2019 NPL NSW MENS 1 ROUND 16
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v SYDNEY OLYMPIC
WOLVES KEEP APPLYING THE HEAT
With an afternoon cold snap sending the temperature gauge tumbling, the Wollongong Wolves kept up the heat at the top of the table from the chasing teams with a hard fought and notable win over the strong Sydney Olympic with a well-taken brace by Lachlan Scott being the achiever listed on the score sheet. However, it was a tough encounter with the Olympic attack going ever so close on occasions but could not breach the Wolves’ domain, with custodian and captain Justin Pasfield being ever so vigilant in keeping a clean sheet, with the defence scrambling decisively when required.
The Wolves kicked off the match running towards the southern end and sprayed a few passes together before the ball went into touch up field. Subsequently, recent Olympic signing and former Sydney FC player Riley Woodcock made a run down the left before delivering a cross for an initial opposition foray. The ball took a slight deflection but Pasfield was in the way to take and judge the flight of the ball. Woodcock was an imposing figure in this match on the left for his team with his overlapping and had a battle throughout the proceedings with the Wolves’ right defender Taylor McDonald with honours being even. Following, a long clearance kick by Olympic goalkeeper Paul Henderson was headed away by Nick Littler.
The Wolves team’s first attacking foray involved the league’s top scorer Thomas James. On receiving the ball on the right side, he eluded a marker before ultimately winning a corner kick. On nine minutes, James put in cross intended for Scott but was unable to reach it despite his endeavour. Playmaker and dead ball specialist James Stojcevski showed his defensive quality when he robbed the previous week’s scorer, Peter Kekeris to begin an attacking move. Later Kekeris moved the ball to Alejandro Sanchez, but the effort of club’s top scorer from 2018 did not meet his expectations with his header going over.
The home team from the half hour mark created a number of opportunities onwards. A shot on target from Harry Callahan from outside the box brought a diving save from Henderson. Good interplay by the Wolves ended up with Scott firing the ball narrowly wide. A few minutes later Stojcevski’s chance from outside the penalty area was tipped over by Henderson. The ensuing Stojcevski corner kick was curled in with both Littler and his compatriot Nikola Djordjevic going for the ball but both ended up in the back of the net themselves instead of the ball. In between James tried two shots in a row but was negated each time. Just before half time, Takeru Okada, who was set up by Scott, fired in a cross. James met the ball with a downward header that was taken by Henderson, an Olympic stalwart since 2011.
The first half was a cat and mouse scenario as each team played to their strengths but could not deliver the cutting edge. Each team had the their purple patch at differing times though the Wolves had marginally the better of play.
The second half began when Sanchez ventured forth from the right. This Olympic attempt nearly brought the home side undone, but alas it wasn’t to be. Woodcock set things in motion for Olympic as he cut across field from his left sided position to assist in attempting to spark his side.
Play was held up for some after Littler went down. He was provided attention after a head clash but returned to the field with a bandage around his nose and head, his look amusing some of his teammates.
In the fiftieth minute the scoreboard ticked over. Stojcevski threaded the ball to Okada in the penalty area. He proceeded to rain in a shot. Henderson, though was to the fore to save, but he could not keep hold. The ball ran free with Scott, from close vicinity, able to project the ball into the goal through a milieu of Olympic players for his seventh goal of the season.
A minute later, Olympic looked to address the score line when Woodcock got into a favourable position to pull the trigger. However, just as he about to just that, Littler was there to block. McDonald won a header which Woodcock also vied for following one of Henderson’s long clearance kicks and Kekeris tired to curl the ball in after Sanchez was involved earlier.
The Wolves kept probing to enhance their advantage while Olympic strived to get back into the match. Price won a header in a duel with Mitchell Stamatellis to lead an attack which concluded with Scott attempting to control but the ball ran away before he could do so. Will Angel shot wide near the hour mark and Woodcock’s forward progress was stopped in its track by McDonald.
