2020 NPL NSW MENS 1 ROUND 1
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v MT DRUITT TOWN RANGERS
DETERMINED WOLVES TAKE POINTS
For the first match of the rebooted 2020 NPL NSW Mens 1 competition, the Wollongong Wolves have taken on Mt Druitt Town Rangers, with three previous meetings. This time it was a determined 1-0 Wolves’ victory, courtesy of substitute Takeru Okada’s goal in the second half. The score probably should have been higher had not the team’s profligacy in front of goal eventuated, especially in the first half. However, in this shortened NPL Mens 1 season, early points are vital and the Wolves duly brought home the bacon in a taut contest.
The visitors, Mt. Druitt Town Rangers began proceedings with the Wolves running towards the northern end of the ground. An early foray by the Rangers saw Luke Clifford make a run down the right side before gliding a pass to John Roberts. However, before he could take advantage Wolves’ defender, Darcy Madden, in the central defender’s role due to the injury to Nikola Djordjevic, effected a tackle, but was a penalised never-the-less. The yellow and green’s further attack saw the Wolves’ custodian, Hayden Durose punching out to defuse this offense. Not to be outdone, not long afterwards, the Wolves’ Liam Wille produced a shot that unfortunately flew over the goal.
Marcus Beattie did well to control and ride a tackle following a Madden pass.
Madden was strong on the ball and defended stoutly before he went off injured later in the match.
Round the fourteen-minute mark, the Rangers had two corner kicks in succession with a header from Roberts failing to bring up pay dirt with the second one of these.
The Wolves had much of the attacking run in the first half with Beattie and Bul Juach showing their speed and their wares. In the tenth minute, Juach steamed forward towards the goal only for Lord Darkoh to thwart his progress. Juach showed his distribution skills when he put captain James Stojcevski in to vision of the goal. His ensuing effort traversed narrowly over. A subsequent Beattie long raking pass went to Juach. He looked to pull the trigger, only for the Ranger’s custodian Carlos Saliadarre to intervene.
Striker Lachlan Scott, who was aiding and abetting Juach and Beattie, was playing determinedly, skilfully and at speed was showing the way in attack and he conjured up opportunities for himself and his teammates. One case in point, Scott, eluded a number of players before setting up Callahan shy of half an hour in. A few minutes earlier Liam Wille bulged the netting with a tremendous shot, only trouble is it was the side netting. A Nick Littler shot flew over before a Madden cross to Juach went further to Beattie. Saliadarre took his ensuing shot, gratefully.
Wolves’ midfielder Brendan Griffin was working resolutely as he harried and chased down opponents to assist his team.
Two later shots by Beattie looked to have changed the situation. His first effort zoomed towards the goal but the upshot was that though it looked a winner, unfortunately it was not to be. He produced a snapshot in the box close to half time. Some how or other, its was kept out. Try as they might, It was not falling for the Wolves in front of goal.
At the half time break, the stalemate continued with neither side being able to break the deadlock.
Wolves’ midfielder, Harry Callahan, who was tackled from pillar to post in this game, produced some good football with his effervescent running and close skill. Nine minutes after the resumption of play, the midfielder had two shots in succession with alas neither being converted. In a scramble, there was a bit of flashpoint with players milling around.
The Rangers were making a game of it and the Wolves could certainly not relax. Durose came off his goal to narrow the angle as Mt. Druitt threatened. He made a great save to deny and later, striker Roberts, who making his presence felt, tried one from distance that went to high for his liking.
The injection of Okada in the early second half helped change the impetus of the game. In the fifty-fifth minute, he crossed from the left into the box where Juach was lurking. The striker rose, with the outcome being a header that glanced narrowly wide.
A corner kick by Ante Vrkic failed to bring the desired outcome before the Wolves had one of their own. Stojcevski sent the ball over the far post from the left and Juach placed his response a little wide.
Following a Wolves’ free kick Okada changed the scoreboard when he converted his effort with a left footed shot off a deflection. However, as the ball went into the goal, the assistant’s flag went up to signify off side. Following a sideline conversation, the goal stood, much to the Wolves’ delight and to the chagrin of the Town Rangers.
