2020 REBOOTED NPL NSW MENS 1 ROUND 8
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v SYDNEY OLYMPIC
WOLVES DEFEAT TABLE TOPPERS, OLYMPIC
The Wolves have defeated Sydney Olympic 1-0 in their fourth home victory of the rebooted campaign with the only goal of the match scored by the energetic, skilful and tricky Takeru Okada in the first half of this Round 8 clash. The win could have been a little more comfortable, had the penalty kick that occurred, been converted. However, in the end, it did not change who the deserved victors were.
On the proceedings as a whole, the Wolves were the fairly dominant team with a sterling defensive performance from the back four consisting of Darcy Madden, Taylor McDonald, Nikola Djordjevic and Chris Price together with the safe hands of Hayden Durose in keeping Sydney Olympic scoreless, especially as the visitors stepped it up in the second half. Captain Guy Knight, who lead by example and Harrison Taranto both kept everything ticking over in the midfield battle. The attacking players of Okada, Thomas James, Josh Bingham and Marcus Beattie kept probing for openings and scoring opportunities with steely determination and did their share of the defensive duties.
Olympic had few scoring chances with many from distance and only a handful truly threatened. Two players who had scored braces in their previous match Adam Parkhouse and Charles Lokoli Ngoy could not duplicate the effort again in the this match-up despite their best efforts.
This meeting was the second one between the two sides in 2020 after meeting in the original Round 1 in 2020 at Belmore Sportsground. The results (not the score) were a case of lightning striking twice.
This match began with the sixth placed Wolves up against the first placed Olympic with the visitors kicking off and running in a northerly direction. With Olympic taking it to the Wolves early on, McDonald headed away before Olympic’s tall defender Theph Theph just got a touch in the nick of time as Beattie looked to take advantage. Olympic’s Christopher Gligor poked the ball from James’ feet and a Madden attacking cross was handled with care by Olympics’ defence.
It was in the fourth minute that the first corner kick of the match eventuated. Okada sent the ball in. McDonald headed it and Bingham valiantly tried to get to it but all in vain. Two minutes Theph’s defensive header flew over his own goal and from the ensuing corner kick the ball was headed away after some scrappy play. The ball emerged at Knight’s feet and he produced a shot, but no joy was to come. At the opposite end an Olympic corner kick saw Parkhouse shooting with an interception by Djordjevic’s header scuttling the promise of a goal. McDonald cleared with a header before a Wolves’ attack saw Okada’s free kick travelling wide of the far post across the face of goal without a touch.
In the nineteenth minute, Okada broke the deadlock. In the lead up, a long Madden throw down the right sideline went to where James was positioned. He and Van Meurs vied for the ball with the Olympic player conceding another throw in. Beattie took it quickly, throwing the ball up for Bingham. He went forward with Thomas Whiteside in tow. He held the Olympic defender off before deftly slipping the ball to Beattie. After taking a few strides into the penalty area, he pushed the ball to his left for Okada. On receipt of the ball, Okada’s change of movement saw Madonis wrong footed, allowing Okada to prop before belting the ball with his right foot to swerve high into the left side of the goal bulging the inside side netting. It was a tremendous strike.
The Wolves had an opportunity to double their tally when Beattie found himself in space to shoot. Unfortunately his effort went wide much to his vexation.
Olympics’ midfielders Christopher Gligor, Peter Kekeris and Jason Madonis all worked to get their side moving and were battling away. Van Meurs was put through near the half hour but the custodian Durose took his shot low. One of Olympic’s most threatening shots was by Lokoli Ngoy which traversed narrowly wide.
Two minutes prior, Madden moved in before Lokoli Ngoy and at the other end Beattie and Okada put ball into the box with a handball decision going against Tom Whiteside. The referee subsequently pointed to the spot. James, being the designated penalty taker, duly took the spot kick. Being a reliable converter in past endeavours in this regard, it was a surprise to see the ball going wide of the left post (from the kicker’s vision) leaving to a disappointed striker.
In the thirty-seventh minute, Okada put the ball into the goal area from the left. The ball took a deflection before the Olympic custodian Sorras grasped. Madden was taken down narrowly outside the penalty area. Okada’s free kick went to the fast post and McDonald headed it back but the desired outcome was not delivered. Two minutes later James fired in from the right. Bingham chested the ball down, but before he could get a shot off, the ball ran away.
James slid in and just failed to get a touch as Bingham put ball across. Not to be denied, Parkhouse’s left footed effort from left was little speculative and it went a good deal wide.
At the half way mark, the home team lead by one with nil in reply.
