WOLVES AND SYDNEY FC IN PULSATING DRAW
The first night match under the lights at WIN Stadium, was a free flowing match with quick counter attacks, slick passing and effervescent off the ball running, with the protagonists, Wollongong Wolves and Sydney FC concluding the Round 14 match with one goal apiece, scored either side of the half time break. Both teams had chances during the game with most eventuating in the middle to latter stages of the second half to garner the three points on offer, but neither team could achieve the winning outcome. However, it was certainly an entertaining fixture for the people in the stands.
For the encounter, the Wolves had a couple of line-up changes with Luke Wilkshire and Yuzo Tashiro being unavailable. Nick Montgomery was back from injury and Joshua Macdonald was restored to the starting personnel. Sydney had Luke Ivanovic starting this week with William Mutch returning to the bench in the only change.
The proceedings began with the home team kicking off and running towards the southern grandstand. Chris Price made the first kick into the opposition half with Patrick Flottman intercepting by chesting the ball down. Before too long the Wolves were given a free kick which Takuya Nozawa sent in. It was defended at this time adequately, only for a further two Nozawa’s efforts, on these occasions corner kicks to come in rapid succession. Darcy Madden tried valiantly to connect with the second of these in a crowded area but experienced no joy. Later a good ball from Michael Stojanovski looked to find Joshua Macdonald, but custodian Drago Dragicevic moved off his line in quick time to grasp. At the opposite end, Cameron Devlin progressed into close sight of the goal, and his ensuing shot was kept out as Justin Pasfield got down to thwart.
The early part of the first half saw the teams testing each other up and as the match progressed it was end-to-end action with fine defending and skilful attacking play with precise goalkeeping. The Sky Blues, with their slick and fast play exemplified by Luke Ivanovic and Cameron Devlin’s fast attacking endeavours, were put under some pressure defensively by the Wolves in the latter periods with Madden and Michael Robinson on fire in both defence and attack. Later, Ivanovic made a speedy run down the left only for Madden to gain possession and additionally Flottmann cleared as Nozawa bore down.
On twenty minutes a Madden pass was seized upon decidedly by an opposition player but with persistence he moved fast and forward to rectify the situation by regaining possession in the tackle, with this leading to Simonoski providing a shot, which flashed narrowly wide of the target. The Sky Blues’ Joel King headed out a Brendan Griffin effort, before Ivanovic determinedly progressed down the left eluding a lunging Madden. With his outside of the boot pass finding Cox in close proximity to the near post of the goal, Sydney’s top scorer to date placed it wide and he rued this missed opportunity.
Sydney thought that they had gone ahead round the half hour mark when a Jerry Skodatis free kick was headed in by Flottmann at the far post, only for an assistant’s flag to signify off side. Following Nozawa produced a shot on the turn after good lead-up by Michael Stojanovski and the impressive Macdonald. Unfortunately it was missed opportunity. Madden chested the ball down after a high Sky Blues clearance for Montgomery to begin an attacking foray.
Slick movement in the box had Cox squeezing his shot just wide of the far post.
The Wolves wide player Ryan Ensor motored down the left before supplying a long ball pass to Macdonald. He in turn powered his shot goal bound bulging the netting. Unfortunately it was the side netting.
Price, who was defending stoutly and attacking at regular intervals intercepted an overhead pass before Robinson headed out to keep the Sydney attackers at bay and it was not before long that the stalemate was to be changed. Simonoski had provided a good pass to Macdonald. As he ventured into the right sided vicinity of the penalty area, he went to ground after being inconvenienced by Flottmann. The referee signaled a spot kick. Simonoski on being the designated kicker duly converted, scoring his fifth goal of the league campaign with his effort.
At the half time break, the home team was in front but could not rest on their laurels. The second half began and it took only three minutes before Sydney FC had pulled back the Wolves’ lead. Polished passing in the build up allowed Cameron Devlin to cut a swathe through the defence to unselfishly square the ball to Cox. He had the easiest of tasks with a tap in to chalk up his eighth goal of the season. Parity was restored and the match was still to be won.
