2021 NPL NSW MENS ROUND 5
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v NORTHBRIDGE BULLS
BULLS TAME WOLVES
In a match that had a number of goalmouth scrambles, and two shouts for penalty kicks, the Wollongong Wolves succumbed to Northbridge Bulls in this Round 5 clash. In the four minutes of time added on, the Bulls broke the deadlock to earn the three points. It looked likely that 0-0 draw was in the offing until an indiscretion by a Wolves defender just the outside the box, saw the resultant free kick leading to the goal conversion.
The Wolves as a team were not at their best throughout the proceedings though some individuals stood out with their endeavours. Goalkeeper Hayden Durose indeed was the fore saving a penalty kick. A lack of fluency, some errant passing and lack of concentration did not assist the cause and intensity was not as usual. Northbridge, having played five days earlier, arguably finished the stronger. This was the second double header featuring the home teams Wollongong Wolves and the Wellington Phoenix, with the both teams succumbing to the Northbridge Bulls and the Macarthur Bulls by the same margin.
The match began with the Wolves towards the southern grandstand with Northbridge kicking off. Lachlan Scott stuck his leg to put the Bulls off their stride from the kick off before Nikola Djordjevic interceded as the Bulls mounted an early attacking affray by heading out. At the other end in scant time, Bull’s custodian Ryan Wood blocked Scott’s attempt. Marcus Beattie put in cross for Hamish Lamberton but despite jumping high could not get his head to the ball. A Walter Scott cross from the left looked to make inroads only for Taylor McDonald to cut it out.
Moudi Najjar charged down a Darcy Madden lifted ball moved beyond, before sending in a teasing cross. Durose rose to grasp and to thwart the challenge. A Beattie cross was projected in and Leroy Jennings steamed forward. However, despite his best intentions could not make it count.
Fifteen minutes in there was a mad scramble in the Wolves’ goal area as legs flailed in order to get a touch, to keep it out by the Wolves or to push it in by the Bulls. The Wolves luckily survived. Sean Eve’s long throw into the box caused consternation for the Wolves a couple of times during the proceedings but the initial time Madden headed it away to safety.
Each team looked to get ahead but clinical finishing was a lot to be desired.
Round the half hour Scott headed out a Bulls corner kick, as the effort did not clear the first defender. At the opposite end, Yianni Nicolai headed wide from the centre. Former Wolves player and Bulls striker, Bul Juach received possession in space and set sail for the goal. The nearly coughed up the lead but for another goalmouth scramble kept the opposition at bay. As a consequence of this, Wolves defender Bilal Belkadi, unfortunately sustained an injury and played no further part in the match.
A penalty shout by the Wolves after Jennings went down under duress saw the referee ignore the pleas and wave play on.
On forty-five minutes, the Wolves scrambled in the goalmouth once again and Juach was inconvenienced by Wolves’ substitute Liam Wille. A penalty shout this time emanated for the visitors but on this occasion, the referee pointed to the spot, much to the Wolves’ chagrin. Rory Jordan, the top scorer with three goals to his tally in 2021, fancied his chances to add one more. However, Durose rose to the occasion diving to his right to palm the ball away and save the Wolves’ bacon. Action did not stop there as the minutes ticked on. Jordan produced a targeted shot from the penalty area line that took a deflection. Theph Theph, the tall Bull’s defender who had a starring role in this match, received the ball. His quick reaction shot drew out a top Durose save.
Despite some close shaves, at half time it was nil apiece.
The first shot of the second half was courtesy of Harrison Taranto when, following Jennings free kick, the industrious midfielder shot wide, much to his disappointment. Before and after, Djordjevic was involved, shielding the ball well to see off a dangerous move and intercepting a cross intended to cause mischief. Beattie charged into the penalty area from the left side, but the Bull’s Nikola Udjur rose to the defensive task to subdue.
Near the hour mark, a Beattie shot was kept out by Wood, Theph headed out a McDonald cross and Lamberton worked himself into a positive position to shoot, only for Theph to intercede once more, by heading out.
Not long later, Wille produced a good attacking run to get in behind the line and move within close range. Wood, alas, took his ensuing effort.
In the seventy-fifth minute, Beattie had a good opportunity to change the scoreboard. He curled the ball as it traversed towards the goal. But the curl took the ball outside the far post. In the following minutes both Stephan de Robillard’s and Charles Williams’ efforts were skyward and saved by Durose.
Wolves substitute Ethan Kambisios produced a long switch play that was effective and then dispossessed a Bulls player to then mount an attack with the culmination of Van Elia shooting high.
