2018 NPL NSW MENS 1 ROUND 19
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v APIA LEICHHARDT
WOLVES LEAD EARLY, ONLY FOR APIA TO DRAW LATE
The Wolves led for upwards of ninety minutes and needed to hold on for a just few more to emerge the victors of this Round 19 tie, only for the league’s top team, APIA Leichhardt to equalize late in the five minutes added on period. This was a heart breaking manner for the home team after such a gallant effort and a get out of gaol free ticket for the unrelenting team from Lambert Park.
PHOTOS ABOVE by PEDRO GARCIA Photography!
The Wolves’ top scorer Peter Simonoski scored his team’s quickest goal of the 2018 campaign when he goaled in the second minute. APIA came up with the equaliser through Sean Symons in the 93rd minute.
APIA kicked off proceedings with the Wolves running towards the southern end.
Captain Nick Montgomery closed down playmaker Tasuku Sekiya with a definite statement of intent, and it was not long after that the Wolves powered ahead. Steve Hayes had passed to Darcy Madden before he in turn played the ball parallel to the sideline for Hayes to run onto. Hayes travelled a little further before passing it on to Yuzo Tashiro. The Japanese striker crossed the ball to the far post where Peter Simonoski was lurking. He headed home to beat the APIA experienced custodian, Ivan Necevski, a former A-League shot stopper with Sydney FC, Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets.
APIA looked to bounce back quickly when APIA ‘s top scorer, Jordan Murray, was presented with a scoring opportunity that unfortunately for the away team, it ultimately went wide of the target. Scant time later, APIA’s Nathan Millgate, while in the crowded penalty area, hooked the ball over.
Around the quarter of an hour mark, APIA who by this stage were mounting attacks with regularity to keep the Wolves pinned in their own half for long periods of time, shouted for a penalty but this went unheeded. A Joshua Symons corner kick emanated with central defender Michael Robinson dispossessing Sekiya. However, possession was restored and Howard Fondyke and Symons were involved before a grateful Wolves’ custodian Justin Pasfield took a Fondyke header. Following Ryan Ensor prevented Sekiya from extending his enterprising attacking run.
The Wolves defence was standing firm and handled APIA’s attacking thrusts with Pasfield, with his match saving efforts, Robinson with a safe interventions, timely tackles together with Madden, winning the ball, mounting attacks, bringing the ball out of defence all with standout performances in a team of good performances.
The Wolves broke the shackles on occasions and had opportunities to increase their tally. Hayes sent Simonoski through but his subsequent targeted effort was prevented from going further by Joshua Symons.
Millgate headed away a Montgomery floated ball in before Adrian Ucchino’s soaring attempt flew narrowly over.
Near to the half hour mark, Luke Wilkshire played the ball into the box with a number of players from both sides vying to get a touch. The ball was diverted by Tashiro and struck the far post and stayed out, much the Wolves’ chagrin.
Pasfield left his line to gain possession of the ball as Murray ran onto an incisive pass in a threatening action and at the other end Necevski dribbled the ball out, changed direction quickly, to elude a flying Simonoski.
The half concluded after the ball went around in the box for some time that concluded with a Joshua Symons header traversing straight to Pasfield from close range. Symons was put through by Murray but skied his effort from within close distance of the target.
The Wolves had kept their lead at the half time break with sterling defensive work and a well-taken early goal. APIA for all their attacking concentration had nothing to show for their exertions.
The second half began when former Socceroo Wilkshire passed up field early for Simonoski but a positive outcome was not to be achieved. Robinson, as the last man, got the ball from the feet of a dangerous Corey Biczo and then immediately got the better of Sean Symons.
In the fifty-first minute, Simonoski split open the defence at speed before laying a pass to the right for Hayes. He had a good sight on goal and shot. However, Necevski was positioned correctly to thwart and negate this Wolves opportunity. Robison headed away a Biczo cross, a Hayes pass to Simonoski had the result of Themba Muata-Marlow stopping Simonoski in his tracks before a backwards Madden header found Montgomery who endeavoured to beat Necevski.
Near the hour mark, a Murray free kick eluded the defensive wall and homed in on the goal. Pasfield pulled off a stunning save to deny.