Olympic looked to begin the second stanza with renewed energy with Kekeris powering a shot in, which Durose palmed out defiantly. As the Wolves broke quickly, this culminated with a Bingham shot. During the match the former A-League striker won many aerial battles to get the ball on to supports and was the target man with long clearances from Durose and out of defence. He accomplished this aspect of his role with precision. Madden whipped in a cross and James got his foot to ball but alas could not muster any power to make it count.
A Lokoli Ngoy effort failed to elicit an equaliser and substitute Go Hayama and Darcy Burgess placed their shots over the crossbar as Olympic flexed their attacking prowess in order to restore parity. This was in the space of a number of minutes. Substitute Hayama was brought in after the break to liven up Olympic and he achieved this somewhat.
As an aside in the sixty-eighth minute, a huge black crow like bird was nonchalantly winging itself over the centre of the ground in its northerly flight path. A high ball was launched into its trajectory. It caught the bird unawares causing it to make a dramatic ninety degree right turn with a quick flapping of its wings as it soared over the grandstand and to then return to its original travel plan.
Back to the game, Durose saved twice with aplomb from Lokoli Ngoy in the seventy-sixth and eighty-first minutes. The custodian took the first effort high and grasped the second. In between Djordjevic covered well as Oliver Pufflet was on his case. In addition, Burgess attempted to thread the ball through but Durose was alert and equal to the task.
Further shots by Okada and Yahama failed to bring elation and Price headed away to defuse an Olympic offensive late.
The Wolves had beaten the league leaders and look forward to the next obstacle Western Sydney Wanderers while Sydney Olympic will want some injured players to resume.
With the other results in Round 8 being taken into consideration, the Wolves climb one place as a result of the victory to fourth behind the third placed team on goal difference alone and three points off the first placed outfit. Sydney Olympic drops one place to second, but only a point behind the leaders. The Premiership is certainly up for grabs.
Coach Luke Wilkshire - ‘I have said it before. I still haven’t seen a team that is better than us, but the ladder doesn’t lie though. The boys put in a good performance. It is a team effort and we talk about a squad and with the injuries that we are carrying, it was a great performance…. We had to work. That happens. We expected that. We held strong… If TJ had put the penalty away it would have a different game as well. Defensively we were sound and the attitude and response from the players was just what we wanted, Very happy with it ….. Cutting out those lapses. Those little things can change games. You saw that last week. …We will enjoy this win and get back to work for next week… It was great performance.’
Captain Guy Knight - ‘it was real solid performance. As every one knows, we have a lot of injuries. And the boys that have stepped in are doing a really good job… We were solid all over the park, and as much as they put us on in the second half, they did not have many chances. Captaincy is good, stepping in for James who is out injured.
Defender Darcy Madden - ‘it was great win. They were top for a reason… It could have more. We know what we are about and we will look at that. We should have had come away with more goals but we got a clean sheet against the top team. I’m very happy with the result. This was my first game back since doing my hammy in my first game. (Round 1 of the rebooted season)… Good to come back and get some minutes. Played twenty minutes in the Under 20s last week. It was a real test today… And thanks to Matty Whalan.’
Good to get back
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ……………….1
Takeru Okada 19’
@ ALBERT BUTLER MEMORIAL PARK, KEMBLAWARRA
20th September 2020
2.30 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Luke Wilkshire
23.Hayden Durose 14.Harry Callahan 16.Guy Knight (Capt.) 11.Takeru Okada 10.Marcus Beattie 12.Harrison Taranto (6.Ethan Kambisios 67’) 7.Christopher Price 2.Taylor McDonald 9.Thomas James (20.Liam Wille 86’) 4.Nik Djordjevic 3.Darcy Madden
Substitutes not used: 1.Luke Kairies 8.Tatsuki Nagatsuka 18.Lewis Grimshaw
Yellow Cards: Chris Price 27’ Darcy Madden 45’ Guy Knight 57’ Marcus Beattie 87’ Liam Wille 89’
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Ante Juric
20.Nicholas Sorras (GK) 2.Thomas Whiteside 6.Nicola Kuleski (16.Go Hayama 46’) 8.Jason Madonis 11.Adam Parkhouse (31.James Tanoski 75’) 14.Peter Kekeris (21.Oliver Pufflet 58’) 17.Charles Lokoli Ngoy 24.Christopher Gligor 37.Theph Theph 19.Darcy Burgess 4.Ben Van Muers
Substitutes not used: 1.Enol Ordonez Suarez RGK 28.Simun Milicevic, 36.Deng Chan
Yellow Cards: Jason Madonis 17’
Red Cards: Nil
By Malcolm Rowney