2019 NPL NSW MENS 1 ROUND 14
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v SYDNEY UNITED 58
LATE DRAMA SEES SYDNEY UNITED DEFEATING THE WOLVES
Late drama between two clubs, Wollongong Wolves and Sydney United 58, positioned first and fourth on the point’s table and which also played midweek cup games, played out a tight match in the Round 14 fixture at WIN Stadium. Sydney United 58 emerged the winners when former A-League player Matthew Sim achieved the game breaker on ninety minutes. The Wolves had gone behind in the first half when Tariq Maia goaled before restoring parity in the second through a Thomas James strike. To also feature in the drama, Sydney United’s Patrick Antelmi received his marching orders with a second yellow as he broke up a Wolves’ attacking foray with a not so impressive indiscretion.
The first half was a bit of struggle between the two protagonists as each team prodded the domain of each, with not too much pressure being exerted on the two custodians, Justin Pasfield and Tom Manos. The Wolves were running towards the southern end and had more of the territorial advantage throughout the encounter, but could not convert this advantage into goals to win the tie.
Sydney United’s began the proceedings when Anthony Tomelic pushed the ball with the intention of setting the ever-dangerous Peter Simonoski free. However, Darcy Madden, taking the place of an injured Taylor McDonald, vied for the ball at the same juncture with Simonoski to ultimately win out. Later, a Tariq Maia free kick traversed to the head of Tom Uskok, with his connection going wide of the intended target. A few minutes on Madden flicked the ball over the head of Sim to dismantle an attack. However, Tomelic who was pulling the strings in the midfield for his team impressed with his work. A shot from Yianni Perkatis, a former Western Sydney Wanderer’s player, produced a shot with his effort going wide.
Lachlan Scott, Takeru Okada, Thomas James and were involved in imposing offensive forays with their interplay being one of the home team’s strengths. A James pass to Madden and then to Scott resulted in a corner kick. In the thirteenth minute, Guy Knight became involved in this movement when played the ball to Okada who with his ensuing effort blasted wide for the Wolves, one of their best early attacks. Madden burst down the right before exacting a pass the Ben Tosi. His subsequent effort was on target but hit a defender to alter the trajectory.
Each team kept persevering for the opening goal but no luck was to be had. Sim made inroads but Madden thwarted. James eluded Tom Uskok before releasing the ball to Okada. His attempt flew over the cross bar. On twenty-five minutes, Okada elided a marker before sweeping the ball for James Stojcevski. He got onto the end of it with a diving header. It projected forcibly narrowly wide. Later, Stojcevski and Okada were involved before Knight pulled the trigger but his effort was blocked.
Simonoski, his team’s top scorer with seven as his tally, was impeded, as he was about to cause damage. Joshua Macdonald took the free kick. He curled it with Uskok ranging in to get a touch, but to his misfortune, the ball went wide with the Wolves breathing a sigh of relief as it were. A free kick at the other end saw James swinging the ball in with it travelling straight to a grateful Manos.
MacDonald, on thirty-nine minutes spurted down the left before getting to the by line and moving inward, eluding a player in transit. He had prior received the ball from Christian Gonzalez. McDonald crossed a low ball into the path of Maia who went on to produce a good strike. Sydney United was now in the box seat.
With two minutes left on the clock before the half time break, Chris Price curled the ball in from the left side after a groundbreaking run. The ball flew past the far post but Madden managed to collect it. He put back from whence it came but a corner kick emanated with Stojcevski whipping the ball in. Manos punched out and a little later the custodian scooped up a Littler downward header.
At the break the team from Sydney held the advantage on the scoreboard but not in the general play.
The Wolves needed to score first in the second half in order to salvage the match and not let United pinch another. Early on, a United back pass went to Manos with James wielding pressure, with the result that Manos kicked into touch. Later, a fortuitous free kick was given to the Wolves after James clipped the heels of a defender who was punished. Stojcevski pushed to the ball to Scott but he could not make it count, despite his effort. On the fifty-five minute mark, a Scott header went agonisingly close, flashing past the post.
As the half wore on, the physicality of the play began to get a bit stronger. James was recipient of some tough challenges as the opposition tried to tame the danger man. He attempted a bicycle kick that did not quite come of from a Madden cross and Sydney United now were clearing the ball with haste as the Wolves added pressure, with Stojcevski and Price in the mix.
In the sixty-fourth minute Takeru Okada who was leading a merry chase for the opposition markers worked the ball to Scott. He immediately pushed it to James to the right of goal. With space, he determinedly buried the shot and the Wolves team was back in the hunt increasing his league tally to sixteen goals.
Nicola Djordjevic, who together with Littler were coping the efforts of the Sydney strikers, produced a shot from distance as looked to increase his team’s tally.
Yellow cards from here on in became more frequently dispensed as tackles came a little more venom.
