WOLVES END WINLESS STREAK
The Wolves have ended their winless streak of five matches, and achieving the first clean sheet since Round 2 in the process, by defeating Marconi Stallions one goal to nil, with a spirited display in the Round 11 clash. Marconi went closest to an equaliser when Marko Jesic’s header shaved the outside of the post with a diving custodian, Justin Pasfield, in full flight on seventy-four minutes.
Both teams had revamped line-ups from their previous outings with the Wolves having Nick Montgomery sidelined with an injury with James Baldacchino, Brendan Griffin and Joshua Macdonald starting from the bench with Darcy Madden and Ryan Ensor making starts this week, along with Steve Hayes and Peter Simonoski. Conversely, with Sean O’Donnell unavailable due to suspension and Mateo Poljak being out, Eros Bergamin and Judah Cleur made it into the starting team.
The Wolves had a new formation beginning this encounter with three at the back and wingbacks Ensor and Michael Stojanovski operating up and down in the wide areas of the pitch.
The game was a free flowing affair with both teams spreading the passes around with abandon. The Wolves ran towards the northern end and Marconi kicked off to begin proceedings.
Yuzo Tashiro made his way into the Marconi box battling it out early on with Michael Beauchamp, two former international team players with Japan and Australia respectively, duelling for a Michael Robinson despatched high ball. It was Beauchamp, back at the club when he began his senior career, who emerged the victor on this occasion. At the other end, the speedy James Andrew, the scorer of three goals this season, attempted to get into a scoring position but Robinson, who was immense at the back for his team, robbed him to get the ball to safety.
It was in the eleventh minute that the home side got to the lead. A free kick, taken by Takuya Nozawa, was whipped in. Simonoski flicked it on and Tashiro was well present at the far post to nod the ball home for his third goal of the campaign.
It was in the twelfth minute when Chris Nunes, a Marconi stalwart since 2007 in the first team, moved to the right of goal looking for an opening with Ensor shadowing his every move. However, Nunes found what he was angling for but his effort did not have the required direction or force behind it.
An enticing Nozawa chip eventuated but neither Tashiro nor Simonoski could get a touch to direct the ball into the goal. In a following incident, a Sean Rooney left footed cross was taken by a grateful Pasfield before a Simonoski shot cannoned off the back of Theo Kofinas. Hayes made an enterprising run down the left sideline before moving the ball onto Tashiro. However, the outcome was not what was desired. The impressive Hayes was moving the ball strategically to supports throughout the match and was an important cog with Wilkshire in midfield. An Eros Bergamin corner was headed over by Beauchamp before a Nunes pass travelled to Marko Jesic. Pasfield kept out his subsequent header.
With three minutes to go before the half time whistle, Rooney produced a free kick from outside the box, which eluded the defensive wall, only to go narrowly over. It was a close shave for the Wolves. Hayes burst in the penalty area to keep the pressure on before two headers by Chris Price and Darcy Madden in succession cracked against the cross bar, but alas did not go in with this being a let off for Marconi. Cleur put his shot over in the dying seconds of the first half with Marconi unable to convert their opportunities.
The second half was not long started before a Nunes cross went high and wide. At the opposite end a Nozawa free kick flew to Tashiro who positioned to the left of goal. His header went to where Simonoski had raced to and he chested the ball down but before he could goal, the ball ran away to his right and wide of the goal. A follow-up attempt was touched over by Vekic.
Round the fifty minute mark, three successive Nozawa corner kicks had Marconi on the back foot as the Wolves ramped up the pressure with ultimately the third one being headed out by Kofinas.
Stojanovski had progressed down the right side before passing to Simonoski.
The wingback kept running and cut in field. Simonoski looked for him and crossed. However, try as he might Stojanovski could not make contact and the outcome was not what was wanted. Before long, Stojanovski was back doing his defensive duties by heading away a dangerous ball.
The Wolves’ Luke Wilkshire was a having an important impact on the game with his distribution, directing the attacking play and doing his share of the defensive work to keep the team on its mettle. This was his first home match and second appearance for the club.
Simonoski eluded a man after collecting a Robinson clearance, but Vekic, snapped up his subsequent shot with his opposite number, Pasfield denying Cleur.
