April 22, 2024




In previous matches between Sydney FC there has been a flurry of goals, such as eight on two occasions, seven with a three-time occurrence, six and four.  In this Round 11 Mens 1 encounter, five goals were scored with the Wolves finally getting on top in the last few minutes of regulation time to earn a 3-2 victory after leading 2-0 at half time. In addition, the ball struck the goal frame four times in total, two to each team. Goals were achieved by Takumi Ofuka (WW) Chris McStay (WW), Mitchell Glasson (SFC), Bailey Callaghan (SFC) and Banri Kanaizumi WW).

The Wolves were facing the southern goal at the outset of the match with Sydney FC kicking off.  They quickly got into stride with Jacob Brazete going forward in a dangerous mood though the Wolves’ central defender Harrison Buesnel defrayed the situation.

The Wolves at the other end scored a third minute goal as Ofuka burst into penalty area with a mesmerising run making no mistake with his goal bound drive with his left foot. This was his ninth strike of the campaign. Lachlan Scott, on receiving the ball on the left, rode a tackle then turned and placed it into Ofuka’s path. He in turn outpaced a defender who finally caught him but could not dispossess. On he went before shooting at his position on the corner of the goal area.

Sydney looked to respond in quick time as A-League player Mitchell Glasson was threatening only for the Wolves’ custodian, Vedran Janjetovic to leave his line to circumvent. Fellow A-League alumni Matthew Scarcella produced a targeted shot which was blocked and following a Scarcella short corner kick to Meliwethu Nkomo who immediately dispatched the ball to far post. Buesnel was in position to head away.

Sydney FC in the first half had a fair amount of possession and on fourteen minutes a Lachlan Middleton effort whacked into the post. Later, Brazete worked his way across the box before shooting. Janjetovic was equal to the task to take quite comfortably.

The Wolves were gradually working themselves into the match with a little more possession. A McStay corner kick added some much-needed pressure on the Sydney defence and scant time later, McStay tried a speculator from outside the box and it zoomed narrowly wide. Jake Trew ventured down the right and got to the by line to cross, only for the ball to travell over the line. Three minutes short of the half hour, Yagoub Mustafa took a touch then turned, looking for an initial club goal, only to have his effort blocked. Darcy Madden, back with a starting appearance since being injured in Round 1, tracked back with Brazete to finally block his attempted cross.

At the other end, Mustafa turned and places the ball to the far post. Two Wolves attackers vied for the header, but neither could make Sydney pay.

Nkomo chanced a shot which flashed wide of the post and another Middleton opportunity shaved the post as Janjetovic dived in the vicinity.

Lachlan Scott twisted with possession before providing a likely goal, only for the ball to cannon into the post. Three minutes later the Wolves attained a second goal through McStay. Ofuka had projected the ball into the box from the left. Trew, Scott and McStay vied for the ball at the near post, however, it was McStay who got the vital touch to score.

A two-goal cushion at half time was the advantage but this score line is ever not secure.

This was put to the test just three minutes following the resumption of play. Glasson produce a sterling shot which rifled into the goal giving Janjetovic little chance of preventing. This was Glasson’s second NPL goal in 2024. Scarcella progressed up field then provided a pass to Zac De Jesus. He flicked it back to Glasson. With Madden, Kanaizumi and Buesnel in the vicinity, Glasson was able to evade and pick his spot, and this he did.

A Scott effort was kept out by the Sydney FC custodian Adam Pavlesic, but the ball ran loose. Trew was there but unfortunately could not capitalize. Later a Janjetovic ball reached Trew, and he subsequently nodded down for Mustafa. Alas, his followed-up intention traversed wide.  Trew a little further on was inconvenienced as he set forth. A free kick was given in the penalty arc but forthwith, no joy emanated.  Prior, Scott had a guilt-edged opportunity when he was one on one with Pavlesic, but the custodian’s outstretched leg saved the day.


With twenty-one minutes left on the clock, Scott went searching for his fifth goal. It looked certain only for the ball to hit the goal frame.  A Wolves free kick was taken by McStay. The ball flew to the far post to where Madden was lurking. He managed to get his head to the ball but had troubled keeping it down. In the next play, Madden intercepted in defence Buesnel blocked Glasson as he strived to increase his tally. Scott tried one from an acute angle, but his shot took a deflection for the ball to deviate from its intended target.  Scot set up Damon Gray and being one on one with Pavlesic. The custodian managed to neutralise the offensive maneouvre.

