2023 NPL NSW MENS 1 ROUND 6
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v ROCKDALE ILINDEN
WOLVES ROCKED BY ROCKDALE’S FIRST HALF PREFORMANCE
The Wolves sustained their second defeat of the season after going down to the high flying Rockdale Ilinden by 3-1, after coughing up three goals in the first half, and two within a minute of each other. With a brace to Jaden Casella and one to the club’s top scorer Alec Urosevski of at least four years standing, Rockdale added to their recent successes. This was his eighth goal against the Wolves. However, as a consolation, the Wolves in a much better display in the second half, scored the only goal, courtesy of Mira Muratovic, and achieved a clean sheet. Never-the-less, the damage was done earlier in the proceedings and Rockdale earned the spoils.
Coached by Paul Dee, who, as a player he made one substitute appearance for the Wolves in the 1992/93 NSL season, Rockdale in this game has attained a fifth victory and scored thirteen goals while the Wolves now have two wins, scoring eight goals. Before this fixture Wollongong Wolves occupied seventh position while Rockdale were placed second on goal difference.
Rockdale kicked off, with the Wolves were running towards the southern stand. The first shot fired in anger was by Wollongong’s left wing/back Walter Scott, who made a searching run up field, but an early home goal was not to be.
Harrison Buesnel headed out in the ninth minute as the visitors applied pressure and two minutes on Urosevski made ground down the left before cutting the ball back to Brendan Cholakian but nothing came of it as the Wolves custodian smother the shot.
Rockdale, on this attacking raid gained the advantage when they hit pay dirt on thirteen minutes. The ball was not adequately cleared as Rockdale applied pressure and Alec Urosevski got a foot in at the opportune time. The ball was deflected high over to where Scott and Casella were positioned. Casella gained the touch and slotted the ball to Urosevski. He subsequently produced a stinging shot from just inside the penalty area. The Wolves custodian was off his line as the ball came to towards the goal. He managed to prevent the shot’s success by going low. However, he could only push the ball away. The ever-vigilant Casella pounced on the loose ball to fire it high into the unoccupied goal as a diving Scott failed in vain to keep it out.
Coach Carney made an early substitute by bringing Scott off in the twentieth minute for Alex Masciovecchio. The former Rockdale player and Sutherland player certainly made a good display with his attacking forays and verve. Scant time later, Takumi Ofuka worked his way into the penalty area with Sorge keeping close tabs on him.
On twenty-seven minutes on the counter attack, McStay brought the ball forward determinedly before Sorge took him down. He in turn earned a yellow card for his trouble. Marcus Beattie brought the ball into the box but failed to beat a defender who intervened. Samuel Riak, who was working diligently in the midfield with his probing passes, won a heading duel with the dangerous Urosevski to set back the Rockdale attack momentarily.
Though on thirty-one minutes, Rockdale skipped out to a 2-0 lead. Isaac Danzo lifted the ball over the defensive line and the run of Casella beat the offside trap. Vekic came out but Casella buried the ball into the goal with a strong right-footed effort.
A minute later, the Wolves had trouble making passes stick and getting out of their own half from the kick off as four players were involved. The ball deflected unluckily off a Wolves player who was unbalanced at the time fortuitously into the path of Urosevski. He homed in between the two central defenders Kanaizumi and Buesnel to project the ball into the goal from the edge of the penalty arc with his left foot over the desperate Vekic.
A few minutes later, Urosevski looked to cause further consternation but Kanaizumi, former teammate of the gun striker at Rockdale, had a battle for possession and eventually came away with the prize.
The Wolves’ foray into the Rockdale penalty area saw McStay with an opportunity in front of goal. Alas, he could not keep his effort down and it flew over the target. This followed a Joshua McDonald corner kick. Mira Muratovic had his effort blocked, as he was about to shoot.
A minute extra was played and the half time whistle blew. Wollongong 0 Rockdale 3.
The Wolves began the second half in a new frame of mind. An early corner kick aided their offense and Ofuka went down the middle after combining with Muratovic but nothing of any consequence was realized. Beattie shot from an acute angle only for Rockdale’s custodian David Bradasevic went low to take.
At the other end Casella looked to achieve a hat trick but Vekic was to the fore. Muratovic stormed into the box and shot as he attempted. Bradasevic managed to prevent.
The Wolves Senna Stevenson burst into the area but Sorge won the ball in a tackle. Stevenson, a few minutes on, provided a sterling cross from the left. Lachlan Griffiths intercepted it, with the ball flying high in the air and over the goal.
The Wolves improved efforts saw Muratovic scoring his initial goal for the club and saving the Wolves blushes. A McDonald right-sided corner kick was expertly floated to the far post. Buesnel headed the ball back across with precision. Urosevski tried to clear but the ball instead fell to Muratovic and from close vicinity headed home.
Vekic had to leave his box to get before the rampaging Urosevski and Masciovecchio from a tight angle provided a good shot which Bradasevic to thwart the danger.
On seventy-five minutes, the Wolves went looking for a second. McStay projected a ball to Buesnel and he headed in on target after Ofuka had set him up. Alas, Bradasevic was there. Another chance for Masciovecchio did not bring any joy. In one of the last bit of action Vekic denied Urosevski. The striker put another chance over Vekic’s domain.
The Wolves comeback produced one goal but Rockdale with their three first half goals take home the spoils. This was Rockdale’s fourteenth victory against the Wolves from twenty-nine meetings.
Wolves Midfielder Chris McStay – ‘it was better in the second half, the response from the boys was much more positive. But when you play against a good side you can’t make those errors. It was costly in the end…. But the reaction was real positive and we have to take this from the game and move onto to next week…. A couple of extra chances we had along with the goal but we were unfortunate not to put them away.’
Wolves wing/back/ midfielder Senna Stevenson – ‘unfortunately in the first half we made those early mistakes. But all credit to the boys in the second half we gave the supporters something to watch…. We have to keep pushing and move on from this and take the performance in the second half and look forward to our next game against St. George.
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ………….1
Mira Muratovic 64’
Jaden Casella 12’ 31’ Alec Urosevski 32’
Friday 10th March 2023
7.30 p.m. kick off
Coach: David Carney
1.Nenad Vekic (GK) 3.Harrison Buesnel 5.Banri Kanaizumi (Capt.) 7.Marcus Beattie 8.Samuel Riak 9.Takumi Ofuka 10.Mirza Muratovic 23.Walter Scott (25.Alex Masciovecchio 20’) 88.Chris McStay 99.Joshua MacDonald (Nav Darjani 74’) 6. Senna Stevenson
Subs not used: 13.Tomas Butkovic (RGK) 15.Ethan Beaven 29.Ben Glason 16.Sami Benton
Yellow Cards: Banri Kanaizumi 90’
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Paul Dee
1.David Bradasevic (GK) 3.Lachie Griffiths 4.Nikola Ujdur 7.Alec Urosevski (Capt.) 8.Isaac Danzo 9.Bai Antoniou (17.Loic Puyo 60’) 10.Brendan Cholakian 13.Mathieu Cordier 14.Brayden Sorge (5.Will Mutch 73’) 21. Lochie Constable (6.Nikola Kuleski 73’) 23.Jaden Casella (15.Jamie Percevski, 87’)
Substitutes not used: 20. Ricardo Rizzo (RGK) 16. Mohamed Ahmed
Yellow Cards: Brayden Sorge 27’ Lochlan Constable 57’ Jaden Cassella 76’
Red Cards: Nil
Referee – Sebastian Andrews
Assistant Referees- Matt Staples and Arinath Gobinath
Fourth Official – Harriet Gee
By Malcolm Rowney