2023 NPL MENS 1 ROUND 11
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v SYDNEY UNITED 58
WOLVES IN SCORELESS STALEMATE
The Wolves have concluded the Round 11 clash against Sydney United 58 with a much-needed clean sheet in the scoreless draw result and playing quite well in the process. Neither team could conjure up a winning goal despite the sharpshooters such as Lachlan Scott, Patrick Antelmi and Christopher Payne in the respective line-ups. Scott and Antelmi had scored in the previous two rounds but found things difficult today and could not unpick the defence which was the name of the game in the blustery conditions.
This was the fifty-eighth result of this ilk for the club in league competition matches. By way of comparison, the recent result of a 4-5 defeat by NWS Spirit was the second time in the club’s history that this result was posted, after first appearing in 1983 versus Marconi, while the Round 10 2-1 loss to Sydney FC was the seventy-seventh such score line.
Sydney United 58 sported two former Wolves in Antelmi and Leroy Jennings while the Wolves included Joshua Macdonald, a former Sydney United player.
The Wolves kicked off the proceedings and ran towards the southern end. The team looked to get off with an attacking endeavour. However, after a few passes were played, possession was lost for a time.
The first corner arrived after five minutes had elapsed after Banri Kanaizumi conceded after tackling Antelmi. Sydney United’s Tariq Maia sent it in from the right side but Wolves midfielder Chris McStay tackled Taisei Kaneko to deliver the ball out of the danger zone. Two minutes later, the visitors had another set piece corner kick. Bailey Rule came down the right and was tacked by Walter Scott. Maia sent a curling out swinging corner kick in. Ante Bakmaz tried to get on to it but lost his footing. He immediately got to his feet and went into the box and from close vicinity tried a shot but it brought no joy and another corner was to be had. The third in succession was a short one but Samuel Riak blocked to stave off a shot.
The Wolves had a gilt-edged shot after ten when Takumi Ofuka near the half way left touchline sent the ball forward to striker Jake Trew. In turn he played it back to McStay who played in space wide for Walter Scott, the wing/back who gave an impressive display during the match. He eluded a defender and delivered a high left footed cross into the centre. Trew headed onward to where Alex Masciovecchio was positioned. He lifted the bouncing ball out of the way of a defender with his right foot and then blasted his shot with his opposite foot from close range inside the goal area. The Sydney United custodian Danijel Nizic blocked the shot with the ball rebounding to outside the penalty area. Riak gained possession and tried a shot. Unfortunately for him and his team the ball lifted skywards. Riak was to the fore in the midfield battle, winning the ball, intercepting and chiming in with attacks.
With evenness in the play with neither team gaining the ascendancy, Jennings was in space to fashion an attempt on goal. However, McStay was there to intervene and maintain the Wolves defensive effort and deny Jennings.
With half an hour nearly elapsed, a free to the Wolves nearly brought up pay dirt. Ofuka took the shot but it took a deflection off the defensive wall but nearly dipped inside the goal. The ensuing corner kick saw Kanaizumi heading wide.
However, Sydney United nearly brought up the opening goal. Kaneko made an angled run into the box from the left side. He pushed his shot across the goal trying to get inside the far post. The ball scraped the far post but stayed out.
As the half drew to a close, Kanaizumi managed to beat Antelmi to the ball after United broke quickly. Harrison Buesnell headed out as Antelmi made his presence felt and Kaneko speculated from outside the penalty area, with the Wolves custodian Tomas Butkovic being in a perfect position to thwart.
A half time it was even Stevens and everything to play for in the second stanza.
The Wolvers had four corner kicks early on in the second half but nothing of any consequence was enacted. However, in between these Antelmi saw Butkovic off his line and tried to float a high ball over his head into the goal. The intent was but alas, it went astray.
Striker Lachlan Scott took the ball across field looking for an opening but in the end ran out of options. This was three minutes short of the hour mark. Earlier, Trew threatened but Nizic was brave and took the ball from his feet. McStay won the ball off Jason Madonas and set the Wolves on attack. Scott set Ofuka but his effort was wide of the target.
