May 15, 2023

2023 NPL MENS 1 ROUND 15



Despite a plethora of opportunities, the Wollongong Wolves achieved a clean sheet and a point in their match up with the Mount Druitt Town Rangers and could rue the fact that it should have been a victory.  Both teams had their chances with no one being able to pull the trigger when it mattered most. With sixteen corner kicks in the match, eleven to five to the home team, pressure was exerted. With a corresponding stalemate in the previous round it was a frustrating affair for the Wolves. However they had much of the first half. However, all too often shots went straight to the custodians. This however, was not a match for purists.

The Wolves’ ten match history with the Rangers saw two cup and four league wins to the home side and one cup and two league victories to the Rangers with the first meeting being held in 2015. One match was a draw in the league.

Top scorers coming into this match were Nikola Skataric (MDTR) with five and Lachlan Scott and Jake Trew (WW) with six apiece. In the previous round match it was a 0-0 draw, the second such result this season.

The match began with the Wolves running in a southerly direction with Mt. Druitt kicking off. The yellow and green team saw Daniel Dias sending the ball forward after his team’ early touches.  Scant time later, Ethan Beaven and Marcus Beattie combined to test the mettle of the Rangers defence. Beaven, the former Sydney United and Central Coast NPL defender, has made the right defender position his own with his sterling defence and provision of crosses and passes in aiding attacking manoeuvres.

The first corner in the match was to the Town Rangers in the fourth minute. Prior, Diaz received a Tomas Butkovic clearance and pushed to ball to his right for Will Harvey.  The ball was then whipped into the box. Banri Kanaizumi intercepted throwing out a leg but the consummate central defender could not direct the ball where he wanted. A corner kick conceded was the outcome. Jackson Bandiera curled the ball in from the right with Butkovic taking the ball with relative ease.

Kanaizumi provided a long ball up to Lachlan Scott wide on the left. He moved with two defenders in tow. His effort alas hit the side netting.

Three minutes later, Samuel Riak provided a pass across to Harrison Buesnel then up to Beaven. He moved forward in possession before slipping a pass for Beattie. He in turn attempted to cross, but Cooper Coskerie intervened and another corner kick emanated. Walter Scott sent the ball in from the left to the far post area. Harrison Buesnel managed a good header but he could not direct it on target, with his effort bulging the out side netting.

The very experienced Town Ranger, Tarek Elrich surged forward looking to spark an affray. A second corner kick for the Wolves saw Lachlan Scott having a shot that was blocked by custodian Dylan Niski, before Beattie ploughed the rebound in. Unfortunately his attempt went high.

During the match there some errant passes which were played which went straight to the opposition. The Wolves were on the front foot looking for openings.

Beaven crossed from the right with Coskerie sticking out a foot to see off the danger. A Rangers free kick saw Anthony Frangie stepping up to take. From two metres outside the penalty arc, he powered in his shot. Lamentably for him and his team, his effort flashed narrowly past the post. This was a good opportunity. Jarrod Macerola attempted to sweep the ball into the goal but the Wolves defence won out.

Chris McStay rampaged down the middle in a progressive run in order to get things moving and Beaven whipped in a cross after he and Beattie had combined prior.  The cross flew across the face of goal with nary a touch. Alex Masciovecchio latched onto a Walter Scott corner kick to propel the ball wide and high. Lachlan Scott enacted a stinging shot that Niski palmed away to deny. Another Wolves’ corner kick allowed Kanaizumi to head down and Samuel Riak from close vicinity, tried to back heel the ball into the goal. The defence managed to defuse this situation. A Mt Druitt corner kick in the minute added on went straight to Butkovic and he held the ball safely.

There was much to play after the half time break.

A Buesnel header travelled wide of the post as the Wolves looked to impose themselves more on proceedings as the second half got under way.

Before scant time Jackson Bandiera weaved his way through in an enterprising run but his ultimate shot powered past the near post. A later Frangie attempt flew straight to Butkovic and he took it gratefully. Jake Trew put a shot over the bar for a response.

The Wolves were maintaining pressure in the Mt Druitt half with McStay, Beattie, Trew, Walter Scott, Masciovecchio and Beaven before Trew was brought down and the Rangers came away with the ball.  Anthony Gallo made a run down the centre before pushing the ball out to the right for Dias. He then moved the ball to Harvey, who subsequently slotted the ball to Kotaro Katsuta on his left. Katsuta tried to deceive Kanaizumi and Butkovic. However, there was no power on Katsuta’s shot and Butkovic gathered the ball into his clutches.

Both teams were eagerly looking for the game changer but it was not forth coming. Trew crossed after the hour mark and personnel were not there to take advantage.  He came in from the left later and provided a shot that unluckily flew to Niski.

Mt Druitt’s top scorer, Skataric came on as a substitute and he very nearly added to his tally. However, his shot travelled from inside the penalty area and skipped across the face of goal.  Prior, Harvey sent the ball in from the right side and Butkovic grabbed to see off the danger.

Trew won a corner kick and the upshot was Masciovecchio’s attempted shot was blocked and following another corner kick Lachlan Scott put Beattie through. However, no joy was to behold.

Rhett Desilva put his shot five rows back in the stand before Skataric made a bullish ground breaking run before. A Rangers corner kick was cleared with a McStay header and an example of how things were going, a McStay long pass to Lachlan Scott hit him on the back and Mt Druitt came away with the ball.

The match grounded to a halt and both teams had a share of the spoils. Keeping a clean sheet tonight was the three hundred and twenty-fifth time since 1981 for the Wolves. It was the sixtieth time for a 0-0-draw result. In addition, this was also the fourth time this season that the team neglected to score and Mt Druitt’s sixth time likewise. This dearth of goals in the last two matches is a concerning issue for the home team. May the team be on song versus APIA Leichhardt.

Wolves right sided defender Ethan Beaven who came into the team for Round 8 and every game since with an earlier substitute appearance in Round 4 stated post match – ‘I got my opportunity. I’m not a typical wing/back but came in to do my defensive work and do my job…. It was frustrating.  We dominated, had heaps of opportunities to score with set pieces and all that. Just our final pass, our decisions …  we take the clean sheet and the point and we have APIA next week.




@WIN Stadium

Friday 12th May 2023

7.30 p.m. kick off


Coach: David Carney

13.Tomas Butkovic 3.Harrison Buesnel 5.Banri Kanaizumi 8.Samuel Riak  (6.Senna Stevenson) 7.Marcus Beattie 14.Jake Trew 21.Ethan Beaven (Nav Darjani 72’ ) 23.Walter Scott 24.Lachlan Scott (Capt.) 25.Alex Masciovecchio 88.Chris McStay

Subs not used: 1.Nenad Vekic 17.Jake Lavalle 29.Ben Giason

Yellow Cards: Samuel Riak 63’

Red Cards: Nil


Coach: Stewart Montgomery

20.Dylan Niski GK 4.Cooper Coskerie 5.Jacob Esposito 6.Jared Macerola 10.Kotaro Katsuta 11.Jackson Bandiera 12.Will Harvey (43. Abdelelah Faisal) 15.Anthony Gallo (22. Rhett Desilva 73’) 21.Tarek Elrich 23. Daniel Dias, 44. Anthony Frangie (7.Nikola Skataric 63’)

Substitutes not used: 1.Robert Fanella GK 27.Stefan Nikolic   41.Ivan Sunjic

Yellow Cards: Nil

Red Cards: Nil

Referee:  Sebastian Andrews

Assistant Referees: Matt Staples and Alexis Johnson

Fourth Official: Brodie Merchant

By Malcolm Rowney