A free kick and corner kick applied some pressure for the Wolves defence. The Nicola Kuleseki free kick was headed out and Pasfield grasped Jason Madonis’ corner. Price then blocked Sanchez. Littler went down to block a Kekeris effort from close range. Another shot by Olympic hit the post with Sanchez and Zac Mackenzie involved with the ensuing goalmouth scramble nearly proving successful for Olympic and disastrous for the Wolves. However, the ball miraculously stayed out. The Wolves were living dangerously at this juncture. Another shot by Kekeris flew over before Djordjevic effectively thwarted two Olympic shots in succession. Guy Knight intercepted a pass to halt the progress momentarily before Woodcock blasted over.
Price battled for the ball with Kuleski before the ball later flew across the face of Olympics’ goal with no one was on spot to capitalize.
However, Scott brought up his brace with eight minutes left in the regulation time period. On receipt of the ball from the right from near the periphery of the penalty area, he provided a shot, which zoomed into the goal to the right lower corner of the goal to secure his team’s advantage.
Scant time later, the Wolves nearly brought up number three when McDonald’s great shot from out of the box whizzed narrowly past the post.
In four minutes added on, the Wolves had to scramble again as substitute Harris Gaitatzis looked to take benefit and at the opposite end Henderson ventured out of his area to get to the ball before James arrived.
The Wolves maintain their standing at the top of the pops for the sixteenth successive week, a club record. It was a hard fought win and Olympic kept the opposition up the mark. Next week’s opposition is Mt Druitt Town Rangers, a team that the Wolves have not defeated in two attempts this season.
Coach Luke Wilkshire - ‘It was a tough game. We got in front and credit to Olympic they made a game of it. In the second half and credit to our boys we scrambled when we needed to and we have not been put under that sort of pressure like that before in the second half. We showed grit and determination to get through that and weather the storm and get the second goal…. In the first half we should have been in front, we played some good early football. We want to win every game. In the end we are very happy with the three points’.
Brace goal scorer Lachlan Scott - ‘we started well and played some really good football first half and eventually by doing that we got the goal early in the second half. We were under the pump after scoring a bit and they had a few a couple of chances, but we did really to defend well and came out with another… Had a close one in the first half with TJ in combination at the end of the box but it was a bit unlucky not to go in…. we all work hard for each other and you have to get back and defend and that is one of the reasons we are at the top.’
Enterprising right wingback Taylor McDonald - ‘it was a gutsy performance and as the saying goes strikers win games and defenders win championships and we are happy with the three points….He (Woodcock) is a good player and full credit. He made me work for it…. I’m pretty happy’.
Offensive midfielder Takeru Okada - ‘in the first forty-five we couldn’t score as they had a good structure. We played better in the second half to get our goals but in the last ten minutes Sydney Olympic had many chances.’ (Thanks to Assistant coach Yuzo Tashiro for interpreting.)
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ……………………2
Lachlan Scott 50’ 82’
SYDNEY OLYMPIC .………………..…………. 0
@ WIN STADIUM, WOLLONGONG
SUNDAY 23rdJune 2019
3.00 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Luke Wilkshire
1.Justin Pasfield (GK) (Capt.) 2.Taylor McDonald 4.Nikola Djordjevic 16.Guy Knight 7.Chris Price 9.Thomas James 11.Takeru Okada 14.Harry Callahan (3.Darcy Madden 70’) 15.Nick Littler 17.James Stojcevski (6.Ben Tosi 87’) 24.Lachlan Scott (Jordan Nikolovski 89’).
Substitutes not used: 12.Luke Kairies 13.Stefan Dimoski
Yellow Cards: Nick Littler 22’ James Stojcevski 86’
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Abbas Saad
1.Paul Henderson 3.Riley Woodcock 4.Mitch Stamatellis 6.Nicola Kuleski 7.Will Angel (2.Thomas Whiteside 84’) 8.Jason Madonis (Capt.) (10.Harris Gaitatzis 66’) 9.Radovan Pavicevic (33.Niko Tsattalios 70’) 11.Jinya An, 12.Zach MacKenzie, 14.Alex Sanchez, 44.Peter Kekeris
Substitutes not used:20.Eze Consoni 22.Michael Gaitatzis19.Darcy Burgess
Yellow Cards: 7.Will Angel 77’
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Katie Patterson
Assistant Referees: Matthew McOrist, M. Staples
Fourth Official: L.Webb
By Malcolm Rowney