However, Sydney equalised with Bailey Callaghan scoring. A looping ball was sent in from the left. Callaghan and Dylan Ryan challenged for a header with Callaghan winning out and dispatching the ball wide of Janjetovic.

A McStay free kick was whipped in with Madden missing a header by a whisker.  Kanaizumi, with a last ditched tackle, stopped Glasson in his tracks as he looked to cause further trouble.

A superlative Gray bicycle kick nearly came to fruition but went over the crossbar as the Wolves were gung-ho for a decider, though the team did not have to wait too long.

A McStay free kick from the left finally brought up paydirt. The ball was flighted to the far post. Kanaizumi was present and he met the ball, projecting his powerful header into the goal for a deserved winner.

In time added on, Sydney FC nearly brought the Wolves undone. A Nkomo corner from the right eluded McStay and went to a Sydney attacker. His attempt was stopped from entering the Wolves domain by Buesnell and Gray together with McStay bringing the ball out to safety.

The Wolves now have five wins in the kick as against Sydney FC’s two. Both teams played to win as the three points were needed and neither gave up the ghost. However, the Wolves’ resilience got them over the line. With most goals, (62.5%) being conceded in the final fifteen minutes of matches (10 out of 16), it is a concern for whatever reason this is. Conversely most goal achieved (31.8%) emanate in the same time period. (7 out of 22).   The Wolves are now in seventh position following the victory with Sydney FC occupying fourteenth.

Darcy Madden – ‘we knew that they would come back.  We know that they are a good side but unfortunately we could not stop their goals, but we are delighted with the win…. (Conceding most goals in final 15 minutes) ‘It is not a statistic that we want and something we need to work on. Whether it is a fitness thing or a psychological thing. We need to close out our games. …we had more than three chances…. We hit the woodwork twice so did they and their keeper made some good one v one saves. Obviously delighted with the win but a lot of things to work on.. … It is my first game since Round 1 after a Grade 1 hamstring tear.  I was unknowingly nursing an injury in that round.  I played the FFA Cup last week to get my minutes up….  .. We had a rough start with the Peninsular Power and turned it around with seventeen games on the back end of the season. It was good up there.’

Damon Gray – who scored the winner in the previous week’s cup game – ‘we were up 2-1 when I came on.   It got back 2-2 and the boys came back to win.  There is never a safe score… I am really proud of everyone…. I had a few good chances, a one on one and a bicycle kick which I snatched at it a bit too early, and it went over. But we got the win and that is the main thing.’


WOLLONGONG WOLVES F.C……..……..3        

Takumi Ofuka 3’ Chris McStay 42’ Banri Kanaizumi 89’

SYDNEY FC…………………..……………..2  

Mitchell Glasson 49’ Bailey Callaghan 81’

@ WIN Stadium


3.00 p.m. kick off.


Coach: David Carney

  1. Vedran Janjetovic GK 2. Harrison Buesnel 3. Darcy Madden 4. Dylan Ryan 5. Banri Kanaizumi 6. Sam. uel Riak 7. Takumi Ofuka, 9. Jake Trew (27. Damon Gray 69’) 10. Yagoub Mustafa 24. Lachlan Scott (Capt.) 88. Christopher McStay

Substitutes Not Used: 8. Andre Takami13. Max Cunial   15. Dax Kelly 29. Thomas Dunn

Yellow Cards: nil

Red Cards: nil


Coach: Jimmy Van Weeren

  1. Adam Pavlesic 5. Meliwethu Nkomo, 6. Dylan Rose Capt. ((2. Noah Mathie 59’) 8.. Lachlan Middleton 11. Marin France 13. Jacob Brazete 14. Jared Middleton 18. Matthew Scarcella 35. Jai Rose 90’) 19.. Mitchell Glasson 21. Zachary De Jesus (9. Bailey Callaghan 70’) 24. Wataru Kamijo (Tyler Williams 59’).

Subs. not used:   28. Nathan Amanatidis 40. Alexander Zaverdinos

Yellow Cards: Dylan Rose 53’ Bailey Callaghan 90+5

Red Cards: nil

Referee: Eric Saba

Assistant Referees :Lachlan Brownscombe and Mayson Griffith

Fourth Official: Hayden Michlmay

By Malcolm Rowney