2023 NPL NSW MENS1 ROUND 3
WOLLONGONG WOLVES V MARCONI STALLIONS
STALLIONS GALLOP AWAY FROM WOLVES
With a 0-0 score at half time, opportunities that were presented failed to be taken during the first half, Marconi produced a four-goal onslaught that took the Wolves apart from near the hour mark. This was the Wolves first defeat of the season, but however not the biggest defeat by the Stallions, which was 7-0, inflicted in 2009.
Marconi kicked off proceedings and the Wolves were running towards the northern grandstand. Both teams began in earnest. Earlier attacking forays by Marconi saw Dominic Costanzo attack. He would have a big part to play later in the match. In the fifth minute, he was in a positive position but his effort flew over the bar. The Wolves Banri Kanaizumi shielded the ball over for goal kicks on two occasions to suppress Marconi forays as Marko Jesic and Hiroaki Aoyama harassed.
Mira Muratovic did well to win possession but nothing of any consequence was achieved as Taylor McDonald cleared. On ten minutes, the Wolves custodian dispatched a long pass up to Joshua Macdonald but McDonald tackled to win the ball. Earlier, Macdonald had made inroads down the left. Moving inward, his subsequent shot traversed over. The Wolves custodian Tomas Butkovic moved out of his box to beat Jesic to the ball and see off the danger.
Walter Scott crossed from the left on twenty-five minutes as he looked to provide a scoring opportunity. However, Liam McGing was there to intervene. Prior, McDonald effort charged wide. A minute later, at the other end following a corner kick, Macdonald headed wide as he tried to get the Wolves in front.
Marconi were breaking quickly and putting pressure on the Wolves defence.
After half hour had elapsed, Kanaizumi met a corner kick with a powerful header which thumped into the cross bar, the Wolves being oh, so close. Macdonald on the left made inroads before Chris McStay chanced a shot, which zoomed past the post.
Liam Youlley found himself in goal range. He looked up to survey the scene and then lit the cannon, only for his effort to go skywards. Macdonald chanced a shot, which went wide
As time progressed in the half, Buesnel won possession and began a promising move. Unfortunately, Muratovic from outside the box sent his scoring opportunity high.
Both teams had moments of offense but could not change the numbers on the scoreboard. The first half did not adequately show the portents of what was to come.
The second half began with much to play for and it was not long Marconi looked to draw first blood. An own goal nearly occurred when Kanaizumi attempted to clear with a header. Only, it struck the post. At the opposite end, a Beattie cross from the right caused some consternation but the Marconi custodian Jack Gibson got down to smother the endeavour. Marconi had changed gears and was becoming more dangerous.
The game breaker emanated one minute shy of the hour mark when Marconi had won a corner kick following Jordan Swibel marauding run and sustained a knock from a tackle and went down The resultant free kick was kept out by the Wolves, but conceded a corner kick. From the left side, Dominic Costanzo guided the ball to the far post and Taylor Macdonald was present and first to the ball, to head it into the goal to score against his former club and post his first goal for the season.
The Wolves looked to reply quickly and Mirza Muratovic had his effort saved by the Marconi custodian, Jack Gibson after Marcus Beattie, Chris McStay Lachlan Scott and Takumi Ofuka were all involved in the lead-up.
Usually reliable Kanaizumi tried to flick the ball over to Buesnel but the pass fell short with Hiroakai Aoyama collecting the errant ball. He subsequently angled it to Costanzo, who sprinted into the penalty area. Kanaizumi and Beattie tried to exercise damage control. However, Costanzo propped and got the ball onto his right foot and gave the Wolves custodian little chance of preventing.
Five minutes later, Marconi achieved their third goal. A Buesnel pass into the air was supposed to reach McStay who battled with Costanzo. The Marconi attack instigator ultimately won the header. The ball then fell into the path of Jordan Swibel and the former Sydney FC sharpshooter attained his third in three games by rifling the ball home from close vicinity.
On seventy-six minutes, McStay produced a hollow pass and Costanzo took advantage and moved forward before releasing a scything pass into the path of Marko Jesic. A Kanaizumi tackle saw the ball bounce fortuitously off his legs. The perennial goal scorer put the ball into the left side of the goal from his position on the right.
In time added on, Marconi looked to score fifth goal when Giorgio Speranza produced a powerful shot, which rocketed towards the Wolves’ domain. It looked likely but Butkovic rebuffed the chance by pulling off a top line save.
The Wolves were a match for the Marconi (which had produced six goals in the previous two matches) in the first half, but seemingly did not respond adequately when Marconi upped the ante. Some errant passes did not assist matters. Marconi finished off what they started in Round 2 and has now scored ten goals. They were clinical in their exertions.
Wolves goalkeeper Tomas Butkovic -‘It was a tough game. In the first half, we played them off the park I think and were all over them. In the second half I don’t know what happened, maybe we thought that they would come out and play like they did in the first half. We took our foot off and took it a bit easy. They are an experienced team with a lot of leaders. They proved themselves and did not stop and got four goals and we gave them three goals one on one. … They break quickly and they are a pretty tough group…. I have been working hard all the last three years that I have been here and this year I have just got my chance. Lucky that Nenad was suspended for the first week. Nenad is a great mentor, but in saying that I can keep his spot. Thank you’.
Marconi first goal scorer Taylor McDonald – ‘It’s always good to score (against former team) in a bittersweet way. The club was always good to me and I did not want to put the nail in the coffin but it was good to get the goal and get the confidence up. Hopefully I can go with it. … The first half was a different story. We had to re-gather at half time and stick to the plan to keep the ball on the deck.’
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ………..0
Taylor McDonald 59’ Dominic Costanzo 62’ Jordan Swibel 67’ Marko Jesic 76’
Friday 17th February 2023
7.30 p.m. kick off
Coach: David Carney
13.Tomas Butkovic 3.Harrison Buesnel 5.Banri Kanaizumi 7.Marcus Beattie 8.Samuel Riak 9.Takumi Ofuka 10.Mirza Muratovic 23.Walter Scott, 24.Lachlan Scott (Capt.) (14.Jake Trew 75’) 88.Chris McStay 99.Joshua MacDonald (25.Alex Masciovecchio 59’)
Subs not used: 1.Nenad Vekic 6.Senna Stevenson 15.Ethan Beaven
Yellow Cards: Samuel Riak 13’ Joshua Macdonald 41’ Harrison Buesnel 56’
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Peter Tsekenis
20.Jack Gibson 2.Nathan Millgate 3.Giorgio Speranza 5.Liam McGing (4.Roberto Speranza 72’) 6.Domenic Costanzo (17.Martin Fernandez 81’) 8.Hirokai Aoyama 9.Jordan Swibel (19.Kyle Cimenti 76’) 10.Marko Jesic (C) 16.Liam Youlley (11.Daniel Bouman 76’) 22.Taylor McDonald 23.Brandon Vella.
Substitutes not used: 1.Nathan Foster 13.Aleksander Duricic
Yellow Cards: Liam McGing 39’
Red Cards: Nil
Referee – Karl Davies
Assistant Referees – Matt Staples and Matthew Harris
Fourth Official – Brodie Merchant
By Malcolm Rowney