Okada found himself in the penalty area on seventy-four minutes with James to his left in space. Okada elected to shoot with his effort wide rather than passing which may have been the better option. Harry Callahan’s injection on to the field added to the attacking element of his team and his endeavours added spark. His cross with ten minutes to go was meant for Scott. As he was about to head in on target, a last-ditched leg thrown up negated Scott’s sterling attempt.
Antelmi’s effort looked to hit pay dirt and give his team the lead again only for his powerful shot to cannon off the right post, causing the Wolves some consternation.
A corner kick by substitute Sebastian Gallegos, a former trialist with the Wolves in 2018, was placed in, with Pasfield grasping it with relative ease.
As the minutes ticked by, a likely scenario was a draw. The ball was moved to Sim on the left side. He veered inward before rifling the ball high into the net beating a despairing Pasfield. This stunned the Wolves with little time to rectify.
The Wolves had succumbed to their second league loss and their second defeat in five days, which included the cup loss. The team is still five points ahead at the top of table and will need to bounce back next week versus Sydney FC to preserve this lead in the race for the premiership. The team did play well in this encounter but as it always known, a game’s duration is ninety minutes plus added time. Sydney United 58 return north with the points and move up to equal third on points’ table with this victory.
Coach Luke Wilkshire - ‘disappointing to lose as we want to win every game. We weren’t clinical enough. We had plenty of chances. If you don’t take these, you will cop one at the other end, that’s always the way. Our execution let us down, the last pass, and the decision to shoot or pass. We got into good areas, created enough chances and it was not quite happening in front of goals. You can’t give away goals like we did.’
Goal scorer Thomas James - ‘we gave them the game to be honest and they kicked us out. Not much you can do. We have ourselves to blame but will bounce back next week.’
Attacking midfielder Harry Callahan - ‘we came back better in the second half and obviously pulled off a goal, and they got a late one at the end but it’s hard to come back with only a couple minutes left…I can only do so much and unfortunately with the loss, it doesn’t mean much in the end. We have to bounce back and two losses on the trot is not good but next week we have a chance to address that ’
Sydney United 58 goalkeeper Tom Manos (a Wolves former player in 2015.) - ‘it was good game from both teams. We got tested first half fairly early and for the majority of that half and once we got the ball down and started moving we caused them some problems and we got the goal, which was good going into half time. … The Wolves are a quality side, they’re not first for no reason. They tested us today and we went into our shells early second half we conceded but as the half went on we got the ball on the deck and today we looked like to the team that was going to win and we got a late goal…. But take nothing away. Your front four is unreal and they can catch you at any point, and we had to be alert, which we were. … It is a foul that he (Antelmi) had to make when the team had made a break and unfortunately he was on a yellow….We have had a few inconsistencies at first when he have won games and when we have played our best there is no team who can come near us. But in saying that there is a big gap between the Wolves, and us now six points ahead. These sort of games matter. Six points is a lot to cover. We hope other teams can get results down here. Super proud of the boys… It (the Wolves) is a special club for me and it is good to see them doing well. I loved being there…. We will roll up our sleeves and keep on.’
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ……………………1
Thomas James 64’
SYDNEY UNITED 58 .……………………...….2
Tariq Maia 39’ Matthew Sim 90’
@ WIN STADIUM, WOLLONGONG
SUNDAY 9thJune 2019
3.00 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Luke Wilkshire
1.Justin Pasfield (GK) (Capt.) 3.Darcy Madden 6.Ben Tosi (14.Harry Callahan 57’) 7.Chris Price 9.Thomas James 15.Nick Littler 16.Guy Knight 17.James Stojcevski 11.Takeru Okada 24.Lachlan Scott (23.Jordan Nikolovski 88’)
Substitutes not used: 12.Luke Kairies 13.Stefan Dimoski 20.Liam Willie
Yellow Cards: Thomas James 30’ Nick Littler 88’
Red Cards: Nil
SYDNEY UNITED 58
Coach; Miro Vlastelica
21.Tom Manos 4.Adrian Vlastelica (3.Jordan Roberts 70’) 8.Matt Sim 5.Anthony Tomelic (10.Sebastian Gallegos 82’) 19.Joshua MacDonald (9.Patrick Antelmi 65’) 7.Peter Simonoski 15.Tariq Maia 22.Yianni Fragogiannis 20.Christian Gonzalez 14.Tomislav Uskok 11.Yianni Perkatis
Substitutes not used:1.Daniel Sadaka 6.Petar Markovic
Yellow Cards: Peter Simonoski 43’ 14.Tomislav Uskok 49’ 5.Anthony Tomelic 75’ 9.Patrick Antelmi 71’, 90+1 22.Yianni Fragogiannis 86’ Matthew Sim 90’
Red Cards: Patrick Antelmi 90+1
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Nick Backo, C. Wright
Fourth Official: N. Kour
By Malcolm Rowney