The Wolves had moved the ball down the other end through the impressive Macdonald who was able to flash a cross straight across the face of goal but nary a touch was forth coming. A Wolves corner had a Madden header goal bound only for Dragicevic got down to hand it away to safety. Madden, a couple of minutes later, enacted a tackle in the nick of time to diffuse a dangerous situation.
The Wolves were eagerly endeavouring to conjure up a match winner when on the hour mark an Ensor shot with the aid of a deflection looped over the goal. Following another Nozawa corner kick, ultimately Robinson attempted to poke the ball home through a crowd into goal. It very nearly came off. Robinson, with a top line performance, was in defence from his earlier attacking effort intervened to deny Ivanovic as he powered down the middle of the ground looking to cause damage. The game was becoming more open with space as bodies got tired and as time marched on.
With eleven minutes in the match to go, Robinson slid in to put substitute Jordan Swibel, who was on the field for only two minutes, off his attempted shot. Simonoski moved to the ball into the box for a rampaging Robinson at the other end. He was about the pull the trigger but was blocked with Sydney conceding a corner kick. Ensor subsequently curled it in and Wolves’ substitute James Baldacchino’s well-directed header at the far post was saved by the custodian, much to perpetrator's chagrin.
In time added on, Sydney FC had progressed into the Wolves’ penalty area through Devlin. He produced a back heal that caught the Wolves defence unawares into the path of a marauding substitute player, Jordan Swidel. With the goal in his sights he shot but a goal was not to be. Swidel later headed a long ball on target with the advancing Pasfield not able to get to it. The ball skimmed the cross bar and Sydney FC lamented how close they were for the winner.
Prior, Baldacchino had another chance to be seal the match when he positioned another header wide of the goal with two minutes to go in normal time. A Flottman header out of defence and Simonoski responded by powering it back. However, Dragicevic was able to take and deny the attempt.
Ultimately the honours were evenly divided, result and performance wise, in an absorbing and pulsating match. The result was well deserved by both teams.
Jacob Timpano - ‘It could have gone either way, they had chances and so did we. It was fairly open game and a lot of transitions. A point is a point but we expect to win but we could have lost or could have won…. We probably did not deal with their mobility. They are a good side and caused us some problems…. At 1-0 we would have liked to have gone on with it.’
Joshua Macdonald - ‘On the balance of play we probably deserved to win but lacked that bit of quality in the final third…on another day we would have bagged another two or three. We prevented their counter attacks for most of the game and one slip cost us the game…. I thought we would hold on. It was end to end, we had ball, they had ball, we had the ball, and it was frantic…. I got in behind him and he clipped me. ….. Simmo put it away… We now look forward to next week and hopefully get back on the right track.
WOLLONGONG WOLVES …………..1
Peter Simonoski 44’ Pen.
SYDNEY FC ……………………………1
Jeremy Cox 48’
@ WIN Stadium, WOLLONGONG
SATURDAY 9th JUNE 2018
7.00 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Jacob Timpano
1. Justin Pasfield (GK) 3. Darcy Madden 4. Michael Robinson 6. Nick Montgomery (23. Steve Hayes 73’) 7. Chris Price 8. Brendan Griffin 9. Peter Simonoski 10. Joshua Macdonald 17. Ryan Ensor 28. Michael Stojanovski 40. Takuya Nozawa (James Baldacchino 73’).
Substitutes not used: RGK 16. Luke Kairies 2.Taylor McDonald
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Robert Stanton
30. Duro Dragicevic 2. Brendan Curtis 3. Patrick Flottman 4. Liam McGing 6. Andreas Agamemnonos 7. Jerry Skotadis 8. Sam McIllhatton (Capt.) 10. Cameron Delvin 11. Luke Ivanovic (22. Harry Van De Saag 86’) 14. Joel King 15. Jeremy Cox (13. Jordan Swibel 78’)
Substitutes not used: 1. Mitchell Evans 16. William Mutch 12. Finn McBride-Ballard
Yellow Cards: Jordan Swibel 89’
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Ben Abraham
Assistant Referees: K. Robinson, Nathan Wotton
Fourth Official: J. Casey
By Malcolm Rowney