2023 NPL MENS 1 ROUND 19
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v BULLS FC ACADEMY
WOLVES EARN HOME VICTORY OVER BULLS
The Wolves have achieved their fourth home victory of the 2023 season with a 2-0 defeat of the young Bulls FC Academy side coached by former World Cup Socceroo goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac. A brace to captain Lachlan Scott, his second this season and his tenth overall for the Wolves, set the tone of this match as he was deadly in front of goal, he held the ball up for his supports in attack and got back to defend when required. The Bulls were lively but were caught offside on many occasions and were not clinical enough when they had the opportunity though they were to the fore in the second half. Prior to the kick off a minute’s silence was observed in memory of Rale Rasic, the 1974 World Cup Socceroos coach and always advocate for Australian football, who passed on during the week.
The Bulls came into this fixture with five defeats on the trot while the Wolves results sequence was draw, draw, loss, win and loss. In the previous encounters between the two clubs, the Wolves have totalled eleven goals while the Bulls have six, together with two wins each with one draw since 2020. The Bulls had four nil scores this season as against the Wolves six and in addition, nine players from each team have been the scorers.
The Bulls FC Academy got the proceedings underway with the Wolves running towards the southern end, seemingly a usual trend. The Bulls began in a lively fashion with the ball being moved at pace. An attack by Jesper Wells who made a quick break through after being put through by Mason Wells, rounded the Wolves’ custodian Tomas Butkovic to shoot but was pulled back for offside, the first of other such actions. The Wolves’ Ethan Beaven defused another Bulls’ foray. He made a timely interception.
Anthony Krilic was on target after six minutes but his effort went over. The Wolves’ midfielder Samuel Riak passed to Takumi Ofuka who was back in the line-up after injury, eluded a player to then have a one two pass with Jake Trew. On receiving the ball back, he burst forward only for central defender Theph Theph to intervene.
Alex Masciovecchio enacted a charge forward eluding players on the way, but Theph stopped his advance. A later foray saw Lachlan Scott setting Masciovecchio up but he could not pull the trigger. However, the Wolves would not have to wait much longer for the game breaker.
The first goal emanated when Marcus Beattie collected a stray Bulls’ pass on his team’s side of the half way line. He provided a straight low pass up to Jake Trew. He subsequently motored forward for a few strides on the right before his enticing crossing curled into the centre. Fellow striker Lachlan Scott made a run and he arrived at the same time as the custodian did. Scott managed a touch from close vicinity to propel the ball into the net near the Bulls custodian Griffin Barry’s right post.
Six minutes later, the Wolves struck again to garner a two-goal lead. Intrepid wing/back Walter Scott was attacking in the penalty area but two defenders descended on him close to goal with Theph finally conceding a corner kick. From the left corner, Alex Masciovecchio whipped the ball in and Lachlan Scott was the first to the ball with a flicked header that flew decisively into the goal.
In between the goals, Walter Scott roared into the box and with the outside of boot shot. It was a powerful effort but Barry managed to thwart. Ofuka displayed his quick feet and slick ball control as he progressed forward. He lost possession momentarily and regained the ball. In scant time following Masciovecchio, sent by Lachlan Scott moved in close to the goal. Joy was not forthcoming.
Not to be undaunted, the Bulls’ Wells placed an attractive cross in. Butkovic dived to punch out and copped a knock on his follow through. A Walter Scott corner was met at the far post by Beaven but his header could not beat Barry. A minute shy of the half hour, Masciovecchio set forth for the goal, unfortunately firing over in the process.
Wells attempted to sweep the ball into the Wolves goal and Flynn Madden put his effort narrowly wide. The Bulls were having trouble breaching the Wolves’ domain.
As the half was nearing its conclusion, a Beattie shot whizzed in on target. However, Barry was able to prevent but he could not hold and a corner kick was the upshot.
With two minutes extra played, Trew had a chance for his team’s third goal but he hit it wide.
With a two-goal buffer, the Wolves were in the box seat and the Bulls had it all to do.
