2022 NPL NSW MENS 1 ROUND 16
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v APIA
LATE KANAIZUMI EQUALISER EARNS A POINT FOR WOLVES
With two previous games in the week resulting in a draw, and a disappointing Australia Cup penalty kick defeat after a 1-1 draw after extra time, the Wolves pulled off a very late equaliser to share the points with APIA Leichardt in this Round 16 fixture at Butler Park. The team from Lambert Park had twice hit the lead with the Wolves eventually clawing back to even Stevens on both occasions. A Wolves red card did not assist matters in the second half but the team did not give up the gauntlet,
The Wolves in the first half ran in a southerly direction and kicked off proceedings. A free kick early on from the right side saw Sean Symons plough the ball in. However, the Wolves custodian Hayden Durose rose to take with relative ease. After four minutes, Nav Darjani worked his way in from the left. He produced a shot, which was blocked. At the other end Jason Romero, the American player with a ten goal tally in 2022, looked to score his eleventh only for his effort to be blocked by Darcy Madden. Eight minutes in, Romero was put through but he just managed to keep the ball in at the goal line. He pulled it back but none of teammates were in the vicinity and Nick Littler headed away to safety.
APIA scored first two minutes short of the half hour. A free kick was awarded due to a Takumu Tsujimura infringement in his own APIA ‘s territory. The ball went out the right then moved out to a wide player, Yianni Nicolaou. He passed to a support who made up some ground. The ball was returned and Nicolaou surged into the penalty area before pounding the ball past Hayden Durose where it entered the goal at the far post.
The Wolves had a good opportunity fall in place in the thirty-third minute. Lachlan Scott gained possession of a bouncing ball before passing to his left for Nav Darjani. He crossed only to be cut off by an APIA defender’s header and another pushed it forward. Darjani shielded the ball well before Senna Stevenson played it forward to Scott. He held off a defender and worked to his right before unleashing a low drive that deviated with a slight deflection off a defender that was ultimately narrowly wide, with the APIA custodian scrambling to his left.
Sean Simmons made an attacking foray down the left touchline after Adrian Ucchino had lifted the ball to him with Darjani keeping the pressure on persistently. Simmons moved to the goal line before cutting a cross in. Romero, in the centre produced a header but alas, did not bring up the desired outcome.
However, the Wolves restored parity in the thirty-eighth minute. Firstly a Banri Kanaizumi long ball was sent up field for Leroy Jennings. He went over in the box under a tackle but the referee deemed it fair. A Kanaizumi throw in went to Joshua Macdonald but referee ordered it to be retaken. This time the ball went to Scott. He flipped the ball up then turned into the penalty area. As he moved across, central defender Muata-Marlow subsequently cut him down. A penalty kick was awarded. Scott directed his spot kick with an assured strike with the ball entering the goal at mid height with Necevski diving to his right.
APIA endeavoured to retake the lead in the last stages of the half with Nicolaou being denied achieving a brace by Durose’s fingertips. Diego Celis met a corner kick to place his effort narrowly over the top of the crossbar, with Romero misdirecting a shot with it traversing past the post.
At half time it was still one goal apiece. APIA had produced the majority of goal scoring opportunities but still the game hung in the balance.
The second half began when APIA looked to go on with it with Nicolaou sending in a cross, which Littler headed out without any pressure applied. Jennings and Celis battled for the ball on the left sideline before it went back to a defender in a blue shirt.
Michael Kouta sent a long ball forward and Romero took control wide on the left. He progressed into the box with Littler in anticipation before he sneaked in a shot in which Durose took low at the right post (his view point) but could not grasp. Littler saved by conceding a corner kick. Romero put a cross to the far where Simmons was but his effort from close range placed the ball high as Kanaizumi challenged at an identical time.
Durose took a Simmons free kick in the fifty-fifth minute. A little later, Nikola Djordjevic took the ball from Celis to break up an attacking foray. Duarte made a gallant run eluding a few players with his pass to Jennings had the recipient ruled off side.
The Wolves were upping the tempo somewhat and playing more adventurously with a Macdonald effort being thwarted by Necevski though APIA were still dangerous and resilient.
APIA went ahead for the second time on seventy minutes. A deep corner kick traversed to the far post where Muata-Marlow was lurking. He met the ball with a header that bounced down and into the goal. Muata-Marlow had outjumped the defence and vindicated himself after his earlier indiscretion.
Celis headed wide from a good position as APIA tried to surge further ahead and sure up victory.
The Wolves suffered somewhat when Djordjevic tackled substitute Nathaniel Blair on eighty-three minutes. It was deemed to be dangerous and a yellow card was displayed. As this was Djordjevic second booking, he was marched and his team were now a man down for the duration of what was left on the clock.
Despite the send off, the Wolves added another late effort like what transpired versus Sydney Olympic in Round 15. Leroy Jennings whipped in a corner kick from the right side. As Nicholas Duarte and Walter Scott vied for the ball, it went for another corner kick. This time, it seemed to elude all and sundry except for Kanaizumi at the far post gaining control of the ball. He chested it down, switched the ball from his right foot to his left, before thumping the ball high into the goal and bulging the inside roof of the net. Against all odds, the Wolves had saved the match.
This was the Wolves sixth draw of the 2022 campaign and sees the team occupying ninth position with APIA on the top of the competition. The Wolves team did not have many shots on target and play broke down many times in the front third but it was a strong defensive effort never the less to keep a highflying team to two goals.
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ………………2
Lachlan Scott 38’ pen Banri Kanaizumi 90+4’
Yianni Nicolaou 28’ Themba Muata-Marlow 70’
@ Albert Butler Memorial Park, Kemblawarra.
SUNDAY 19th June 2022
2.30 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Luke Wilkshire
1.Hayden Durose (GK) 3.Darcy Madden 4.Nikola Djordjevic 5.Banri Kanaizumi 10.Takumu Tsujimura (16.Guy Knight 60’) 15.Nick Littler 25.Nav Darjani (Nicholas Duarte 46’) 24.Lachlan Scott (Capt.) 22.Leroy Jennings. Senna Stevenson 11.Joshua Macdonald (19.Jake Lavalle 75’)
Substitutes not used: 13 RGK Tomas Butkovic 2.Daniel Goni 12.Harrison Taranto
Yellow Cards: Nikola Djordjevic 67’ 83’
Red Cards: Nikola Djordjevic 83’
Coach - Danial Cummins
1.Ivan Necevski 5.Nick Azzone 8.Diego Celis (20.Nathaniel Blair 81’) 9.Jason Romero 14.Jack Armson 15.Thema Muata-Marlow 16.Sean Symons (7.Matthew Cahill 88’) 18.Adrian Ucchino 21.Michael Kouta 23.Walter Scott 38.Yianni Nicolaou
Substitutes Not Used: 22. RGK Luke Turnbull 3. Paul Galimi 4. Josh Symons, 6. Simon Nicholas, 10. Franco Parisi
Yellow Cards: Sean Symons 84’
Red Card: nil
Referee: Craig Fisher
Assistant Referees: Bradley Wright and Brodie Merchant
4th Official: Jake Rose
By Malcolm Rowney