2019 NPL NSW MENS 1 ROUND 10
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v ROCKDALE CITY SUNS
SUNS ECILPSE THE WOLVES
For the first time this season, Wollongong Wolves have suffered defeated by going down to Rockdale City Suns by a single goal. Alec Urosevski, a player who has in the past achieved his fair share of goals against the home team, scored it with a well struck effort, near the half hour mark. In addition, this has been the initial match in 2019 when the Wolves have concluded the match and have remained scoreless. Luck certainly was not with the team as a shot by substitute Stefan Dimoski cannoned off the goal frame with a minute to go.
With Chris Price stepping in for Nikola Djordjevic following his return from America, the Wolves fielded virtually an unchanged line-up. Rockdale was fielding an identical starting line-up as in the previous week.
The home team ran towards the southern end and the Suns kicked off to begin proceedings. Before long, a raking Nick Littler pass, following a few passes from team mates to steady the nerves, looked to find the quick striker Bul Juach up front. However, nothing of any consequence eventuated and it was not long before Littler was called upon in a defensive manner to head away a Rockdale attacking foray.
The Suns, with the combination of Jordan Figon and Urosevski were exchanging probing passes in order to unsettle the Wolves’ defence and showed that they would be dangerous with their actions.
Both teams were intent on getting the early advantage and despite each team’s efforts nothing eventuated. Juach did his best and was causing some disquiet with his searching quick runs. In the seventh minute, Juach received a pass to then wrong foot a defender with his close skill to get his cross in. However, it struck a defender to negate the intention. A minute later, a Price cross was unfortunately headed wide by Guy Knight, who made good ground to get in position for this attack on the Rockdale domain. Another Juach cross very nearly found the impressive Harry Callahan (who was taking it to the Suns at nearly every turn during the encounter.) However, immediately the Rockdale goalkeeper, David Bradasevic got there first to defuse the danger.
A James Stojcevski corner kick was curled in and was narrowly headed over by Littler. Stojcevski was instrumental in the midfield with setting up attacks with his precision passes and his determined running off and on the ball assisted his team greatly in its endeavours.
As this game went on, the Wolves’ sometimes were guilty of easy turnovers with some loose passing, something that had not eventuated in the earlier games. This certainly did not assist their exploits and allowed Rockdale to mount more attacks. Rockdale was winning many of the aerials duels, getting to the ball to head away quickly when crosses flew in and used their physicality to maximum benefit.
A headed effort from Price looked to score the pay dirt. It had some power and direction. However Bradasevic brought out a reflex save to deny what seemed to be a likely goal.
The goal emanated in the thirtieth minute when Urosevski picked up a loose ball outside the penalty area. He let fly with a powerful shot, which squeezed inside the near post as Wolves captain and goalkeeper Justin Pasfield attempted to prevent.
Thomas James, the league’s top scorer, looked to redress the situation and had a number of opportunities. Alas he could not convert and increase his tally with some efforts going wide.
At half time it was 1-0 to the visitors and the Wolves were behind for the second time this season at half time.
The Wolves began the second half with a forty-five minute period in order to attempt to achieve parity. However, it was instead Rockdale threatening when a Patrick Savor cross was whipped in but Pasfield was able to grasp. A Price shot at the other end was interceded by Matthew Lecce who headed away. A Canak cross from close vicinity went too far before a James shot travelled across the goal face with nary a player to tuck it home.
Figon and Price vied for the ball at the same time with Price winning the confrontation before Canak burst into the box, shaking off two tackles as he went but did not get the better of McDonald in this third exchange.
Figon, Canak, Sasa Macura kept looking for chinks in the Wolves defence but they held firm since the Urosevski breach. Tosi, as the last man in defence on this occasion, headed to safety as Figon prowled.
The Wolves kept looking for the equaliser to maintain their unbeaten status and threw what they could at Rockdale’s tall defence. The introduction of Takeru Okada sparked the home team and his persistent running at the Suns defence nearly brought dividends. James had an opportunity but alas his effort went straight to Bradasevic and he accepted it gratefully. Two minutes prior, Guy Knight’s cross traversed directly to the Rockdale’s custodian, not the direction to where it was intended. He displayed some displeasure with himself.
On seventy-two minutes a Canak cross flew across the goal face before Littler tidied up.
Dimoski who had only entered the field minutes before went on a rampaging run down the left before cutting in. He attempted to get the ball to James but the Rockdale defence intervened.
Rockdale kept pressing to try and sure up their victory and anything was tried. A back pass by Callahan went to Pasfield as Figon applied pressure. The custodian returned the ball with Figon flinging himself at the return pass trying to get his head to the ball. Two minutes earlier, a headed pass found Juach in close proximity to the goal. As he turned to put the ball into the net, Bradasevic was on him like a shot to deny the skilful striker.
Numerous forays from the Wolves to reduce the arrears did not produce a change on the scoreboard, though close (as in Dimoski’s shot being kept out by the crossbar), but as time ticked by their first loss had happened.
The home team was not as sharp for this Rockdale fixture and will want to bounce back convincingly next week. Rockdale City Suns have maintained their recent spell of good performances and as well, have knocked off the hitherto undefeated team at the top of the standings.
Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire – ‘I think we were not at our best. We lost the ball in bad areas in the first half and got punished for that. We did not do enough to win the game in the end.’ On the frequent turnovers? – ‘It was quite clearly not our best performance. Once they got their noses in front they got numbers behind the ball to make it difficult. We need to be able to break teams down. ‘
Bul Juach – ‘very disappointing but we will keep going. I should have scored but he (goalkeeper) was on me pretty quick. We will work hard and will bounce back.
James Stojcevski – ‘we were unlucky to go behind though it was a great goal from them. We didn’t take our chances. We had one good chance in the first half and hit the bar in the second half and normally one of those would go in. This was the first game that we haven’t scored. It happens like this sometimes. We got him on the ball (Okada) and Dimoski with the runners but we put a lot of effort in and it was only one nil in the end. It was close.
WOLLONGONG WOLVES …………………………0
ROCKDALE CITY SUNS .……………………...….1
Alec Urosevski 31’
@ WIN STADIUM, WOLLONGONG
SATURDAY 11th AUGUST 2019
6.00 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Luke Wilkshire
1.Justin Pasfield (GK) (Capt.) 2.Taylor McDonald 6.Ben Tosi (13.Stefan Dimoski 75’) 7.Chris Price 9.Thomas James 14.Harry Callahan 15.Nick Littler 16.Guy Knight 17.James Stojcevski 23.Jordan Nikolovski (11.Takeru Okada 52’) 25.Bul Juach
Substitutes not used: 12.Luke Kairies 8.James Markovic 20.Liam Willie
Yellow Cards: Ben Tosi 50’ Harry Callahan 83’
Red Cards: Nil
ROCKDALE CITY SUNS
1.Daniel Bradasevic 2.Daniel Petkovski (Capt.) (14.Brayden Sorge 75’) 3.Michael Neill 7.Alec Urosevski (9.Jonathan Grozdanovski 79’) 8.Aleks Canak 11.Leigh Egger 12.Idriss El Hafiane, 17.Matthew Lecce (23.Panni Nikas 63’) 18.Sasa Macura 19.Patrick Savor 45.Jordan Figon.
Substitutes not used: 22.Max Rowston. 20.Howard Fondyke
Yellow Cards: 8.Aleks Canak 44’ 3.Michael Neill 69’ 12.Idriss El Hafiane 81’ 11.Leigh Egger 90+’
Red Cards: Nil
Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling, Joon Park
Fourth Official: S.Andrews
By Malcolm Rowney