Match Report: Western United 6-0 St Albans Saints

Ben Garuccio Western United

Western United continued its pre-season work with a 6-0 win over St Albans Saints on a wet night at Valley Park Events Centre on Tuesday.

Three goals in each half saw the Green and Black through as comfortable winners, with a number of first-team stars and Academy talents getting a chance to shine.

First Half

United immediately looked to get on the ball and dominate possession from the opening whistle, with some slick passing play getting the team on the front foot.

Sebastian Pasquali saw plenty of the ball in his return to first-team action after surgery almost 12 months ago, and Ben Collins was providing drive out of defence with some excellent carries and passes into midfield.

Nicolas Milanovic nearly found an early breakthrough when his downward header bounced up and over the goal via the crossbar, but the opener was just around the corner.

Ben Garuccio ghosted into a central area and received the ball on the turn before running at St Albans’ defence and feeding Dylan Wenzel-Halls, who bent a lovely finish into the bottom right corner.

United scored two in quick succession at the end of the half as Milanovic pounced on an errant pass from the opposition to rifle a shot into the roof of the net, before Dylan Pierias went on a mazey run and finished strongly from outside the area on his opposite foot.

Second Half

Ryan Scott was the only player to remain on in the second half as John Aloisi changed the entire outfield line up after the break.

That didn’t stop United’s hunt for goals, though, as Lachie Wales got in on the action with a precise bottom-corner finish after being played in down the right-hand side.

Western United Academy star Oliver Lavale was lively, always looking to find the ball and play it forwards in attacking areas and was rewarded with a goal just past the hour mark, tapping the ball into an open goal after some sublime set-up work from Josh Risdon.

Lavale nearly had a brilliant second goal moments later when the ball fell to him at the top of the box, but his curling effort cannoned off the crossbar.

St Albans had a couple of positive moments of their own and came close with a header from a corner, but United continued to maintain possession and defend well as the rain fell heavier towards the end of the game.

Noah Holmes and Zac Kocankovski combined well in midfield, and the latter threaded an excellent through ball to Noah Botic just before the final whistle, allowing the No.38 to round the goalkeeper and coolly slot into an empty net.

That brought a productive night to an end, with the extended squad adding 45 minutes into the legs and looking to continue preparations in the coming weeks.