Webber looked to get his team onto the scoreboard early in the second half when he crossed in the box with nary a teammate in the vicinity to take advantage of his good work. At the other end McStay had a pot shot to keep the Bulls defence on their toes as a reminder. The Bulls’ Lachlan Mcdonald had an effort that was not converted and substitute Stephan de Robillard, with a tally of one goal this season, put his shot over.
The Wolves went into their shell somewhat in the second half in order to protect their lead allowing the Bulls to do most of the attacking. On sixty-four minutes, the Bulls had a good opportunity to get one back through Isaac Hovar. Alas, he did have requisite power to trouble Butkovic. Walter Scott blocked Ayman Gulasi’s attempt and a Macdonald hit failed to elicit pay dirt. The Wolves Banri Kanaizumi cleared as Gulasi looked dangerous. Wells cut a pass back. However, Kanaizumi read the play and intercepted.
A McStay shot was blocked before Daanish Awaz made inroads getting past a host of players but try, as he might, could not alter the scoreboard. Webber had a chance late. He received the ball and turned and shot with Butkovic going to down to snuff out the threat.
The Wolves had won the game and a valuable three points to get them above the lower teams who are fighting to avoid relegation. The Bulls have a sixth defeat in succession which must be concerning for the club.
With this result, the Wolves have achieved eight clean sheets this campaign, which equals those in the 1982, 1987,1999/2000 seasons, which is only bettered at this stage by nine in 1990/9, ten in 2019, eleven in 1989 and 2008 and thirteen in 1991/90. This team with ten games remaining may surpass all.
Coach David Carney – ‘yes a clean sheet and three points…. The first half was excellent and with the second half being 2-0, and what has happened with the results over past games we were scared a little and it has affected our mentality but we will get over that. In the second half we should have gone for a third. We held back and they got men forward and they pinned us back a bit… … The lads were great and I can’t fault them… We were outstanding last week against Marconi and should have won only for the late goal but the performance itself was excellent. If we carry on like this we will climb up the table.’
Captain Lachlan Scott – ‘Yeah we got win. We started out pretty strong and in the second half we dipped a little bit and probably let our guard down and that is something we will have to work on for next week’ …Another brace? – ‘I have hit the cross bar and the post a couple of times in the last few weeks and I thought it (a brace) was coming tonight. It was still to get it… We have a good young squad here and we keep learning from each other and bringing others into play (by holding the ball up) is something I like to do…. We have kept a number of clean sheets over the last five weeks and hopefully we will keep this up and it will go a lot long way in winning more game … It is always good to be here.’
WOLLONGONG WOLVES F.C.………………2
Lachlan Scott 14’ 19’
BULLS F.C. ACADEMY…………………………….0
Friday 9th June 2023
7.30 p.m. kick off
Coach: David Carney
13.Tomas Butkovic GK 5.Banri Kanaizumi 7.Marcus Beattie 8.Samuel Riak 9.Takumi Ofuka (11.Nav Darjani 81) 14.Jake Trew 21.Ethan Beaven 23.Walter Scott 24.Lachlan Scott (Capt.) 25.Alex Masciovecchio (6.Senna Stevenson 71’) 88.Chris McStay
Subs not used: 1.RGK Nenad Vekic 4.Dax Kelly10.Damon Gray 17.Jake Lavalle
Yellow Cards: Chris McStay
Red Cards: Nil
BULLS ACADEMY FC
Coach: Zeljko Kalac
40.Griffin Barry (GK) 2.Anthony Krilic (11.Stephan De Robillard 25’) 3.Theph Theph 8. Mason Wells 19.Jesper Webber 21.Lachlan MacDonald (Luka Sterjovski 80’) 22.Edward Caspers 23.Flynn Madden (10.Ayman Gulasi 65’) 24.Dean Bosnjak (31.Daanish Awaz 65’) 32.Isaac Hovar 53. Joel Bertolissio (Capt.)
Substitutes not used: 41.Patrick Williams 29. Michael Marcevski
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Karl Davies
Assistant Referees: Matthew Harris and Hayden Michlmayr
Fourth Official: Brodie Merchant
By Malcolm Rowney