July 26, 2023

2023 NPL MENS 1 ROUND 25    



The Wolves were hot to trot in the Round 25 Sydney FC fixture with intrepid midfielder Chris McStay scoring a career first hat trick to lead the way. Sydney F.C, before the travelling supporters, ‘the Cove’, had two in the bag in response but could not make up the arrears against a dominant Wolves.

The Wolves had first met Sydney FC in the Mens 1 competition in 2017 and it was a 2-1 victory to the Sky Blues. A further ten matches have been played before today with a tally of thirty-three Wolves goals scored and six wins with two victories and twenty-one goals to Sydney. The most impressive score line was 6-1 in 2017, a Wolves triumph. Sixteen Sydney players have scored forty times during 2023 while the Wolves number thirty-nine goals from six individuals. Sydney has only five nil scores as against the Wolves six. Coming into this fixture Sydney FC had a loss and two wins in the previous three rounds with the Wolves having a win, loss and win. In the positive side of the ledger, Sydney F.C. has twelve conquests, four in front of the Wolves. The defeats have Wollongong with one less than Sydney.

Running towards the southern stand, the Wolves did not take long to change the scoreboard and take an early grasp of the spotlight. Marcus Beattie took a throw in on the half way juncture on the right side of the field. The intended target was Walter Scott. As he took the ball with his back to the to the southern goal, he was immediately fouled by Dylan Rose. A free kick emanated. Approximately twenty-nine metres from goal, Scott curled to the ball with his left foot to the far post area. With a host of players vying for the ball, it was the stand in captain Banri Kanaizumi who got there first to propel the ball with a forceful header inside the goal.

With the Sydney F.C. custodian Adam Pavlesic pushing the ball out to Lachlan Middleton, an attacking foray began for the away team. He in turn was sandwiched between Beattie and Senna Stevenson and a free kick was activated. Captain Hayden Matthews took the kick, sending the ball forward to the left side for Bailey Callaghan. His attempted cross was thwarted by Wolves’ central defender, Ethan Beaven and a corner kick was conceded. However, no joy was to be had in the follow up. Three corner kicks in succession in the three minute time frame applied pressure to the Wolves’ domain. Mitchell Scarcella took the third one from the left side. He lifted the ball into the centre and a header by Oscar Fryer looked to be goal bound, only for Scott to be perfectly placed to clear the ball off the line. It was a close call indeed.

Three minutes later, the Wolves increased their lead to two. A Beattie pass was sent to a rampaging McStay who was impeded by Pavlesic who clamoured into him. For his effort, a yellow card was produced. McStay took the resultant penalty kick. He dispatched to the ball to his left side of goal. Pavlesic moved in the right direction but could not get a touch to deny. This was McStay’s fourth goal of the campaign.

Following a pass from Scott, with Takumi Ofuka involved in the prior action, McStay swept the ball towards goal but could not the desired power and Pavlesic was able to grasp with certainty.

However, Sydney F.C. pegged one back a minute shy of the half hour. Custodian Butkovic blotted his copybook by conceding a penalty kick.  Scarcella had produced an effort from outside of the penalty area Callaghan after Fryer had made a short showing deft skill. Samuel Riak put him off his strife but the ball fell to Scarcella. He let go with a ferocious drive that Butkovic could only palmed out. The ball ran loose and Callaghan set forth for the ball, as did Butkovic. However, the custodian was adjudged to have impeded the quick thinking Sydney attacker.  Mitchell Glasson duly took the penalty kick, sending the ball down the centre as Butkovic dived to his right.

Sydney F.C. had reduced the deficit by one. However, this was only to be a period of two minutes before the Wolves scored their third. Striker Jake Trew fed to the ball along the right side line for Stevenson. He outsprinted a defender to ball and progressed forward to the by line. He moved towards the goal area line and swung the ball to the far post area out from goal. Ofuka cushioned the ball down, took one further touch and buried it high into the goal beating Pavlesic. This occurred in the thirty-first minute.

The score blew out to four when first Trew played the ball in from the left side after the involvement of Riak and Scott. The ball reached Alex Masciovecchio getting in between two Sydney defenders to project his header in the goal for his team’s fourth goal and his fifth individual goal.

At 4-1 the Wolves were in total control with the young opposition trying to keep the score from escalating.

Unfortunately, in time added on, Masciovecchio made a groundbreaking and enterprising gallop down the left side after Riak had won the ball in as tackle and passed. Masciovecchio slipped the ball up to Trew who played it into the box.  Riak unselfishly let ball go to McStay and he had an easy tap in with the Sydney defence all at sea.

At half time it was a definitive 5-1 score line.

