2021 NPL NSW MENS ROUND 11
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v SUTHERLAND SHARKS
WOLVES WIN TWO ON THE TROT WITH JENNINGS TO THE FORE
The Wolves showed grit, resilience and determination to wrestle back the lead from behind on two occasions to ultimately win the match against a Sutherland Sharks side that help make the encounter a heart stopping and tense affair. It was the Wolves’ Leroy Jennings who has achieved his initial goal for the club with a tremendous free kick from thirty metres out who shone out. He went on to score two more in rapid succession to attain his hat trick, this against one of his former teams. Besides his great goals, he played impressively with his all round play. This win was the also the team’s second victory in a row, the first time this has been achieved this season. Sutherland for their part spurned a number of good opportunities that may have earned the team a completely different outcome and despite the result the team from the shire was not disgraced by any means.
Sutherland kicked off the proceedings with the Wolves running towards the northern end and before long the Wolves’ Brendan Griffin threaded a pass through the middle in order to set forth the strikers. The Sharks made a quick break with Simonoski looking to create some mischief only for Jennings to win the ball. Sutherland’s Harry Sutherland was at the Wolves’ far post lunging for a touch that did not emanate. Taylor McDonald won the race with Simonoski to gain possession in the early action.
The first corner kick of the match was whipped in and McDonald performed a defensive header with Wolves’ custodian Hayden Durose taking the following shot in an act of defiance. Right wing/back Daniel Loe provided a cross in for Lachlan Scott to head in on target but Sharks’ goalkeeper Anthony Bouzanis took the ball in his stride.
Sustained pressure by the Sharks kept the Wolves defence on their toes. Evan Ball enacted a headed clearance and Fletcher MacFarlane did well to spirit the ball away.
However, the Wolves defence capitulated on twenty-three minutes when a Chris Lindsay left footed shot flew into the goal after Peter Simonoski played a pass back to Lindsay’s position just inside the box to the left of centre. The Sharks could only rest easy for a small amount of time, as it was only a few minutes later, that a free kick was awarded to the Wolves about thirty metres out. Jennings lined it up, with his free kicked being superbly hit, with the ball zooming into the goal high inside the Shark’s left post for his first strike for the club. This was a well-timed equaliser in the scheme of things with Bouzanis grasping at air.
Jeremy Cox, one of the Sharks three sharp shooters looked to put his team in advantage once more put an enticing shot in from the right from an acute angle, only for it to go narrowly over the Wolves domain.
The lead was regained by the Sharks on the half hour, when Oliver Green put his cross to the far post for Simonoski to have the easiest of tap ins. Andrew had provided the pass to Green. The Sharks had hit the lead once more.
Space was later opened up later for Marcus Beattie by Griffin’s delightful pass only for the movement to peter out with nothing gained.
A gilt edged opportunity also opened up for James Andrew, the club’s top scorer with an eight goal tally, but from close vicinity, he missed the target. One chance missed that the team would rue. The Wolves’ left defender Evan Ball dispossessed Patrick Scibio with a well timed tackle, with the young wing/back making his fifth appearance in the first team and improving with each outing. He provided a number of good crosses and attacks with vigour.
Just prior to the break, Darcy Madden flashed his attacking header wide from a Nav Darjani corner kick. Darjani was well to the fore with his enterprising play, carrying on his good form from the previous weeks.
At the half time break, Sutherland deservedly led 2-1 as the team excelled with their long ball play and speedy breaks.
When play resumed Sutherland went into instant attack mode. This led to Andrew being put through on goal. With only Durose in his way, his shot cannoned off the goal frame and the follow up shot by Cox did not bring up the desired outcome.
McDonald headed away to safety an Oliver Green up field pass played down the sideline before Madden blocked an Andrew run into the box from the left.
At the opposite end, Loe played in an effective cross and later Griffin put a stopper on a Green run.
Each team kept persevering in the quest for dominance - Sutherland needed to sure up their advantage and get a two goal buffer with the Wolves needing to restore parity at least in order to gain a point or three.
Simonoski produced a header that flashed narrowly wide with Durose only standing in his way. Durose made a number of exquisite saves during the encounter to deny the Sharks attacking options with the opposition team at this stage fashioning many more open play chances than the Wolves.
However the Wolves struck back when the impressive Jennings brought up his brace with a bullet like shot after taking a touch to steady himself in the seventy-second minute to get his team back into the match. The ball went high into the right top corner of the goal after substitute Liam Wille slotted the ball to him on the edge of the penalty area. Barely a minute later, Jennings pushed the ball to Scott. He mesmerised the defence with his close skill and clever back heel allowed Jennings, inside the box this time, to hit his third and he took it with aplomb, kicking the ball between the right post and Bouzanis. The Wolves were back with a purple patch of action to hit the lead for the first time in the match, a lead that they wanted to keep.
