2021 NPL NSW MENS ROUND 8
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v BLACKTOWN CITY
BLACKTOWN OUTGUN WOLVES
Having had victory midweek against Sydney Olympic, the Wolves were brought back to earth, in a 0-5 defeat with a controversial red card and an own goal in addition, in this Round 8 fixture at home. Simply, the Wolves were outgunned comprehensively by Blacktown City with their physical and direct style of play with this being the first Wolves game with this score line since 2014, which ironically was by the same club together with the same player, Travis Major, scoring a brace in each match.
As the game kicked off, spectators would probably not have envisioned of what was in store. The Wolves were running towards the northern end as Blacktown kicked off. The match began fifteen minutes after the advertised time due to an unfortunate injury to an Under 20s Blacktown player who was transferred to hospital by ambulance.
Blacktown’s Dakota Askew made headway before losing the ball in a tackle with the Wolves’ Liam Wille.
It was in the third minute when an Askew cross flew to the back post but at this juncture Blacktown could not capitalize. Striker Charles Mendy was involved in the lead-up. A minute later, Van Elia made good ground before being upended. He took the resultant free kick but alas his effort went too high.
A first corner kick of the proceedings saw Blacktown’s Jackson Bandiera swinging the ball with Lachlan Campbell getting his header in but not with the direction he intended.
No quarter was given in the tackling with many appeals raining in from both players and coaches and in the eighteenth minute the Wolves’ central defender Nikola Djordjevic cleared off the line being injured himself in the aftermath by colliding with the post. Daniel Loe got a foot in to thwart Bandiera and Hamish Lamberton placed the ball into the Blacktown danger zone only for custodian Tristan Prendergast to take comfortably. Prior, Loe headed out a long ball that was played in.
Blacktown went into the lead when Mendy converted his opportunity with precision when got in behind the defence. He became one on one with custodian Hayden Durose and was up to the task of pushing the ball into the goal, scraping the far post as it went in. This eventuated twenty-four minutes in. Four minutes later, the score was doubled when firstly, a Bandiera cross headed by Loe for a corner kick. The ball was whipped in from the left to the far post. Travis Major headed back across with Campbell being at the Durose’s right post to project his low diving header in from the closest of range.
The Wolves looked to attempt to strike back when midfielder Ethan Kambisios intercepted and strove to impose himself on the proceedings.
Both Major and Mario Shabow endeavoured to add to the score, with attempts that failed to bring up any further pay dirt.
Taylor McDonald played a long pass to Lachlan Scott in order to get something going. The striker met the ball but his header unfortunately traversed wide of the target. Scott tried with all his skill and led by example, impressing with his endeavours.
In the time added on as the first half drew to a close, the Wolves’ Marcus Beattie tackled Shabow just outside the penalty area. The referee summarily brandished a straight red card, which was hotly disputed by the Wollongong bench.
With ten men and two goals down at half time, the Wolves were not playing up to their best standard and things were not looking up.
For the advent of the second half, coach Luke Wilkshire brought on some much needed fresh legs in the hope of bringing something else to the table. It nearly brought dividends when Leroy Jennings produced a strong determined foray and was just about through only for Prendergast to intervene. Liam Wille had sent him on his way with a well-judged pass.
However, Blacktown scored their third goal to put the match in no doubt. A victory away from home was in the offing. At the back post Major headed in from close range after Durose had previously blocked a Jak O’Brien threat with the ball swirling to where Major was positioned. The former A-League and overseas club experienced striker doubled his tally with another headed goal in the seventy-second minute. Following a corner kick, Campbell’s header failed to bring up the desired outcome with Major at Durose’s right post to head home from a crouching position which Durose could not prevent.
Blacktown’s Suleyman Bangura was in position with only the custodian to beat. His shot lacked the necessary power to beat the dependable Durose and the custodian saved effortlessly.
An unfortunate own goal was turned in on seventy-six minutes and this was certainly not the Wolves’ day. Rhett De Silva had squeezed the ball to Carlos de Oliviera on the left. He then pushed an intended pass past McDonald to Suleyman Bandura. However, Madden was there and unluckily he turned the ball into his own net.
O’Brien looked bring up number six with a powerful shot from outside the box. Durose kept the threat out with a defiant save.
Late in the two minutes of additional time a De Oliveira cross was interceded by Madden.
This was certainly an aberration by the Wolves with hardly anything going the club’s way. It was not a good sight and form will need to turn around. In some way, the Wolves played somewhat better in the second half with ten men than they did in the first half with eleven.
Blacktown for their part were most convincing with their five goal haul and will give other teams a run for their money.
Coach Luke Wilkshire - ‘it was a tough day at the office. We know they were dangerous on the break and with set pieces and that has what has cost us. We were not good enough simple as that. There were a number of poor performances out there and anyone who knows football knows that that was not a send off….We have to be better.’
Industrious midfielder Leroy Jennings - (It not the most pleasant of circumstances to do a first interview?) - ‘definitely, as you want to win everything. We had toughed out results away from home over the last couple of weeks and obviously we knew this was going to be a tough game given the circumstances. When we two down to nil we backed ourselves to come back and when the send off came… it was a harsh decision on Marcus and made it much harder but we believed in ourselves at half time…. Obviously I knew that that they would be up for the game (Leroy’s former club). For me, we wanted to win this game and get in the top five….I know they played in midweek as well. Wednesday was a tough game for us, physically and mentally and we got at home at 12 o’clock… We did extra sessions to recover and we prepared well for this game…. When you win you can’t get too high and when you lose you can’t get too low.’
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ……...……….0
Charles Mendy 24’, Lachlan Campbell 28’, Travis Major 60’, 72’, Own goal 76’)
@ ALBERT BUTLER MEMORIAL PARK, KEMBLAWARRA.
2.30 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Luke Wilkshire
23.Hayden Durose (GK) 2.Taylor McDonald 4.Nikola Djordjevic (3.Darcy Madden 18’) 18.Hamish Lamberton 7.Marcus Beattie 10.Van Elia (11.Leroy Jennings 46’) 6.Ethan Kambisios 14.Brendan Low (13.Stefan Dimoski 46) 15.Daniel Loe (16.Fletcher McFarlane 72’) 20.Liam Wille (Nav Darjani 70’) 24.Lachlan Scott (Capt.).
Substitutes not used: 1.RGK Aidan Munford
Yellow Cards: Van Elia 45’ Taylor McDonald 45+1’ Leroy Jennings 88’
Red Cards: Marcus Beattie 45+3’
Coach: Adam Crittenden
1.Tristan Prendergast 3.Daniel Collins 4.Lachlan Campbell 5.Grant Lynch 6. Matthew Lewis Capt. 7.Travis Major (11.Rhett de Silva76’) 10.Mario Shabow (22.Carlos De Oliveira 79’) 17.Dakota Askew, 21.Charles Mendy (18.Suleyman Bangura 46’) 24.Jackson Bandiera (8.Jak O’Brien 46) 19.Adam Berry
Substitutes not used: 20.RGK Dylan Niski
Yellow Cards: Adam Berry 50’ Mario Shabow 67’
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Christian Verdicchio
Assistant Referees: Patrick Telecki and Liam Webb
Fourth Official: Matthew Staples
By Malcolm Rowney