2020 NPL NSW MENS 1 ROUND 9
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
WOLVES’ WINNING WAYS WITH WANDERERS
The Wolves achieved a second successive victory as the team accounted for a spirited Western Sydney Wanderers side with a narrow victory. The Wanderers made the Wolves concentrate at every turn with the their harassing and quick attacks. However, the Wolves did so calmly and with confidence later to weathered the opposition’s offensive manoeuvres with determined and steely defence, to produce a clean sheet as a consequence, only the second team to keep this opposition scoreless. With many opportunities in front of goal being presented by both teams throughout the proceedings, only a solitary one was converted, with Josh Bingham earning the plaudits with a first half goal, his second strike of this truncated campaign.
On a windy and chilly spring day, with the injured Wolves players watching on and supporting from the sidelines, including James Stojcevski, Lachlan Scott, Stephan Dimoski, Brendan Griffin, Hamish Lamberton, Bul Juach and Harry Callahan, the Wanderers kicked off with the Wolves running towards the northern end. Before long, the team from Western Sydney showed their attacking intent as Ali Auglah, a player who had previously scored three goals to date, made a long searching run down the right sideline before passing to his left into the box. Wolves’ central defender Nik Djordjevic was on hand to timely intercept. The Wanderers maintained possession for a time early on before Takeru Okada finally cleared out the danger area.
Western Sydney moved up quickly on the Wolves never allowing the home team to settle from the outset and it took some time before they got into the rhythm of the game and into their stride. Cheap turnovers happened on occasions, which did not assist matters.
Wanderers’ Fabian Monge was instrumental in ticking over the Wanderers’ attack and Kosta Grozos produced a shot from outside of the area that the Wolves’ custodian Hayden Durose palmed down.
On ten minutes, the Wolves went on their early attacking foray with Okada and Thomas James working in tandem. However, nothing of any importance emanated.
The Wolves went close in the twenty-fifth minute following a corner kick. Okada played a short corner to James. He was in turn marked closely by Monge but took the option of passing back to Okada. His ensuing right footed cross was met by Bingham, rising then projecting his header onto the cross bar near the juncture of the post and cross bar, looping the ball past the Western custodian Oliver Kalac, but not the goal frame. A minute later, Kalac had to advance off his line to take the ball just as Okada was about to pull the trigger.
Not to be outdone, the Wanderers made giant strides with their attack. Thomas Aquilina made a long run down the left wing as he picked up an errant Wolves’ pass before slotting the ball inside to Grozos. He in turn pushed the ball to Auglah. He turned a defender on the corner of the penalty area before sizing up the opportunity. He produced a powerful shot that zoomed in, with the ball ultimately shaving the cross bar. This was their best chance. Not long later, Carluccio positioned for a shot himself before Chris Price, after recovering from a tackle, won possession to defray the offense.
James tracked backed to take the ball off striker Rory Jordan as he burst down the centre, eluding players on his merry way.
On the half hour, Guy Knight played a good off the ground pass to Bingham. He took a couple of strides before his subsequent rocket like shot homing in on target only to lift at the crucial time to fly over.
It was in the thirty-third minute that the goal was scored. Okada swung his corner kick with his right foot. The ball at the near post bounced of a player as many vied for the ball. It looped towards the goal and Bingham headed in as Kalac came simultaneously from close vicinity.
Prior to the goal another opportunity was presented to Bingham. Following, a Wanderers’ goal kick went to the right for Carluccio. He could not control with the ball running out over the sideline. After the throw in James, Okada, Beattie and Harrison Taranto were all involved in the play and these four went about winning the ball with persistence to keep pressure on the opposition. Finally, a pass went to Okada, who crossed towards the far post where Bingham was lurking. As he went for a header, James Percevski stole in to head away to safety. Three minutes later, as the Wolves wanted to double their advantage, a Darcy Madden pinpoint cross from the right flew in. Bingham stretched for a touch but could not direct to where he wanted it to go.
Taylor McDonald worked to block a Western Sydney effort before Okada motors down the right before passing back for Knight. He rifled his shot in which went narrowly over. Taranto endeavoured to thread a pass for Madden but it was intercepted before Djordjevic got in the way to deny Auglah.
At the break the home team held a slender lead.
The second half began with the Wolves kicking off and early on James attempted to make an inroad. However, Mohammed Al Taay won the ball off him in a tackle before Okada played Price down the left. He then crossed, with the ball flying across the face of goal. It eluded all, concluding with Madden valiantly attempting to touch near the far post, but all in vain.
James, who using many of his tricks in dribbling, changing direction suddenly and using his skill on the ball subtlety, was troubling to the opposition. He was set free just shy of the hour mark. He made ground on the left before firing in a cross. Beattie was on hand to meet the ball but alas, could not convert.
