2020 NPL NSW MENS 1 ROUND 3
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v MARCONI STALLIONS
STALLIONS CORRAL WOLVES
The top of the table Wollongong Wolves took on the fifth placed, Marconi Stallions in this Round 3 Mens 1 clash and in a close and fiercely played confrontation, the team from Bossley Park toughed out the Wolves with a 1-0 victory. A second half goal was the difference between the two sides in a match played in blustery conditions with the wind mainly from the west but in a swirling fashion. The Wolves threw everything at the opposition as they searched for an equaliser. Despite a couple of gilt-edged opportunities, they instead drew blanks.
The match winning goal emanated in the seventy-first minute. The Wolves custodian Hayden Durose threw the ball out to Nick Littler. As Littler turned, he collided with Marko Jesic. The ball ran free and Marconi’s substitute striker Martin Fernandez took over. He displayed some intriguing footwork before moving the ball inward to the penalty area being chased down by Littler who tried to put him off his stride. Near the left post (Marconi’s view) as Durose came out, Fernandez slotted the ball to the right for Anthony Frangie. He duly converted his opportunity into a goal for his second strike of this particular season, tucking the ball into an open goal.
The Wolves ran towards the northern end as Marconi kicked off. As Roberto Speranza was on the wrong side of the half way, the kick off began for a second time. Marconi showed their attacking intent as Marko Jesic looked to run onto a pass only for the central defender as this stage, Taylor McDonald, to intervene perceptibly. It was not too long as Harry Callahan with his dogged and high-spirited display throughout the match, burst into the box from the left before passing to striker Lachlan Scott. Scott, a dangerous thorn to any opposition, unfortunately shot wide. Scott held the ball up before set up Takeru Okada six minutes in from the left side. His shot flew high before Marconi tried to plan for Mitch Mallia the former Blacktown City player, to strike, only Littler got in beforehand. It was end to end play on occasions with long balls being played in the conditions by both teams. Bul Juach, fresh from a brace in the previous match, worked the ball in with Okada and Scott having shots with Stallions custodian, Nenad Vekic, denying Scott with a finger tipped save.
In the twenty-fourth minute, Marconi very nearly went ahead. Mallia’s shot was fired in with Durose beaten. However, McDonald cleared off the line with the Wolves breathing a sigh of relief. Previously, a James Stojcevski free kick reached Callahan but he seemed to scuff his shot. The Wolves’ Harrison Taranto in his third outing in this level of competition and making huge strides blocked Mallia as he looked to cause problems. Midfielder Connor Evans was instrumental for his team as he kept the momentum going. The Marconi team was tackling hard with many of these such dubious ones escaping punishment but the number of yellow cards tells a story.
The Wolves right sided defender Liam Wille showed great anticipation to get in before an attacker to defuse the circumstance and a Stojcevski free kick went to the left of goal. A minute later, Vekic, going low, kept out Stojcevski’s second free kick narrowly. Afterwards there was a slight mix-up in the Wolves box, which could have been detrimental to the Wolves’ cause. In spite of this, the team recovered in time. The Wolves midfielder, Guy Knight was prodding down the left and ever persistent with his offensive play and working intelligently in tandem with those around him
At half time it was even Stevens with a nil score.
Marconi began the second half with Frangie trying to improve his team’s situation as his shot, a minute after the re-start, traversed wide as Durose flew in the air to make sure of its trajectory. Jesic, a few minutes later, set up Lachlan Stepping and his effort shot high above the target. Jesic again worked himself this time into a dangerous position and he was about to pull the trigger, Littler tackled simultaneously. The ball went towards the goal with Durose reacting quickly to smother the attempt on the ground. A later Marconi corner kick was sent in and Durose took the ball high to thwart.
The Wolves kept throwing down the gauntlet and second half substitute Marcus Beattie won the ball determinedly and not long later, he managed to skirt Vekic and have an unoccupied goal in his sights. However, he could not get a good angle to shoot.
A couple of minutes prior to the goal Littler does excellently to defuse some offensive manoeuvres. Following the goal, the Wolves needed a goal desperately and with a great turn on the ball, the striker shot on target zoomed in, but lifted just over. Scott, with his touch, skill on the dribble and his persistence made the defence work. Not long after, Beattie received the ball but could not get a clear sight on goal with defenders around. As the Wolves pushed higher up the park, Marconi made counter attacks and one such offense, Chris Price cleaned up with a header in touch as a safeguard in his role then of the last defender.
As the match progressed and the Wolves had little for their huge efforts, the ball was sent forward in order for the strikers to conjure up something.
Marconi defender Giorgio Speranza took matters into his own hands, as he broke down the middle in the last stages of the match trying to sure up the result. He fancied his chances as a resolute Littler was in tow, trying to put him off for quite a number of strides. Speranza ultimately managed a shot. However, it was not to beat Durose, with the custodian getting down well to deny.
Late in proceedings, Littler was up in the attacking line and when he received a Price pass, he shot but alas it did not bring pay dirt. Earlier a James Stojcevski lifted pass found Littler and he headed in on target but it failed to breach the Marconi domain never the less.
Marconi Stallions had turned in a physical performance to take home the spoils with the Wolves suffering a rare defeat as a consequence.
Wolves’ coach Luke Wilkshire - ‘I think we were not at our best. We got bullied… I know it is a young squad but you have to deal it, you’ve got to play the way we play and not be afraid of that and we were not good enough. I am just disappointed and we are better than that…. We make our own mistakes and have to pay the price for them.’
Wolves’ midfielder, Harrison Taranto impressive in his debut season stated –‘it was our own fault today and we dropped to their standards. We did not play our football. They came in hard and tried to intimidate us and at times they did. Hopefully we will bounce back next week.’
Wolves’ striker Bul Juach - ‘ its ok (his injury). It was one of those days.’
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ……………….0
Antony Frangie 71’
@ ALBERT BUTLER MEMORIAL PARK, KEMBLAWARRA
2.30 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Luke Wilkshire
23.Hayden Durose 14.Harry Callahan 15.Nick Littler 16.Guy Knight 17.James Stojcevski (Capt.) 11.Takeru Okada (9.Josh Bingham 61’) 24.Lachlan Scott 19.Bul Juach (10.Marcus Beattie 53’) 12.Harrison Taranto 20.Liam Wille (7.Christopher Price 46’) 2.Taylor McDonald
Substitutes not used: 1.Luke Kairies 8.Brendan Griffin 6.Ethan Kambisios
Yellow Cards: Taylor McDonald 25’ James Stojcevski 77’ Lachlan Scott 80’
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Peter Tsekenis
1.Nenad Vrkic 2.Nathan Millgate, 3.Giorgio Speranza, 4. Roberto Speranza 8. Connor Evans, 10.Marko Jesic, 11.Mitch Mallia (17.Martin Fernandez 65’ 14.Anthony Frangie (12.James Andrew 82’) 6.Mark Rodic 15.Lachlan Stepping 19.Zach Cairncross
Substitutes not used: 19.Dion Shaw RGK 9.Anthony Costa 18.Godfrey Lino
Yellow Cards: Nathan Millgate 21’ Mark Rodic 32’ Giorgio Speranza 69’ Connor Evans 86’ Lachlan Stepping 90’
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Cameron Wright
Assistant Referees: Casey Flemming, Manwell Limlios
By Malcolm Rowney