Wave after wave of APIA’s attacks could not breach the Wolves stubborn defensive line. Robinson headed away a Biczo cross, Muata-Marlow pass found Millgate who spooned it onto Pasfield and a Millgate cross was blocked by Chris Price before Millgate’s ensuing shot was taken by Pasfield. Montgomery was doing a mountain work in midfield and his efforts assisted the team magnificently.
The Wolves had cause to appeal for a penalty in the seventy-fourth minute when Simonoski had run onto an enticing pass from Madden and was brought to the ground with a seemingly poor tackle. The crowd went up, as did the home team, only for the referee to reject the appeal outright and signal for a corner kick.
With five minutes of normal time to go, from a free kick Sekiya was in possession and he steamed at an angle towards the Wolves’ goal. Within target range he let fly only for Pasfield to pull off a monumental save to deny.
At the far post Sean Symons produced a diving header late in the match from close vicinity to save a defeat and to earn his high flying team a point for his sixth league goal of the season. He had met a luring cross from substitute and APIA stalwart of twelve years standing, Franco Parisi.
The Wolves had soaked up a lot of pressure throughout the match and held firm for the vast majority but the quality of the APIA team saved them in the end. APIA remain in top position through a superior goal difference on equal points with Sydney Olympic while the Wolves stay in eighth position.
Wolves’ coach Jacob Timpano - ‘we worked hard all game and let ourselves down for a minute. We had a couple of chances to make it two nil but we didn’t take them. We defended well. They are top of table and this shows where we really should be but is not for the moments in the game when we shoot ourselves in the foot.
Defender Michael Robinson - ‘we defended very well and even had the chances to put the game to bed. 88 minutes or something we were in the lead, very disappointing…. It really doesn’t mean much the draw… They threw everything at us and did not have many clear chances. We had more than them. They had a lot of possession but did nothing with it. We had a few on the counter…they threw men forward at the end and it fell to one of their players (to score)…. We kept him (Murray) pretty quiet today…. We will keep going, it is a bunch of awesome lads to be on the park with.’
APIA goalkeeper Ivan Necevski - ‘we left it a little late to be honest. Our second halves have been brilliant this year we managed to score a least two or three in the second half. Credit to Wollongong. Justin Pasfield kept them in the game at one nil with some great saves. We are a 100% team so we can come over the top of teams we are very fit so we will take the point…He (Murray) is the leading goal scorer and has a lot of A-League interest and he might move on to the different level and it is good for us when he is banging in all the goals. We play Port Melbourne in the FFA Cup and then United next week…. It is a hard to place to come to with the fans coming out to provide good support. We will take the draw and the point.
APIA’s NPL top scorer Jordan Murray - ‘we finally got the draw and the Wolves made it hard…. This ground is certainly familiar. I have some A-league interest and we have some big games coming up. The Cup win against Hakoah was good last week.‘
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ………………..1
Peter Simonoski 2’
APIA LEICHHARDT .…………………….…1
Sean Symons 93’
@ WIN STADIUM, WOLLONGONG
SATURDAY 21st JULY 2018
7.00 p.m. Kick Off
Coach: Jacob Timpano
1.Justin Pasfield (GK) 3.Darcy Madden 4.Michael Robinson 17.Ryan Ensor 5.James Baldacchino 6.Nick Montgomery 7.Chris Price 9.Peter Simonoski (40.Takuya Nozawa 92’) 23.Steve Hayes (Ethan Kambisios 82’) 30.Yuzo Tashiro 26.Luke Wilkshire (8.Brendan Griffin 78’).
Substitutes not used: RGK 16.Luke Kairies 11.James Karli
Yellow Cards: Ryan Ensor 45’
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Billy McColl
1.Ivan Necevski, 2.Nathan Millgate 3.Paul Galimi 4.Joshua Symons, 7.Howard Fondyke 8.Corey Biczo (10.Franco Parisi 67’) 11.Jordan Murray 15.Themba Muata-Marlow 16.Sean Symons 18.Adrian Ucchino 20.Tasuku Sekiya
Substitutes not used: 17.Samuel Gulisano 21.Jack Armson 22.Blake Tuxford
Yellow Cards: Joshua Symons 32’
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Craig Fisher
Assistant Referees: Nathan Wotton and C. Wright
Fourth Official: Sebastian Andrews
By Malcolm Rowney