The Wolves were having the better of Northbridge from the halfway point of the second half but could not pull the trigger. They were beginning to hit their straps. An enterprising Scott marauding run looked promising only to be thwarted by Theph.
With four minutes additional time being signalled by the Fourth Official, there was no time to relax. However, a free kick was given to the Bull’s just outside the box on the right side of goal. Scott conveyed the ball in the danger area and Najjar rose to head home and break the Wolves’ hearts.
A few extra minutes were played and then the game was over. The Bulls had won their first match of the season and will give the team confidence for what lies ahead.
The Wolves are now occupying eleventh position on the ladder and have a quick turnaround with Marconi within their sights in order to get back to the winning groove.
Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire - ‘I think in the end we got what we deserved. The first half was not good enough but we were better in the second half but still not good enough. Our worst performances are at WIN Stadium…. It looked like a penalty from my angle but I have to take a look at it. You can’t change it and you have to deal with it… We were not aggressive and positive, as we needed to be. They were hungrier and aggressive. They had young players with more energy. Our second half was a lot better. We have to move on and we play Marconi on Friday.’
Defender/Wingback Taylor McDonald - ‘it was a frustrating ninety minutes that’s for sure and it was a disappointing result….. It definitely was a lack of concentration and unfortunately we were punished it for it. We were not good enough on the day….. One day you might get a penalty, another day you won’t, that’s the way it is.’
Captain Lachlan Scott -‘it was very disappointing. There were a lot of areas where we did not really live up to our standards…. For most of the game we switched off and come with the right attitude and they deserved to win the game to be honest… Our defence was good, no doubt about that, especially on the line scrambling and stuff like that. We did have chances but we were not clinical enough. We need to be better, plain and simple…. Yes, a quick turnaround with the game on Friday. We will go for the three points ’
Goalkeeper Hayden Durose - ‘at the end of the day, I have a job to do. It was good to be able to help the lads out. Yes, there were a couple of the scrambles off the line. We showed desperation in trying to keep a clean sheet. We play pretty well as a unit in defence……. I just had a feeling really that he would go that way. I stuck to it and it paid off… We fell short towards the end. We had them on the back foot towards the end there and had some chances. We lost a bit of concentration and fatigue and left that man unmarked and unfortunately with that last cross it went in.’
Bull’s coach Mile Sterjovski - ‘I felt the boys stuck to the game plan really well and continued to play the football that we like to play. We left it late but we fully deserved the win. The Wolves are a great team and we managed to keep them scoreless which was our main aim…. It is something that we are learning each game. At this level you can’t switch off. In previous games we have switched off in the last couple of minutes and we conceded late which cost us a win and to be to hang and get the three points is a big bonus going in the next few rounds .….. I think it was back when I was sixteen. It was a good career. I have fond memories playing for the Wolves. It is good to come back here and see the Wolves are doing well.’
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ……...……….0
Moudi Najjar 90+2
@ WIN STADIUM, WOLLONGONG
SUNDAY 28th March 2021
1.00 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Luke Wilkshire
23.Hayden Durose (GK) 2.Taylor McDonald 3.Darcy Madden 4.Nicola Djordjevic 18.Hamish Lamberton 7.Marcus Beattie 16.Fletcher McFarlane (10.Van Elia 67’) 11.Leroy Jennings (17.Jake Lavalle 60’) 12.Harrison Taranto (6.Ethan Kambisios 67’) 19.Bilal Belkadi (20.Liam Wille 35’) 24.Lachlan Scott (Capt.).
Substitutes not used: 1.Aidan Munford 13.Stephan Dimoski
Yellow Cards: Liam Wille Darcy Madden 88’
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Mile Sterjovski
1. Ryan Wood (GK) 3.Theph Theph 4.Nikola Ujdur 8.Sean Eve (19.Charles Williams 75’) 9.Bul Juach (6.Lachlan Sepping 73’) 10.Rory Jordan, 11.Stephan de Robillard (18.Diego Bonilla 78’) 13.Walter Scott 15. Edward Caspers 17.Yianni Nicolaou 18. 24.Moudi Najjar.
Substitutes Not Used: 14.Giovanni Pannuccio 16.Jake Jovanovski 40.Griffin Barry (GK)
Yellow Cards: Walter Scott 87’ Moudi Najjar 90+2
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Craig Fisher
Assistant Referees: Janush Adabjou and Liam Webb
Fourth Official: Logan Jones
By Malcolm Rowney