2020 NPL NSW MENS 1
SYDNEY OLYMPIC FC v WOLLONGONG WOLVES FC
WOLVES LEAVE IT LATE TO BECOME VICTORS
It was a last minute Bul Juach goal that saw the Wollongong Wolves, the 2019 Australian NPL Champions, opening the 2020 campaign with a well-earned 2-1 victory over Sydney Olympic at their home ground, Belmore Sportsground. Earlier, the Wolves had gone to a lead in the tenth minute when striker Lachlan Scott opened his account with a quickly taken effort. Sydney Olympic pulled one back through Jason Madonis but despite further chances the home club could not improve on their one goal. However, the Wolves despite being not at their peak at this early stage, took home the points.
At the kick off, on a hot day with a slight across field breeze, Wollongong Wolves ran away from the railway end with Sydney Olympic beginning the proceedings by pumping the ball forward, only for the Wolves right defender, Darcy Madden to intercede. James Stojcevski blocked Bai Antoniou’s effort before Adam Parkhouse, the former Wellington Phoenix A-League player, had a shot with an open goal as a target being blocked by Nick Littler in the fourth minute after Olympic’s Charles Lokolingoy had lured the Wolves custodian Justin Pasfield out of position. It was a close shave for the Wolves.
A flick by Thomas James, set new boy Marcus Beattie in motion but ultimately no damage was done.
It was ten minutes in however, when the Wolves received a free kick after Antoniou tackled James. Midfielder Takeru Okada flighted the ball into the box from the right side. Olympic custodian Anthony Bouzanis inadvertently spilled the ball with his attempted grasp as Littler went up for a header and his team Zac Mackenzie was beneath his feet. The ball ran loose and Scott seized this golden opportunity, being there at the right time to quickly propel the ball into the net for his team’s initial season strike.
The Wolves had much of the territorial advantage in the first half and saw the team at 1-0 at the half time interval.
After being off the pace a little in the last fifteen minutes of the first half, Olympic began after the break in a more positive fashion, though they had to, as they were behind on the scoreboard. The away team had lost their captain James Stojcevski in the break after he had played an integral part in the first forty-five.
Olympic got onto to even terms again four minute after the interval when Madonis struck with a torpedo like shot that zoomed from outside the box by a margin, beating Pasfield, who had previously kept his domain free. Spaniard Raul Beneit Romero had set him up for this successful throw at the stumps.
Olympic applied more pressure as their goal gave them more confidence. Lokolingoy was keeping the Wolves defensive central pairing of Littler and Djordjevic honest with his attacking forays. On fifty minutes, Parkhouse put the ball across the Wolves’ goal but Pasfield, with the sun in his eyes, managed adroitly to pluck the ball out of the air. Not long after, Ferreira produced a shot, which missed by the proverbial mile, not one of his best efforts, it can be said. The ball sailed over the goal, over the perimeter of the ground, right into suburbia. Pity the poor ball boy who had to find it.
However, as the match went on, the Wolves’ ball security at times, was letting the team down somewhat from the level of the previous year with some errant passing and maladroit first touches, though, given the conditions and that this was the first competition game, it was understandable.
Olympic went looking for a winner as they upped the ante. Parkhouse moved in close and Djordjevic got in tackle to ward him off. However, the danger man still got a shot in though Pasfield was there to thwart. Chris Price tackled a rampaging Ferreira in good example of a ball winning tackle, before he could pull the trigger.
The Wolves were still dangerous when they got to the other end and Juach got to the by line and cut the ball back. Nicola Kuleski was on hand to intervene and clear the risk before James or Scott could get to it. Scott produced a long shot, which went narrowly wide in the seventy-fourth minute. It was a good attempt before Price got the better of Parkhouse, when he was in attacking position in close vicinity to the Wolves’ domain. Three minutes earlier, a Brendan Griffin cross was headed towards the goal by Scott, but unfortunately went wide of the mark to deny him a brace. Harry Callahan came on for the Wolves to inject some vitality and he did so, while Guy Knight was passing incisively and winning the ball with verve.
Parkhouse received a short free kick from Romero before bending the ball towards the goal. Pasfield was in position to deny. A minute later, there were appeals for a Wolves handball in the penalty area but it fell on deaf ears. An instance when the Wolves gave the ball away, substitute Darcy Burgess seized upon this, before delivering the ball to Parkhouse. He then set sail for goal but in the end had nothing to show for his enterprise.
On eighty-one minutes the Wolves attacked with Juach attempting to dispossess Antoniou. He shielded the ball well to keep Juach at bay on this occasion.
The Wolves in the final minute of the game worked a Thomas James corner kick. The ball came in and traversed to the far post area. The back was dispatched back into the crowded area by a Madden header. Substitute Juach managed to get his foot on the ball and push it over the line for his first goal in the NPL NSW Mens 1 competition and the winner in the encounter.
The Wolves, the defending premiers, had opened their account and while the win is in the bag the team will definitely gel better as time evolves. Olympic will rue their lost opportunities.
Luke Wilkshire - ‘they was probably the two of worst goals that we have ever scored since I have been here. We found a way a way to win which is important away from home. But we were nowhere near the level that we can be at. From that perspective we are disappointed but obviously to win when you are not playing well is a good thing… The boys have been good leading up to it. And we looked the fitter side. In the first fifteen of the first half and in the first fifteen of the second, they came at us and defensibly we did a good job.... It is early days and it was hot out there. We will look at it (ball security) and be better next week.’
Lachlan Scott - ‘the game was very scrappy and we definitely did not play up to our best and we know that. . It shows the mentality of the team knowing that we can come here, not play well and still get over the line, coming away with the three points and that was great... It was good to celebrate the win afterwards in the change rooms. It was a good first half goal. I went up with the keeper and it fell to me. I was in the right place at the right. I love those types… They play good football and it is hard to come here and get the points.’
SYDNEY OLYMPIC F.C.……………………..1
Jason Madonis 49’
WOLLONGONG WOLVES …………………2
Lachlan Scott 10’, Bul Juach 90’
@ BELMORE SPORTS GROUND
SUNDAY 1st MARCH 2020
4.30 p.m. Kick Off
SYDNEY OLYMPIC F.C.
Coach: Terry Palapanis
1.Anthony Bouzanis 2.Thomas Whiteside 6.Nicola Kuleski 7.Will Angel 8.Jason Madonis (19.Darcy Burgess83’) 9.Bai Antoniou 10.Raul Beneit Romero 11.Adam Parkhouse 12.Zachary Mackenzie 17.Charles Lokolingoy (33.Nick Tsattalios 89’) 22.Fabio Ferreira (14.Peter Kekeris 77’)
Substitutes not used: 37.Theph Theph 20.Nicholas Sorrias
Yellow Cards: 6. Nicola Kuleski 16’ Jason Madonis 70’ Will Angel 70’
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Luke Wilkshire
1.Justin Pasfield (GK) 3.Darcy Madden 4.Nikola Djordjevic 7.Chris Price 9.Thomas James 10.Marcus Beattie (19.Bul Juach 61’) 11.Takeru Okada (14.Harry Callahan 76’) 15.Nicholas Littler 16.Guy Knight 17.James Stojcevski (Capt.) (8.Brendan Griffin 46’) 24.Lachlan Scott
Substitutes not used: 23. Hayden Durose 2.Taylor McDonald
Yellow Cards: James Stojcevski 34’ Lachlan Scott 60’
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Adrian Arndt
Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling, Caitlyn Loveday
Fourth Official: Dan Alter
By Malcolm Rowney