Sydney began the second half with the introduction of Ben Gibson for Callaghan.  The team wanted to begin the second stanza with eagerness and Glasson made a run down the left eluding a couple of Wolves defenders. He pushed the ball in. Fryer tried to connect with his head but Stevenson conceded a corner kick, but nothing of any consequence was forth coming.

The Wolves kept their momentum with two successive corner kicks but it was at the other end that goal success eventuated. A minute after the hour, the ball was lifted forward from the Sydney half up to the vicinity of forward Fryer. He was in front of Beaven and was able to shrug him off scant time later. From a fairly acute angle he managed to produced his team’s second goal by slotting the ball past the advancing Butkovic into an empty goal.

Shots from Trew and Ofuka failed to change the score line but the enterprise was there. McStay was in a position to achieve his treble on seventy-seventh minute. Scott had produced a pinpoint pass to McStay who was positioned in the box. To his misfortunate, the Scotsman could not deliver in this moment. He was not be denied for too long, though.  Sydney F.C.’s Fryer had made a cross field run with Riak and then Stevenson in attendance. The ball subsequently fell to substitute Sebastian Hernandez. He took control then pushed the ball out to his right to elude a defender. He then, with his ball control took it towards the box and accelerated before launching the ball into the danger zone. McStay with three defenders around him rose to nod the ball home to achieve a well-deserved treble.

It was scintillating performance from the home team against this young side who had been depleted by a number of goal scorers of late leaving to club for other greener pastures. Despite this, the Sydney side were competitive as always and never shirked their duties.

Games between the two sides had invariably yielded huge score tallies in the past such as six (2022), seven (2020, 2019, 2017) and eight (2021). This current 6-2 victory was only the second time in Wolves‘ history, after first occurring in the 2000/01 NSL season against Adelaide City in Round 30. The Wolves with their six goals had improved their goal difference in seventh position. Conversely, Sydney F.C. is one position higher, four points to the good.

Hat trick hero Chris McStay – ‘Yes I believe so (first hat trick).  It was a fine performance from the boys and we have been building up to this, as there were plenty of occasions where it could have been like it turned out like today but unfortunately, it did not happen.….. We have been consistent throughout the season so I’m glad it paid off today…We knew we had to come out fighting in the first half as the Sydney boys are very talented and young as well. We knew we had to fight. We had do this as well in the second half as you can’t be complacent with a big lead….   We have some very talented youngsters in our team as well and the boys showed the maturity today and we certainly played them off the park. (Congratulations.) Thanks very much.

Goal scorer Alex Masciovecchio – ‘Our past year performances have been there but clinically we have not been on top of our game and I think tonight it showed that when we put the ball into the back of the net we are a tough team to beat….They are an academy side and academy sides tend to fast pace so we have to match them otherwise we will get beaten but we well matched them today. … it was good to score. We had some sort of play in the middle and it got sent to Jake Trew on the left. He lifted his head up and saw me making a run into the box and I got a header on the back of it. Thanks, I appreciate it’.



Banri Kanaizumi 4’, Chris McStay 14’ 45+1’ 81’ Takumi Ofuka 31’ Alex Masciovecchio 38’

SYDNEY F.C……………………………..2

Mitchell Glasson 29’ pen Oscar Fryer 51’

@WIN Stadium

Sunday 23rd July 2023

3.00 p.m. kick off


Coach: David Carney

13.Tomas Butkovic GK 5.Banri Kanaizumi © 6.Senna Stevenson 7.Marcus Beattie 8.Samuel Riak 9.Takumi Ofuka (11.Nav Darjani 85’) 14.Jake Trew 21.Ethan Beaven 23.Walter Scott 24.Lachlan Scott (Capt.) 25.Alex Masciovecchio (99.Sebastian Hernandez 78’) 88.Chris McStay (Jake Lavalle (90+20

Subs not used: 1.RGK Nenad Vekic 4.Dax Kelly 12.Thomas Dunn

Yellow Cards: Nil

Red Cards: Nil


Coach: Jimmy Van Weeren

30.Adam Pavlesic (GK) 6.Matthew Scarcella 9.Mitchell Glasson (18.Joseph Lacey 78’) 12.Lachlan Middleton (Capt.) (Cameron Fong 46’)  13.Hayden Matthews (C) 15.Dylan Rose 16.Joseph Calusic (8.Kealey Adamson 46’) 32.Oscar Fryer 21. 34.Max Buratto 37. Bailey Callaghan (7.Ben Gibson 46’) 38. Zachary De Jesus (21. Louis Agosti 54’)

Substitutes not used: 1.Gus Hoefsloot (RGK)

Yellow Cards: Adam Pavlesic 13’

Red Cards: Nil

Referee: Matt Staples

Assistant Referees: Cameron Wright and Matthew Harris

Fourth Official: Ethan Zvargulis

By Malcolm Rowney