2019 NPL NSW MENS 1 ROUND 15
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v SYDNEY FC
WOLVES RETURN TO WINNING FORM
Following recent Cup and League defeats within a five day turnaround, the Wollongong Wolves have regained their mojo to attain their tenth win of the season after consigning Sydney FC to a 4-0 loss in the Round 15 clash at WIN Stadium. Despite a slow and deliberate start, a brace to striker Thomas James to score his eighteenth goal of the season, and goals to Lachlan Scott and Takeru Okada proved the final difference between the two sides. James equalled Shane McGirr’s record NSW Premier League tally of eighteen goals and club record that was achieved in the 2004/05 season.
In rainy conditions that made the conditions on the field a little greasy, and first for these conditions in the 2019 campaign, the Wolves began in cautious manner with their patient build-ups and began the game by kicking off and running towards the southern end. A short pass from Scott behind to James and out to Okada began proceedings with these three having a huge impact on the game over all.
James and Anton Mlinaric had an early tussle for the ball with the Sydney FC player being awarded a free kick as a consequence. The extremely mobile Sydney FC outfit began attacking moves on the break, and as a pass intended for the up front Benjamin Koop, with a four goal tally in the league to date, was cut out by a Nikola Djordjevic intercept. Jake Hollman, who played impressively for his team while on the field, put a cross in but it went a little wide at this early time.
On ten minutes, Harry Callahan displayed persistence in getting back to dispossess and diffuse a Sydney foray and following Taylor Mcdonald made a groundbreaking run (the first of many such actions) with his ensuing cross being blocked at the time of execution and a corner kick was the result. Two more corner kicks followed in scant time and on the third, central defender Nick Littler, at the far post headed downward. The ball bounced and the custodian Tom Heward-Belle managed to get a touch with his fingertips and prevent this attempted breach of his domain. Three minutes later, following a good break, Koop moved the ball to Hollman. His subsequent left footed shot flew in and Wolves’ goalkeeper Justin Pasfield took it fully stretched.
The Leagues’ top scorer James nearly added to his haul when he was at the back post when the ball came from the right. He mistimed his first effort but recovered to put the ball narrowly over the cross bar. Pasfield, on receipt of a back pass, show his close skills by eluding an on rushing Harry Van Der Saag in the twenty-fourth minute.
Another quick break from Sydney FC saw Giuseppe Tilio on the end of slick passing movement. He ran in from left, placing his effort wide subsequently. Despite Sydney FC’s Fay and Ryan Teague being instrumental in the good play of their team, Sydney FC remained scoreless.
The home team, with much of the territorial advantage going their way for over the half hour had little to show for their relaxed composure. Ben Tosi and James Stojcevski were working effectively in the midfield with their defensive and attacking roles respectively, until on thirty-five minutes, James headed in a Callahan ball following Mcdonald’s earlier good work.
Following on, Okada tried to increase his team’s goal difference but his shot was blocked. Scott, on the turn, put his effort directly to Heward-Belle. This custodian was to the fore again to keep out a Chris Price shot. Pasfield at the opposite end had to prevent a Fay threat before the Wolves had two corner kicks in succession to keep up their attacking momentum, which had increased somewhat.
At half time, the Wolves held a narrow margin of one goal, with nil in return.
Sydney FC looked to begin the second half smartly when Tilio made a run down the centre of the field. However, it ended in vain as his shot traversed over. Not long later, a Tilio cross was flighted to the top corner of the far post looking to creep in, but Pasfield was ever vigilant for the threat.
The Wolves upped the ante since the half time break and went further ahead when Okada stabbed the ball home into the left side of the goal from his position in the centre of the field near the periphery of the box on fifty-seven minutes.
Sydney FC brought on Luke Ivanovic, the former Bonnyrigg White Eagles player, on fifty-five minutes in order to spark his side and try to arrest the imbalance of the scoring. This now eleven game A-League winger with experience also in the Asian Champions League, made inroads when he was in possession of the ball and also to set up his supports. He made top run in from the left eluding a player to set forth into the box for the goal. Despite his good intentions ultimately his effort did not up the desired outcome for his team.
The intrepid Callahan shot wide before two Stojcevski corner kicks in quick succession occurred with the first one being met by Mcdonald as he burst into the box. However, a deflection caused another. The second one skimmed off the head of Littler but missed the target. Callahan flashed another shot over, narrowly this time. A Price cross went to the head of James. He arched his back before projecting his header in the right direction, only for Heward-Belle to thwart.