On sixty-one minutes Knight went high for a header with Monge and went completely over the top of the Wanderers’ player. Minutes before, a spectacular Bingham overhead kick following an Okada cross narrowly failed to add to the score line. Scant time following, Price produced an enterprising shot, which whizzed over the bar by a whisker.
As the game wore on, neither team could relax as the visitors were still playing at the high tempo pace. They kept searching for an equaliser, with the home team being more proactive than reactive than they were in the first half and imposed themselves on the second half action.
In the sixty-fifth minute, Aquilina worked his way down the left leaving two players in his wake. Finally, he crossed. Auglah met the cross but with the goal at his mercy stuck it wide. The Wolves were let off the hook.
A minute further on, Wanderers coach Patrick Zwaanswijk was the first to go to his bench. The former Central Coast Mariner championship winner as a player and now coach rang in a triple substitution in order to shake things up for his team. Luke Wilkshire brought on Nick Littler to sure up the defensive unit.
A Bingham header went wide from an Okada cross. Kalakh, in an attempted clearance, saw the ball bounce off Beattie, sparing his blushes as the ball could have gone anywhere.
Wolves’ Substitute Liam Wille, pulled out a creative run as he steamed forward before winning a corner kick. As the Okada kick eventuated, the Wanderers scrambled as Beattie was on the job. Fellow substitute Littler went forward with a productive sojourn and later got in a tackle to thwart an attacking move.
Despite running out of time, the Wanderers kept up their momentum. With many passes emanated between a host of Western Sydney players as they probed for an opening, it was Auglah finally to produce a shot. Unfortunately, It did not bring out the desired outcome. The Wanderers were lamenting their luck. Substitute Dauntae Mariner headed in fellow substitute Noah Pagden’s cross, which Littler interceded, and Dean Pelekanos headed wide substitute Jacob Vassilou’s corner kick.
Beattie won a corner kick with barely minutes left in the match. Okada swung the ball in with McDonald meeting the ball. He rose to unfortunately head the ball wide. Substitute Ethan Kambisios was on the field for a short time as fresh legs to assist the team and he made his present felt.
The Wolves had now won two games on the trot with two remaining against difficult opposition. The team’s will to win stands out. The Wanderers, surprising many this season with their style of play will be disappointed, but they stuck to their guns. The Wolves have now moved up to second position on goal difference two points off the first positioned team, and with a tight top four. Wins are the only option for the next two games as losses sees team plummet.
Coach Luke Wilkshire - ‘you expect from that from a young talented team, they will not give up. They started better than us and they were hungrier than us. I wasn’t happy with the first half performance. Second half was much better….. It wasn’t good enough. It’s not what we are about… We created enough chances, obviously we needed to score to make the game a little bit more comfortable. . It was not what we are about. We will take the three points and move on to next week.’
Central Defender Nikola Djordjevic - ‘they were very nippy. It was hard for them on this surface and we knew that. It was a scrappy win and they were always testing us, but we will take it…. We should be able to get second or first, trying to push for that…. It will be another challenge against Sydney FC next week on the artificial and that’s what they like playing on. It will be another challenge.’
Central defender Taylor McDonald - ‘we will take the three points and the clean sheet. It was played in tough conditions but a win is a win. They had technical players especially in the midfield and they pushed out’
WOLLONGONG WOLVES …………………………..1
Josh Bingham 33’
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS…………………0
@ ALBERT BUTLER MEMORIAL PARK, KEMBLAWARRA
27th September 2020
2.30 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Luke Wilkshire
23.Hayden Durose GK 2.Taylor McDonald 3.Darcy Madden (15.Nick Littler 68’) 4.Nik Djordjevic 7.Christopher Price 9.Thomas James (20.Liam Wille 71’) 10.Marcus Beattie 11.Takeru Okada 12.Harrison Taranto (6.Ethan Kambisios 90’) 16.Guy Knight (Capt.) (20.Liam Wille 86’) 22.Josh Bingham
Substitutes not used: 1.Luke Kairies 8.Tatsuki Nagatsuka 5.Joshua Acorn
Yellow Cards: Darcy Madden 55’
Red Cards: Nil
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
Coach: Patrick Zwaanswijk
40.Oliver Kalac GK 2.Thomas Aquilina (5.Noah Pagden 66’) 4.Mohamed Al Taay (16.Jacob Vasiliou 66’) 6.Fabian Monge (30. Bilal Chahine 78’) 7.Jarrod Carluccio (15.George Antonis 84’) 10.Kosta Grozos (9.Dauntae Mariner 66’)
13.Tass Mourdoukoutas 17.Dean Pelekanos 19.Rory Jordan 21.Ali Auglah 23. Jamie Percevski
Substitutes not used: nil
Yellow Cards: 7.Jarrod Carluccio 10’ 4.Mohammed Al Taay 47’ 17.Dean Pelekanos
Red Cards: Nil
Referee - Curt Ams
Assistant Referees - Nathan Wotton, Janush Adabjou
By Malcolm Rowney