Okada was not going to stand on his laurels as he produced another shot a few minutes later, but this time it missed the target. Just before this, substitute Michael Jeffrey whipped in a cross from the left, but no joy was to be had for the visitors.
Guy Knight, who kept the pot boiling with his incisive passing and ball winning momentum, especially down the left flank for Beattie, was back to dispossess a Town Ranger with approximately thirteen minutes to go. Early in the first half, he came out to tackle Clifford before he could cross. Prior, Mt Druitt substitute Nick Chymiak looked to square the ledger only for Durose to go down and thwart.
A late Wolves’ corner kick from the left saw Stojcevski’s effort travel towards the far post. Substitute Taylor McDonald met the ball and first time sent it forcibly on target. Saliadarre, however, was to the fore to prevent this opportune shot. As the clock petered out, Nick Littler, who was defending consummately and making up field forays when needed, headed out to keep the attackers at bay. Josh Bingham in his first game at the club for some years, showed with his touches and perseverance that he will be an asset this season. Chris Price was a late substitute and he a couple of timely interventions in his short stint.
This was a victory that was fully earned with the Wolves having the majority of the play, though with the taking of the opportunities, it may have more comfortable. To give, Mt Druitt their due, they kept at it and worked to create their chances and to frustrate the opposition. However, to the victors go the spoils.
Wolves’ coach Luke Wilkshire - ‘three points is three points and we made it harder than we had to… We definitely did not want to drop points today at home and with the number of chances created, it would have been catastrophic. We need to be more ruthless. We have quality and any one saw our finishing today would think we don’t practice this. We were doing things that we don’t normally do trying to belting the leather off the ball. We had enough chances to go and finish it off.’
Captain and intrepid playmaker James Stojcevski - ‘it was a real competitive game after not playing for four months and in eleven rounds you have to start well. It was a positive difference after playing in friendlies in earlier the weeks. It was good to get the first one out the way and to get a goal and win. Now we can go for the second’.
Wolves’ custodian Hayden Durose - ‘it’s all good, (being back) after a few years in the IPL and all the boys have welcomed me back with open arms. We made it hard for ourselves….we had the opportunities especially in the first half and we kept them in the game for a little bit there. It was a good to get a clean sheet.’
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ………………. 1
Takeru Okada 72’
MT. DRUITT TOWN RANGERS………….0
@ ALBERT BUTLER MEMORIAL PARK, KEMBLAWARRA
SUNDAY 2nd August 2020
2.30 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Luke Wilkshire
23.Hayden Durose 3.Darcy Madden (7.Christopher Price 88’) 14.Harry Callahan 15.Nick Littler 16.Guy Knight 17.James Stojcevski (Capt.) 8.Brendan Griffin (11.Takeru Okada 49’) 24.Lachlan Scott 10.Marcus Beattie (9.Josh Bingham 49’) 19.Bul Juach (12.Harrison Taranto 65’) 20.Liam Wille (2.Taylor McDonald 76’)
Substitutes not used: 1.Luke Kairies
Yellow Cards: Harry Callahan 42’
Red Cards: Nil
MT. DRUITT TOWN RANGERS
Coach: Frank Consentino
1.Carlos Saliadarre (GK) (Capt.) 2.Jake Mamone. 3.Travis Oughtred. 4.Solimon-Johnn Monahan-Vauka (5.Callum Roberts 84’) 7.Luke Clifford (33.Thomas Gittany 84’) 8.AnteVrlic 13.Lord Darkoh (77.Nick Chymiak 76’) 16.Josh Gould 17.Cooper Coskerie (10.Michael Jeffrey 55’) (10. 19.John Roberts 25.Brodie Clarkson
Substitutes not used: 20.Robert Fanella (GK)
Yellow Cards: Luke Clifford 72’ Travis Oughtred 89’
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Toby Plasto
Assistant Referees: Hadi Al-Nakeeb and Daniel Alter
By Malcolm Rowney