2022 NPL NSW MENS 1 ROUND 20 

 

WOLLONGONG WOLVES v MARCONI STALLIONS 

WOLVES KEEP STALLIONS AT BAY 

 

With the Wollongong Wolves turning out in the Indigenous shirts designed by Trent Duffy to celebrate NAIDOC Week in a home match, the Wolves showed resilience in defence to hold league leaders Marconi Stallions to a scoreless draw. With Marconi having scored forty goals this season and sharpshooter Marko Jesic with fifteen goals, and despite two chances cannoning off the goal frame and having the majority of goal scoring opportunities, the team displayed unusual profligacy in front of goal. The Wolves defence held strong with Nick Littler, Nikola Djordjevic and Banri Kanaizumi cutting out many defensive manoeuvres and custodian Hayden Durose safeguarding his domain with aplomb.  

 

The Wolves ran towards the southern end with Marconi kicking off to begin the encounter and before too long Marconi fashioned an opportunity to score when Brandon Vella put Jesic through but his final kick let him down with his attempt flying high. The next foray saw Littler anticipating moving in before Vella to put his team into affirmative action. Before scant time later, Littler was again to the fore to block a Jesic strike. Marconi was imposing its influence on the game and around ten minutes in, Domenic Costanzo was through on goal but the Wolves recovered to thwart, with the same player thumping a shot into the cross bar   minute later to conclude this edition of Marconi marauding.  

 

For the Wolves, midfielder Brendan Griffin made good inroads down the left channel with a corner kick being the ultimate result. Joshua Macdonald plied the ball in. After Kanaizumi header in the Marconi box, Marcus Beattie produced an acrobatic shot that was saved point blank by Nenad Vejic. This was followed up by a Leroy Jennings effort being intercepted and another Beattie shot being blocked.   

 

Marconi were hell bent on opening the scoring to keep their Premiership aspirations on track when on nineteen minutes, when Costanzo, who was buzzing throughout the ninety, made a break into the penalty area only for his cross to fly across the face of goal with nary a touch. Two minutes later, a Marconi free kick from wide on the right saw Durose rising to take with confidence. Following, a Macdonald cross to the far post was headed out by Marconi’s Taylor McDonald.  

 

Three minutes short of the half hour, Chris Hatfield put his shot in on target. The ball bounced and unluckily hit Durose and he took it on the chin to save. Senna Stevenson cut out a pass meant for Costanzo, a player who is following in the footsteps of his father Angelo who played ninety times for Marconi in the NSL. McDonald saw his shot go wide and a further cross by him was headed away by Djordjevic. At the other end, Kanazumi tried with a speculator from distance but could not trouble Vekic.  

 

Marconi concluded the half with a corner kick after Vella had slipped the ball out to McDonald. He crossed from the right looking to tee up Nathan Millgate at the far post, but Littler had other ideas and conceded a corner kick with an interceding header. In the action that followed, a Speranza cross took a deflection and flew over Durose’s domain.    

 

At half time it was a stalemate with Marconi having the most of the offensive offerings but could not breach the fortitude of the Wolves.  

 

The second stanza began with Marconi attacking through Costanzo but no joy was to be had at this time. McDonald headed out with Griffin at the ready for a shot. McDonald in his attacking mode headed towards goal following a Costanzo delivery, only for attempt to traverse wide.  Giorgio Speranza made a run on the left with his subsequent cross causing consternation by shaving the cross bar and staying out. A McDonald cross to the far post intended for Nathan Millgate was made null and void by a Littler intervention. A few minutes later, Connor Evans slipped the ball to the right for McDonald and Vella headed his ensuing cross down for a support, as the Marconi team kept searching for the elusive game breaker.  

 

Two minutes after the hour had elapsed, the Wolves were not be denied. Littler took the matter in his own hands and made an adventurous run through the centre, leaving some players in his wake. With the goal in his sights, he let fly but alas, the ball flew over the bar. However, the enterprise was there. A minute later, Durose pulled off a great save to deny substitute Martin Fernandez. The Wolves were displaying resilience exemplified by Djordjevic blocking another Fernandez shot.  

In the seventy-second minute, Liam Youlley received an errant Wolves pass. He pushed it back for McDonald. He in turn, lifted the ball lifted the ball out to the left for Costanzo, who had progressed forward into the box before pulling the trigger with his left foot. Durose went low to save but did not grasp the ball. Costanzo took control again and lifted it to the right side post. Fernandez was there at the ready to take the bull by the horns, only for Griffin to beat him to it and head off the line, with Beattie moving further out of harm’s way. Fernandez looked to take advantage when he shot from distance. However, it was non-threatening to fly skywards.  