Both teams kept striving for goals but none were forthcoming. Robinson headed away with Rooney challenging and a short free kick by Rooney to Kofinas went wide of the target. This was the time when Jesic went close. Two minutes on, Beauchamp turned to elude Simonoski before an enticing shot by Cleur traversed centimetres wide.
With ten minutes left on the clock, Vekic made a point blank save from Tashiro when he looked home and hosed to score. Tashiro had another attempt after Ensor had made another customary run down the line on the left eluding a player before getting the ball to Tashiro. Alas, his effort was wide.
It was a tense time after the regulation ninety minutes had elapsed with five minutes being added on. It was desperation stakes for both teams as the Wolves wanted to keep their lead in tact and Marconi keenly searching for an equaliser. However, a second yellow card was shown to Kofinas when he inconvenienced Tashiro with a red card following, the second expulsion for Marconi in consecutive games. Marconi was now a man down.
Replacements Brendan Griffin and Joshua MacDonald were instrumental in the lead up to Tashiro being one on one with Vekic once again. With the goal at his mercy, he somehow managed to screw it wide with many supporters in wonder how he did not convert. Madden, an influential player to the fore throughout the encounter cleared once again and scant time on, a free kick was awarded for Marconi on the penalty arc. This was the last throw at the stumps for the Stallions. Rooney took the kick. However, much to his chagrin, the ball thumped into the wall and the goal in arrears stood.
It was a much needed victory for the Wolves as the two teams below on the points table coming into this Round 11 fixture had won the previous night. The Wolves had turned around their previous result with a determined effort to fully deserve the victory. With this result the Wolves have moved from tenth to sixth position while Marconi has dropped from seventh to eighth place.
Coach Jacob Timpano - ‘I thought it was a thoroughly deserved win. Again we haven’t put the ball into the back of the net as we should have but we got the one goal and the win. Our back three, Robbo, Darcy and Pricey defended outstandingly and Haysey and Luke in front of them and our wingbacks Stoj and Ryan were defensively superb… When things aren’t going well you need to look at tweaking a few things and we did that today and it paid off. We have been confident with our performances, have been strong but we don’t like losing. We haven’t been playing poorly and that is our positive. And we got the win today and the three points.’
Recent signing, Luke Wilkshire - ‘we did some work this week and changed things around a little bit and we put in a big performance. We did not play as well as we did last week football wise but we needed the win and we did it and its all positive…. I sit in there and keep things in balance and ticking over. I am enjoying it here, a good bunch of guys. Now it should be a springboard. We have broken through for a win and broken the run…. As long as we win, no problems, but I would like to get one (a goal).’
Darcy Madden - ‘very happy that the winless streak is over and it is great for everyone involved. We played a different formation from last week which nullfied their strengths and I’m very happy about that. . I was apart of the back three got a clean sheet, we were very tight and communication was great and I was very comfortable. All in all, I was happy with my game and collectively as well. Great home debut for Luke and great win for the fans’.
WOLLONGONG WOLVES …………1
Yuzo Tashiro 11’
@ WIN STADIUM, WOLLONGONG
SUNDAY 20th MAY 2018
3.00 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Jacob Timpano
1. Justin Pasfield (GK) 28. Michael Stojanovski 4. Michael Robinson 7. Chris Price 9. Peter Simonoski (10. Joshua Macdonald 87’) 17. Ryan Ensor 3. Darcy Madden 23.Steve Hayes (5. James Baldacchino 84’) 40. Takuya Nozawa ((8. Brendan Griffin 69’) 26. Luke Wilkshire 30. Yuzo Tashiro
Substitutes not used: RGK 16. Luke Kairies 15. James Markovac
Yellow Cards: Peter Simonoski 49’
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Peter Tsekenis
1.Nenad Vekic 5. Michael Beauchamp 8. Sean Rooney 10. Marko Jesic 11. Judah Cleur (61. Lachlan Sepping 84’) 12. James Andrew, 14. Peter Pelekanos (Bradon Cheng 79’) 17. Theo Kofinas 19. Eros Bergamin 22. Brandon Vella, 23. Christopher Nunes,
Substitutes not used: 4. Troy Danaskos 21. Kristian Sekutkoski 38. Yianni Nicolaou
Yellow Cards: Christopher Nunes 26’ Theo Kofinas 49’ 89’
Red Cards: Theo Kofinas 89’
Referee: B. Abrahams
Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling, Nathan Wotton
Fourth Official: A. Brett
By Malcolm Rowney