Despite the sporadic attempts on goal, clinical finishing was in short supply as the defensive efforts of both teams generally stifled what was thrown at them.
The Wolves’ Alex Masciovecchio made a marauding run only for Antony Tomelic to win possession. A host of substitutes were injected into the match on order to change things around but in the upshot did not have too much bearing on the result. The Wolves scrambled well as United applied some pressure late in the game and a clever McStay flick pass set Lachlan Scott on his way but no jubilation was forthcoming.
Rule put in a cross but Walter Scott was there to cover to see off the threat.
In summary, Masciovecchio and Kaneko went closest for their teams but the defence for both teams stood out. However, a point shared was the outcome. In the corner kick tally, the Wolves had seven to Sydney United’s six.
Coach David Carney: ‘the clean sheet was important and the performance was good. A lot of the performances have been good but unlucky in the way that we conceded in the last minutes. I think we have the quality to score and I think we deserved to win….they did not have too much on goal. I think we dominated…. we want to win games at home.
Wolves’ midfielder Samuel Riak: ‘we needed the rectify that (last minute defensive errors) and make sure we could achieve a clean sheet today but we had the chances to win. We can kick on…. I played for Perth Glory Youth and went back to my local club and then came here. I try my best all the time for the team.’
Wolves’ left wingback Walter Scott: ‘happy to get the point it would have nice to get three… but after the run we have had the performances have been there but we move on to next week and push to win …. It stung in the last few weeks with those late goals and the clean sheet was vital this week so it important for us today….We had enough chances today but the boys did not get the rub of the green. The boys are hot and performing well and very hungry and that’s important for scoring goals and winning games.’
Sydney United attacking player Leroy Jennings: ‘it was a pretty fair result. We both struggled to create chances in the conditions and it was a bit of an arm wrestle. It was difficult with the wind and the pitch being not in the best condition but you have to get on with it. We both struggled to play and the defenders were the better players. It was hard to create but when we did, the defences played their part. It was clean sheet for both teams and there were not many chances. We had to play direct because it was hard to play out.’ We look for next week now.’
WOLLONGONG WOLVES ………..….0
SYDNEY UNITED 58 …………..………0
@ Albert Butler Memorial Park
Sunday 16th APRIL 2023
3.00 p.m. kick off
Coach: David Carney
13.Tomas Butkovic 3.Harrison Buesnel 21.Ethan Beaven 5.Banri Kanaizumi 8.Samuel Riak 9.Takumi Ofuka (99.Joshua MacDonald 84’) 23.Walter Scott 14.Jake Trew (10.Mirza Muratovic 84’) 88.Chris McStay 25.Alex Masciovecchio (7.Marcus Beattie 77’) 24.Lachlan Scott (Capt.)
Subs not used: 1.Nenad Vekic 11.Nav Darjani 6. Senna Stevenson
Yellow Cards: Walter Scott 25’ David Carney 74’
Red Cards: Nil
SYDNEY UNITED 58
Coach: Miro Vlastelica
1.Danijel Nizic (GK) 3.Bailey Rule 4.Adrian Vlastelica (C) 5.Anthony Tomelic 7.Taisei Kaneko 8.Jason Madonis 9.Patrick Antelmi (12.Hiyori Kawaguchi 74’) 15.Tariq Maia (18.Glen Trifiro 61’) 16.Ante Bakmaz (11.Yianni Perkatis 46’) 17.Matthew Bilic 22. Leroy Jennings (Christopher Payne 57’)
Substitutes not used: 20.Luke Cukar (GK)
Yellow Cards: Tariq Maia 28’ Jason Madonas 72’
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Jake Rose
Assistant Referees: Ethan Zvargulis and Cameron Wright
Fourth Official: Hayden Michlmayr
By Malcolm Rowney