It’s been nearly four years since the they last met, but at the home of South West Phoenix, Mandurah City and Rockingham City renewed their rivalry in the first game of the Football West night series.
In front of a good crowd, the majority of which from the playing teams, Rockingham started the game and it wasn’t long before the referee started to produce the yellow cards. On just eight minutes, a clumsy challenge by new signing Van Dieken, was enough to warrant the first of many bookings of the evening.
Mandurah certainly had the majority of possession and a few minutes later, a John Baird free kick was headed over the bar by James Paylor. A couple of minutes later, a cross from the Mandurah right back found Dylan Rogers but his shot flew over the bar.
This seemed to settle Rockingham down and they finally started to retain some possession and the game went into a period of a midfield battle. Tackles were going in and the referee let quite a few of them go. This was until the 24th minute, when Kennedy from Rockingham had the ball on the half way line, tried to play a pass only for Collins from Mandurah to be a little late on his challenge. This then resulted in many players from both teams getting together to exchange views and once all had settled down, the referee and his assistant got together to have a chat. The result of this was yellow cards for Collins and Hodgkiss and a red for Paylor. Surprisingly, no Rockingham player was booked in this event.
Despite being down to 10 men, Mandurah still had the best chances of the half. O’Brien played a great pass through to Van Dieken, who dragged his shot wide while O’Brien then found himself with a chance but his shot went high over the bar.
The half then played out and with nearly 7 minutes of stoppage time of the played, Kinane from Rockingham picked up a yellow card, before the referee ended the half.
Mandurah restarted the game and the midfield battle commenced again. Early yellow cards for a couple of Rockingham players were given and it was clear to see that Rockingham were going to try and make their extra man advantage pay off.
It took until the 65th minute before anything noteworthy happened. Rockingham forward, Mukwevho found himself in the penalty area and as a challenge went in, claims for a penalty which the referee ignored.
A few minutes later, Kennedy had the ball in midfield and surprised everyone with a shot from 25 yards that went over the bar.
Then, on 73 minutes, a goal mouth scramble in the Mandurah penalty area resulted in a shot that was blocked by a Mandurah defender. Claims for handball but again, the referee waved them away. From my viewpoint, it did look like the ball had hit the arm of the defender and have seem those decisions given in the past.
With the game going on, both teams made various substitutions. With 5 minutes remaining, another goal mouth scramble resulted in Ben Greaves from Rockingham shooting wide.
Despite the game heading to a close, there were still chances for both teams. Firstly, Brincat in the Mandurah goal was trying to see the ball out of play when he was dispossessed by Greaves, who’s shot from an extremely tight angle went just wide of the post. From the resulting goal kick, the ball found its way to the Rockingham area, where the Mandurah player hit a powerful shot, which was brilliantly saved by Hershall in the Rockingham goal. A few moments later, the referee blew his whistle to end a competitive game.