Around the seventy-minute mark, an enticing Stojcevski free kick had Mcdonald meeting it, with his header being directed wide, before Paolo Bonanni blocked an Okada shot.
The Wolves’ intensity had increased and Scott sent the ball to Callahan. He zoomed into the box and was brought to a standstill, with the upshot being a penalty kick was awarded. James, being the designated taker walked to the spot. He demurred, before hitting the spot kick. Heward-Belle made a gallant save to prevent it from it entering his goal but he could not hold onto the ball. It ran free before Scott reacted quickly to hit it back past the custodian for his sixth goal of the season. Following his goal, he was substituted for Stefan Dimoski.
Guy Knight, when he entered the field of play, made a timely interception and later out-manoeuvred an opposition player by winning a header before Teague put in a shot for Pasfield to take.
It was not long before James brought his brace, his fifth one of the season. From a Stojcevski free kick, James provided a flicked header from the right side of goal that flew into the goal.
Being on the field for a total of two minutes, Bul Juach made an effective foray from the right. From close vicinity, his effort whacked into the post to deny what would have been his first Premier League goal.
The Wolves had returned to winning form with a big score line that had been achieved on four other occasions. The team stepped it up in the second half after a fairly lacklustre first half with a well-taken haul. Sydney FC had a changed line-up from the previous week and a number of younger players stepping up and making their debuts. They were not disgraced despite the score. They kept their team shape and their passing was crisp. The Wolves as a result of this victory remain five points ahead of the second placed APIA Leichhardt and lead the way with a thoroughly deserved fifteen weeks non stop at the head of the competition standings.
Wolves’ coach Luke Wilkshire - ‘I was not happy with the first half. We were slow and sloppy and did not execute what was required. I was disappointed. It was not up to our standard. We had to pick up the intensity but credit to the boys they took it on board at half time… The first half was almost played just like a friendly game. It was disappointing. Though I’m happy to have scored four goals, a clean sheet and three points. You have to give Sydney FC credit. They were well structured, defensively and did very well in the first half. They would have disappointed to be one down at half time and rightly so. But In the end our second half was so much better.
Captain Justin Pasfield - ‘the first half was a bit frustrating actually because we are coming up against a team like that and they are boys and are very well structured and are hard to break down… We stepped it up a notch in the second half and they came undone…and we got the result… The intensity was not there in the first half but we got back into it…. I did not have much to do. The team is doing well defensively… We are not worried about any other team but ourselves and if we keep going the way that we are going then we will be right.’
Sydney FC Luke Ivanovic - You have a lot of new players? - ‘Definitely. We have had a few injuries and we have some boys coming back from the A-League side. We will be a lot stronger next week when the boys come back but it was good for the younger lads today.’ On not starting today? – ‘This was my first week back from off season (A-League) and I have to manage my load and manage my game time. My body is in good shape.’ In the Asian Champions League versus Kawasaki Frontale after Reza (Ghoochannejhad) had hit the bar - ‘I should have scored in that game it was unbelievable'…On his involvement in the A-League with Sydney FC - ‘It’s the best team in the A-League and with the Champions I couldn’t be any happier.’
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ……………………4
Thomas James 36’ 84’ Takeru Okada 57’ Lachlan Scott 76’
SYDNEY FC .………………..……………...…. 0
@ WIN STADIUM, WOLLONGONG
SUNDAY 16thJune 2019
3.00 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Luke Wilkshire
1.Justin Pasfield (GK) (Capt.) 2.Taylor Mcdonald 4.Nikola Djordjevic 6.Ben Tosi (Guy Knight 45’) 7.Chris Price 9.Thomas James 11.Takeru Okada 14.Harry Callahan (25.Bul Juach 81’) 15.Nick Littler 17.James Stojcevski 24.Lachlan Scott (13.Stefan Dimoski 76’).
Substitutes not used: 12.Luke Kairies 3.Darcy Madden
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Jimmy Van Weeren
1.Thomas Heward-Belle 4.Thomas Fay 5.Patrick Scibio 6.Harry Van Der Saag 12.Giuseppe Tilio (11.Luke Ivanovic 58’) 15.Ryan Teague 16.Paolo Bonanni 17.Callum Talbot 18.Benjamin Koop (7.Jaiden Kucharski 84’) 24.Jake Hollman (34.Calem Niewenhof 69’) 54.Anton Mlinaric
Substitutes not used:30.Adam Pavlesic, 21.Thomas Main
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields, Ray Osborne
Fourth Official: Brodie Merchant
By Malcolm Rowney