WOLVES VICTORIOUS WITH LATE GOAL OVER NORTHERN NEIGHBOURS
Coming from a goal down, the Wolves have bounced back into the winner’s circle by defeating Sutherland Sharks 2-1 in cold, blustery and shivering conditions at J. J. Kelly Park in Coniston. Sutherland had hit the lead early in the second half through Adrian Vranic with the Wolves replying later, with Jordan Nikolovski netting in his debut starting appearance and Nick Montgomery’s blockbuster coming in time added on. The Wolves fully deserved this fifth victory of the campaign though it seemed likely to be share of the points until the winner came. Sutherland though, had one last chance to equalise near the game’s final whistle, only for consistently safe custodian Justin Pasfield to go to ground to deny with a determined effort.
With the wind swirling across and down the pitch, the Wolves began proceedings and scant time later the first free kick was awarded to the Sharks on the left side. Left defender Keisuke Hayashi enacted but the Wolves coped facilely.
Before long Michael Robinson, in top form of late, moved the ball down the right with the intention of finding the Wolves top scorer, Peter Simonoski, but Sutherland intervened. Moments on, the enterprising Joshua Macdonald raided down the left wing and Montgomery got in before Blair Brown.
Seven minutes in the Sharks had a free kick. Jacob Tratt, with his A-League experience, being an integral player for his team throughout the match, took the kick. The defensive wall subsequently blocked it. Straight away with the rebound, a second throw at the stumps emanated, but was blocked as consequence. Two minutes later, a Macdonald free kick was floated in with the upshot being that Simonoski’s header flashed narrowly past the near post.
The Wolves’ Luke Wilkshire and Montgomery were exerting their influence in midfield with their ball winning and incisive passing both in attacking and defensive modes. In the twenty-second minute, Wilkshire slid in with a well-timed tackle to relieve Joshua Da Silva of the ball. Three minutes on, Montgomery produced a deft pass to set up an attacking foray. Prior, The Shark’s Nick Littler got a foot in to defuse the Wolves’ pressure at the time.
The Wolves had a golden chance to draw first blood after Montgomery moved the ball on to Darcy Madden whose ensuing cross flew across the face of goal. Nikolovski launched himself at the ball, getting his head to the ball, but alas could not direct it on target.
Just on the half hour mark, Simonoski ran onto to a pass to produce a missile like shot, which protruded the near side netting. Sutherland’s Adrian Vranic, the top scorer with his club, could not take benefit out of a Sutherland cross and a Nick Littler free kick went wide of the closest post which caused some irritation. In many other instances, Tratt, who was holding strongly in the centre, diffused many of the Wolves crosses.
With the myriad of scoring opportunities being presented despite the conditions, the teams could not take a lead into the break with the Wolves being more productive. At half time, though it was a scoreless stalemate.
The Sharks wasted no time on the re-start, exerting pressure before Vranic added to his the pre-game tally of seven strikes. Ryoga Suyama and Joshua Da Silva were involved before Vranic had his first effort prevented by Pasfield. He was not upstanding when he got his left foot to the ball from his position in the middle of the park, directly facing the goal, to ram it home in an easy fashion.
A little later, a Wilkshire free kick was headed away by Littler and Pasfield grasped a Lachlan Everett bouncing shot at the opposite end. Nikolovski made an enterprising run down the left wing before crossing in. Brendan Griffin got onto the end of it to enable a shot. At this time, it did bring up any joy.
Montgomery played at free kick in which Ryan Norval gratefully received before the mobile Nikolovski was impeded. Following the free kick, Tratt intercepted a Chris Price cross.
Just on the hour mark the Wolves restored parity. With a defensive clearance finding Nikolovski, he subsequently progressed forward. Seeing Norval somewhat advanced from his goal line, Nikolovski from about thirty metres out had the presence of mind to size up the opportunity, unleashing a lob over the custodian Norval and his precisely played effort bounced into the goal. This was tremendous well taken effort.
Moments later James Baldacchino endeavoured to re-enact the same scenario from his side of half way. However, Norval was not going to be duped twice.
Simonoski was proving to be dangerous and a handful for the Sutherland defence. He was in the vicinity for a shot but as he took a touch, Littler was on the spot to relieve him of the ball. These two former teammates had a number of battles for the ball with each winning out at intervals. Later, a Macdonald corner kick was flighted in, with Madden directing his powerful header goalwards, but alas it was not successful to tick over the score line. Following, Simonoski eluded Littler to enact a shot from the left. However, the result was not what he had intended.
Sutherland attacked again with Vranic getting through the defensive line only for a last ditched effort from Robinson to win the ball in his tackle. Following an Everett effort traversed wide.