Simonoski looked to hit back with a shot from distance, which was not too far away only to go narrowly over.
Sutherland threw everything they could muster in order to achieve a draw but the Wolves defence hung in resolutely to keep the opposition at bay to rejoice with the spoils. It was tense final ten minutes. In one of the last piece of action, Loe headed out under pressure to see off the danger.
The Wolves have conceded the first goal in a number of matches this season and this has been a worrying trend and also has kept a team to nil on only two occasions. However, the victory says a lot for Wollongong and has elevated the team to seventh position on the ladder, well in range of a final five position while Sutherland’s defeat has the team in eleventh position.
Wolves’ coach Luke Wilkshire - ‘It was a good three points. We played a lot better that’s for sure… We have that character. You’ve got to have the belief and drive to go out there and believe we can get the three points and we showed that in abundance….. It’s a great group of guys but we’ve got to be better dealing with those longer balls and set pieces. We knew they would play on the counter attack, that they would be direct and at set pieces they are dangerous and have good delivery. We did not deal with it well enough but we got away with it. We need to learn to deal with it better. (On Jennings) that’s his quality. It is hard to come to a new club with a different way of playing… He is top quality and his mentality is fantastic and he has a bright future. We will now kick on to the next game. ’
Hat trick achiever Leroy Jennings - ‘a great team win. We know we are a second half team but we try to work on coming and firing in the first half…. and not to concede, exactly. … It was tough at 2-1 but we believe we knew we could out run them and outplay them in the second half and I was lucky enough to score the goals’…on his first goal? ‘Those are the things you work on in training… sometimes you can get it quick (a first goal) and sometimes it takes awhile, though the second and third ones came pretty quick. Three points today after coming back from 2-1, I’m stoked and pretty happy.’
Imposing right-sided defender/wingback Daniel Loe - ‘yeah it has been a theme of this season, it seems it takes a goal for us to really wake up but luckily enough we got the three points on offer today and we will improve on that…. it was hard pressed win and they are a very well organised side but we had Leroy to score three. We have that quality up front to win us matches… it was the first time he scored and three to do and in style. The first one was a cracker ….. I appreciate it. It is good to get some game time. I did my time on the sideline but will kick on here as a collective, everyone has a role to play both on and off the pitch. That’s two on the trot for the first time. ‘
Left sided defender/wingback Evan Ball – ‘I try to do my best there (in his position) … First half wasn’t the best but we came back in the second half with all guns blaring.. Getting forward is the main thing… You’ve got to keep your head up… It was a jump from 20s to firsts’.
Sharks’ striker and goal scorer Peter Simonoski - ‘it was a shame as we started the game so well and went into the break at 2-1. We looked good as a team. We came into the second half and had our chances to put the game to bed. But that’s football.… If you don’t take your chances it comes back to bite you. We haven’t played that well all season. We had chances up until the sixtieth minute but we have had no luck all season and have been down. The positives are there (from today) and we need to move on to next week.’
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ……...……….3
Leroy Jennings 27’ 72’ 73’
Chris Lindsay 23’ Peter Simonoski 30’
@ ALBERT BUTLER MEMORIAL PARK, KEMBLAWARRA.
SUNDAY 9th May 2021
2.30 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Luke Wilkshire
23.Hayden Durose (GK) 2.Taylor McDonald 3.Darcy Madden 7.Marcus Beattie 8.Brendan Griffin 11.Leroy Jennings (Jake Lavalle 89’) 15.Daniel Loe 16.Fletcher McFarlane (6.Ethan Kambisios 46’) 10.Nav Darjani (Liam Wille 56’) 24.Lachlan Scott (Capt.) (3.Stefan Dimoski 85’) 19.Evan Ball
Substitutes not used: 1.RGK Aidan Munford 14.Brendan Low
Yellow Cards: Leroy Jennings 52’ Marcus Beattie 81’ Ethan Kambisios 87’
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Nick Dimoski
1.Anthony Bouzanis (GK) 4.Brendon Hooper 6.Patrick O’Shea, 7.Peter Simonoski 8.Oliver Green (10.Lachlan Everett 74’) 9.Jeremy Cox (99.Jonathan Grozdanovski 74’) 12.Harry Sutherland 17.James Andrew, 22.Patrick Scibio 14.Chris Lindsay 88.Christopher McStay
Substitutes not used: 16.RGK Gerrard Roebuck 3.Gabriel Contigiani 5.Nic Petrillo 13.Charlie Jones
Yellow Cards: Patrick Scibio 32’
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Christian Verdicchio
Assistant Referees: A. McConachie and Matthew Staples
Fourth Official: Liam Webb
By Malcolm Rowney