Match Report – Wollongong Wolves vs St George City
July 4, 2023
2023 NPL MENS 1 ROUND 22
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v ST. GEORGE CITY FC
WOLVES BROUGHT UNDONE BY A RESOLUTE ST GEORGE CITY
The Wollongong Wolves fought back after conceding, but an unfortunate own goal was the difference, with St. George City doing the double over the home side in the 2023 Round 22 going home the victors 2-1. Both scorers in the match, Lachlan Scott and Presley Ortiz had now achieved goals in three and two successive matches respectively.
This Round 22 home fixture is the first home match in Wollongong versus the Mirko Jurilj coached St George City. Jurilj was a former player for the home team with three starting appearances and one off the bench in the 2003/04 NSL team.
With one previous match between the two sides, which concluded in a 5-3 win to St. George City, this was a result that was only the second time that the Wolves have been beaten by this score line in the club’s history since 1981. Coming into this encounter, St George City had four nil score games this season while the home team has six. Fifteen St George City players have contributed by scoring the scores with the Wolves having nine goal benefactors. Maki and Kosta Petratos, and Lachlan Scott are the top scorers for their respective clubs with six, six and ten goals respectively.
The Wolves came into this game after defeating Rockdale Ilinden 4-0, a score line that has now been achieved seventeen times in the history of the club, while St. George City drew with 1-1 with Manly United.
On bitterly cold night, the Wolves kicked off and ran towards the southern with a wind blowing from the west and across the field. The Wolves began the early minutes with a fair amount of possession as they looked for an early goal. St. George field a five-man backline with tall players and these individuals throughout the proceedings won many of the balls into the box. In these early skirmishes Brendan Hooper ploughed a clearing kick forward and Chris McStay tackled Dean Pelekanos.
On thirteen minutes, a Walter Scott free kick on the left was lifted in. The ball was headed with Lachlan Scott gaining possession of the loose ball. Try as he might to score, the ball deflected off a defender for a corner kick. Alex Masciovecchio took it from the left side. It was curled in but went out before the goal with the wind assisting the outcome.
A minute later a long throw from the left side by Franco Maya reached Dominic Cox. His header could not be directed in on goal with the Wolves custodian Tomas Butkovic palming the ball out his left of goal. Kosta Petratos subsequently pushed the ball back to Alexander Kyriacou. He then returned the ball to Pelekanos who was on the periphery of the penalty area before slotting the ball on to Petratos. Following he lifted the ball into the centre. Ortiz and Ethan Beaven both went for the ball with Ortiz winning out from close vicinity. He headed on target but Butkovic managed to keep the ball from entering his domain with an acrobatic leap. Cox and Banri Kanaizumi tussled for the ball but it ran free. Petratos rushed in and attempted to shoot as Marcus Beattie and Butkovic vied for the ball at the same time. The ball deflected up into the air and with a couple of Wolves defenders thereabouts, Ortiz managed to put foot on the ball to stab home and put his team into the lead. This was Ortiz’s sixth goal of the campaign.
The Wolves looked to respond with McStay making a purposeful foray down the centre and later Jake Trew put the ball across the goal from the right side but his teammates were nary in position to take advantage.
St. George in defence had all eleven players behind the ball and used the long ball on many occasions to produce attacks with Ortiz the main target. The first corner kick for the visitors occurred in the twenty-sixth minute. Petratos put a cross in from the left after receiving a sweeping Cox pass as he went to ground. The cross was meant for Ortiz but a marauding Beattie anticipated and headed the ball down for a corner kick to defray the threat.
Two corner kicks ensued after Beattie made an effective foray down the right side. A Walter Scott corner kick caused consternation in the St George defence but they held firm not allowing the Wolves to capitalize. A following Scott effort was met by a Lachlan Scott targeted header, which eluded the St. George custodian Jack Kenny but was cleared by a defender on the line. Lachlan Scott’s consequent rebound shot was blocked.
At the other end Samuel Riak with a good tackle dispossessed Cox to see off the danger.
The St. George defence were stifling the Wolves who at this stage could break through with a shot in anger. At half time St. George held a one-goal advantage.
Two minutes into the second half, St George could have doubled their lead. Cox produced a powerful shot from narrowly outside the penalty area flew in. However, Butkovic made a good save to deny.
The Wolves restored parity in the fifty-first minute. Kanaizumi skied the ball and Lachlan Scott just inside the St. George half chested the ball down to McStay who passed out to Beattie. He subsequently returned to ball to McStay in his own side of halfway. In an enterprising gallop McStay brought the ball through the right channel. Beattie kept pace and on receiving a return pass he crossed the ball in. The ball hit Lachlan Scott on the shoulder with Trew vying for the ball at the identical time with it running free. Scott got his right foot around the ball and blasted it high into the goal for his eleventh of the season.
The Wolves were now back into the match and Takumi Ofuka was in a position to shoot but was closed down by the defence.
However on fifty-eight minutes, it went all pear shaped for the Wolves as disaster struck. A cross from Maya flew in from left with Kanaizumi trying to cut it out and before Butkovic could intervene, but he unfortunately misdirected the ball into his own net, much to the chagrin of himself and his teammates.
The wanted to put this behind them as McStay enacted a long diagonal pinpoint pass up to Alex Masciovecchio. Unfortunately he could produce any joy.
St.George went on the hunt for a third goal with Kosta Petratos blasting over the bar with fifteen minutes to go after Ortiz set him up.
Trew saw an opening and produced a stinging shot that zoomed towards the goal. However Kenny was equal to the task to grasp the ball safely
Ortiz who was a thorn for the Wolves defence very nearly achieved a brace when his effort banged into the post. Ortiz harried Beaven towards the end but the defender kept his composure to offset the dangerous situation.
A Walter Scott targeted effort in a virtual last throw of the dice, saw Kenny take the ball from over his head.
Four minutes were added on but the scored remained 1-2. It was a mammoth struggle between the two teams though a fortuitously an own goal helped the St. George cause. The Wolves had a small number of opportunities but could not make them stick.
Wolves right sided Wing/Back Marcus Beattie – ‘we fought back to get our goal after conceding. We were unlucky to concede an own goal…. They were hard to break down. We had our chances.’