At WIN Stadium for this Round 2 fixture, the Wollongong Wolves pulled off a Houdini act to snare the first point in 2021 with Manly United with limited time available. This clash was the preceding match in a double header with the A-League confrontation between Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory. (which the Phoenix won 3-0)

The Wolves were somewhat below their usual competitive standard but not commitment as the home team went behind in the thirty-fourth minute. With Manly assuming much control and could be have buried the match on a couple of occasions. On one such occasion, several minutes past the half time recommencement Richard Cardozo struck the post when he was presented with a gilt-edged opportunity to score after latching onto a Ben Koop cross. However, the task could not be managed, allowing the Wolves time to restore parity, which they accomplished on eighty-nine minutes.  

For the first strike of the match, Manly had received a free kick outside the penalty area to the right of the centre and a few in from the sideline.  Cardozo was the player designated to take the kick. His left footed effort flew high and with a breeze blowing, the ball deceived all and sundry, lodging high into the goal at the left far post corner with the Wolves’ custodian Aidan Munford unable to prevent this cheeky effort from entering the goal.

 The Wolves achieved their breakthrough through Taylor McDonald, the right-sided defender and wingback. This was the team’s first goal of the season. Darcy Madden put in a high ball with McDonald being in the goal vicinity at the right place at the right time. He gained control, showed nerves of steel to then push the ball home beating the manly custodian Sam Benton from close vicinity.

The match commenced with the Wolves running towards the northern end and Manly kicking off. A few minutes in Manly indeed went close. Cardozo curled a free kick in that scraped the top junction of the post and bar of the goal frame. Manly attacked fairly freely early on and one cross from the left went to the far post with nary a Manly player in attendance. The new centre defensive Wolves’ pairing of Nikola Djordjevic and Darcy Madden coped under this pressure as the former won out in a tackle and the latter headed out under pressure.

 Mumford thwarted a Jack Fulton attempted strike and Manly at this time kept their momentum going with a free kick and couple of corner kicks. The Wolves former Blacktown City player, Leroy Jennings hooked one to safety, as he assisted in defence.   

Midfielder Brendan Griffin made a timely interception to deny a Manly attack before Manly’s Dejan Pandurevic produced a dangerous cross which was adequately snuffed out. Scott produced a low shot that the custodian had in his keeping.

The Wolves had begun to mount a few attacking forays of their own. Marcus Beattie made a good run up field, outpacing the defence as a consequence. His ensuing shot zoomed across the face of the goal and later Scott flicked the ball to Beattie but could not take advantage as the Manly defence swooped.

Just after the half hour, Griffin made inroads from the left with enterprise, but the final outcome was not to his satisfaction as his shot flashed past the far post. Harrison Taranto and Bilal Belkadi later combined with passes to get out of trouble.

A Seiya Kambayashi cross flew in from the left. Pandurevic was lurking in the centre but the ball was too high for him. Kambayashi impressed for Manly with his direct running and purposeful passes.

Scott set Ethan Kambisios with the goal in good sight. Kambisios struck the ball well but unfortunately sent the ball wide. A minute later, Kambisios played a good vision pass to Belkadi on his right to avert any risk.    

Kambayashi and Pandurevic combined but the Wolves defence got a touch to avert this threat.

The Wolves were chasing the game as the second half began. The team started earnestly and five minutes in, Scott tried to release Hamish Lamberton but the ball was cut out by Manly. Scott won the ball back with determination, leading by example and enthusiasm.

Manly looked to put the match to bed when Seiya Kambayashi put substitute Luca Kmet down the left but he could not catch up the speeding ball before it went over the goal line. The Wolves’ Leroy Jennings made an enterprising run, leaving a couple of defenders in his wake. He propped before unleashing his shot, which traversed narrowly wide.

Scott kept looking for chances to score and in the fifty-six minute, he let fly only for his effort to zoom straight to custodian.  He later became provider when he set up Hamish Lamberton. His subsequent effort failed to hit pay dirt with the custodian parrying the ball away to safety.

With ten minutes remaining in the contest, Manly were looking to increase their margin and were in control being one goal to the good when Sam Gallagher ventured forward and shaped to shoot. Unfortunately for him, Wolves’ substitute Van Elia shut him down comprehensively to keep the Wolves in the hunt.  

Djordjevic intercepted to keep Manly at bay and McDonald met a dangerous Kieren Paull cross

A corner kick was taken high by Mumford and Madden stretched to cut out an inward Scott Balderson pass.

Following the Wolves goal, four minutes of added time was played and a free kick within distance of the goal was Manly’s chance to pinch the three points. Fulton took the free kick and with an upward the ball flew over the goal. Likewise a Wolves corner was a last throw of the dice. Jennings took the kick and it followed an identical route.

The Wolves had attained a point and Manly probably should have come away with a victory. As circumstances decreed, it was a point for each team.


Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire- ‘it was not good and nowhere near our level. And nowhere near what we can play we will the point and move on. Our decision-making and our touch needs to be better.  we need to

Wolves’ midfielder Ethan Kambisios - ‘it showed a bit of character coming back it to get the draw but ultimately it was not a good performance and well below our standards and we will have to improve.…. It was hot for both teams and we were below par and have to get better as a whole group….  I have been here a long time on the fringe and it is to finally good get into the squad and improve as well.’   



Taylor McDonald 89’

MANLY UNITED…………………..1

Richard Cardozo 36’


SUNDAY 7th March 2021

1.00 p.m. Kick Off


Coach: Luke Wilkshire  

1.Aidan Munford 2.Taylor McDonald 3.Darcy Madden 4.Nicola Djordjevic 6.Ethan Kambisios (18.Hamish Lamberton 46’) 7.Marcus Beattie (17.Jake Lavalle 75’) 8.Brendan Griffin 11.Leroy Jennings 12.Harrtison Taranto (10.Van Elia 60’) 19.Bilal Belkadi 24.Lachlan Scott (Capt.)


Substitutes not used: 13.Stefan Dimoski 16.Fletcher McFarlane

Yellow Cards: Bilal Belkadi 79’

Red Cards: Nil


Coach: Adam Griffiths

19. Sam Benton 2. Kieren Paull 5. Sam Gallagher (Capt) 7. Jack Fulton 9. Ben Koop (8.Jimmy Oates 83’) 10. Richie Cardozo (11. Daniel Fabrizzio 60’) 14. Dejan Pandurevic (13. Scott Balderson 69’) 15. Jesse Piriz 16. Seiya Kambayashi 20. Alen Aganovic  24.  Finn Ashton (12. Luca Kmet 60’)

Substitutes not used: 1.Dylan Mitchell 18. Lucas Rainbird

Yellow Cards: Nil

Red Cards: Nil


Referee: Hassan Jomaa

Assistant Referees: Liam Webb, Maddy Allum


By Malcolm Rowney