk, 2. Niall Murray, 13. Chris Wylie, 8. Ago Mujic, 9. Sean Lahert, 17. Paul Gabel, 19. Sam Nicol, 15. William Pender, 10. Emmon Kelly, 14. Patrick Montgomery, (11. James Steedman), (7. Edin Nelic), (12. Raido Reinsalu)
Substitutes not used: Liam Reid
Yellow cards: Wylie 52, Montgomery 55, Murray 62
Red cards: Nil
UWA-Nedlands: 1. D. Lissiman, 15. F. Chilos, 10. A. Khasanov, 16. L. Heath, 7. Y. Pollen, 3. Y. Pollen, 6. T. Oluysanoye, 9. A. Farah, 8. L. Pilgrim, 11. S. Sichel, 13. Y. Retallach, (19. S. White 65), (2. M. Bechen 72), (5. B. Chilos 79)
Substitutes not used: Nil
Yellow cards: Pollen 58, Oluysanoye 80
Red cards: Nil