It became end-to-end action as each team strived for the game breaker. Littler disposed Simonoski and progressed forward in an effort to instigate an attacking raid. Again later, he ventured forward but nothing of any note emanated. At the other end Tratt saved his team again by heading out before a Wolves attacker could take advantage. Price met a Robinson free kick but his good header from the left side of goal went close.
Shark’s second half substitute Hristijan Tanoski produced a shot, which went over following good interplay with his compatriots before Price defended stoutly to win out over Tanoski with a headed clearance.
The game ramped up in the final ten minutes, as maximum points were the desired objective. The long ball was a useful tool as each team took the shortest route to the attackers to strive for the winner and circumvent the midfield.
Griffin put an effort wide of the goal frame and not later, he was put through but Norval was there to rebuff. The ‘keeper was the fore again, throwing out his leg fortuitously to prevent the Wolves top scorer Simonoski from increasing his haul.
In the two minutes added on, sustained pressure was applied to the Shark’s defence. Simonoski tried to pull the trigger and Griffin had a go with Montgomery providing these assists. However, neither converted though the intentions were paramount. The resolve of the Sharks was broken when Montgomery’s powerfully struck thunderbolt flashed through the air into the net, giving the beanie clad and well rugged up supporters exhilaration, and his teammates relief with a victory, the first since the previous one in Round 11.
Following the result of this match the Wolves now move up to seventh position, three points from the two teams on twenty points in fifth place, with Sutherland now occupying ninth place.
Coach Jacob Timpano - ‘It was tough conditions out there for both teams. On the balance of the game we deserved the result today. We had the clearest of chances and dominated the first half. It was a sloppy goal just after half time l. The boys hung in there. We had the wind in the second half and we should have won it earlier than we did but we got the three points.…. Every week is important and nothing but three points today was going to be good enough for us. We got that in the end and it was thoroughly deserved. There have been games when we came away with nothing but today we came through and got the three points Young Jordan Nikolovski made his starting debut today and we thought we would change things around after a couple of boys up top haven’t been firing and we gave him an opportunity.’
Goal scorer Jordan Nikolovski - On his goal - ‘It was unbelievable’, absolutely unbelievable. As a boy I used to follow the Wolves…. I wasn’t sure what I would do. I had the wind at my back, saw the ‘keeper off his line and I thought I would go for it… A last minute winner and not much better than that, and the celebration was even better’.
Goalkeeper Justin Pasfield - ‘I think they want to give me a heart attack, this lot… We made it hard for ourselves but it just goes to show the determination and drive that we have got here and sometimes in the last couple of weeks especially it hasn’t been coming come off but we have been creating chances. I am so pleased for Jordi because it’s very hard to come across a kid these days who has an instinct for goal. There are a lot of players at this level who would take the ball towards the goal instead of trying the first thing, where’s the goal and how would I get it there. It was pleasing to see for me it was awesome but see what he does next week'…. On his encouragement during matches – ‘Yes especially with kids. Jordi is a good boy. He asks questions and I am very happy for him…I’ve got more of a role where I am helping things along. You’ve got to lead by example but I lost it a little bit with the ref. It was a bit frustrating on my behalf, a bit of anger…we soaked up the pressure pretty well and we there or thereabouts. We turned the tables and Ryan Norval was good today… Hopefully we haven’t used up our luck in the first couple of games…it was nice to win at home and it was tough out the there today, real tough…. I don’t like the wind, it would rather it poured down rain.’
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ………….. 2
Jordan Nikolovski 60’ Nick Montgomery (90+2)
SUTHERLAND SHARKS ……………..1
Adrian Vranic 46’
@J. J. KELLY PARK, CONISTON
SUNDAY 17th JUNE 2018
3.00 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Jacob Timpano
1. Justin Pasfield (GK) 3. Darcy Madden 4. Michael Robinson 5. James Baldacchino 6. Nick Montgomery 7. Chris Price 8. Brendan Griffin 9. Peter Simonoski 10. Joshua Macdonald 21. Jordan Nikolovski (17. Ryan Ensor 87’) 26. Luke Wilkshire
Substitutes not used: RGK 16. Luke Kairies 2.Taylor McDonald 40.Takuya Nozawa 23. Steve Hayes
Yellow Cards: Joshua Macdonald 34’ Michael Robinson 63’ Brendan Griffin 69’
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Grant Lee
1. Ryan Norval, 2. Jacob Tratt 6. Lachlan Everett 9. Adrian Vranic 10. Joshua Da Silva (18. Juan Felipe Zapata 72’) 12. Blair Brown 13. Robert Watson 15. Nick Littler, 16. Ryoga Suyama (11. Hristijan Tanoski 80’) 17. Leroy Jennings 70’) 20.Keisuke Hayashi
Substitutes not used: 21.Nick Loe 4.Hayden Morton 28.Noah Chia
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: C. Fisher
Assistant Referees: N Backo, J. Bell
Fourth Official: A. Mansour
By Malcolm Rowney