 

Second half substitute Kuot Maliet went down the right channel before sending the ball into Marconi’s area. Macdonald was waiting, however, McDonald intervened to head away to safety. 

 

On seventy-four minutes, it could have been curtains for the Wolves. Durose vacated his domain line to seemingly scuttle Fernandez. Appeals went up from the Marconi players with the referee looking as though he pointed to the spot with Wolves supporters having their hearts in their mouths. However, a goal kick emanated and the Wolves’ fears were allayed.  

 

A couple of minutes, later, Marconi looked to score. Costanzo produced a forceful shot that cannoned off the cross bar.  

 

Following a good lead up by Beattie and Macdonald, Jennings actioned a shot. A couple of corner kicks in the last few minutes allowed Marconi to keep exerting pressure and with five minutes to go, Durose finger tipped a Fernandez effort over in fabulous fashion.  A long McDonald throw into the box was effective, but did not bring up the desired outcome.  He had a further shot that flew over the bar. 

 

Guy Knight, a second half substitute effectively blocked Youlley as he was on the goal area outer line.  Takumu Tsujimura and Jennings aided in clearing away the danger.   

 

This result of a 0-0 draw was the fifth such result in the two club's history, with the first emanating in the 1989 NSL, the last season in winter.  The inability to score in this encounter could prove costly in the Stallions hunt for honours.  Conversely, the Wolves played well against the high flyers and this was their seventh draw of 2022.  The only drawback for the Wolves performance was their lack of guilt-edged scoring chances.       

 

Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire - very good (defensive display) ‘”The character and commitment of the boys was top drawer.  Obviously the season has gone from us.  Teams can throw in the towel ‘in this position’, but the desire was there and full credit to the boys for that… We have done it all season against teams at the top and when we are on, we can match it with the best in the league.” 

 

Wolves midfielder Brendan Griffin - “It was top graft but I’m proud of the boys for sticking strong, especially in the second half… We had our chances, but on another night, we would have got them.  We will keep working with a couple of games to go and we will play for pride… I’m part of the furniture here and it’s all good.” 

 

Marconi coach Peter Tsekenis - “I think we totally dominated but we could not pull it off.  We were worthy of the three points, but that’s football.  We created a lot of chances, but our final bit of quality did not come our way.  But credit to them, they scrapped and battle away and made it difficult for us and got away with it.  We will take the draw and move on.” 

 

Marconi defender Taylor McDonald - (after his team went close when hitting the goal frame) “It means nothing and you don’t get the points when you don’t take your chances.  It could cost us the premiership… Yes, a couple of times I went close.”  

 

 

MATCH STATISTICS 

 

 

WOLLONGONG WOLVES ………………….0 

 

 

MARCONI STALLIONS………………………0  

 

 

 

@ WIN Stadium, Wollongong. 

 

FRIDAY 15th July 2022 

 

7.30 p.m. Kick Off 

 

WOLLONGONG WOLVES 

 

Coach: Luke Wilkshire   

 

1.Hayden Durose (GK) 4.Nikola Djordjevic 5.Banri Kanaizumi 8.Brendan Griffin 71’) 15.Nick Littler  17.Marcus Beattie 19.Jake Lavalle (20.Kuot Maliet 69’) 22.Leroy Jennings 6.Senna Stevenson (10.Takumu Tsujimura 55’) 11.Joshua Macdonald (Guy Knight 24.Lachlan Scott (Capt.) 

 

Substitutes not used: 13.RGK Tomas Butkovic 12.Harrison Taranto 25.Nav Darjani 

 

Yellow Cards: Brendan Griffin 50’ 

 

Red Cards: nil 

 

MARCONI STALLIONS   

 

Coach - Peter Tsekenis 

 

1.Nenad Vekic 2.Nathan Millgate 3.Giorgio Speranza, 4.Roberto Speranza 6.Domenic Costanzo 7.Christopher Hatfield (17.Martin Fernandez 62’) 8.Connor Evans 10.Marko Jesic 16.Liam Youlley 22.Taylor McDonald 23.Brandon Vella. 

 

Substitutes Not Used: RGK 20. Dion Shaw 5.Justin Vidic 13.Samuel Gulisano 14.Jarrod McKinley19.Zach Cairncross,  

 

 

Yellow Cards: nil  

 

Red Card: nil 

 

 

Referee: Michael Weiner 

 

Assistant Referees: Ivica Covic and Aaron Bloch 

 

4th Official: Joel Crawford  

 

 

By Malcolm Rowney