June 3, 2024



By conceding a very early goal with an initial Sydney United attack, another due to an unfortunate occurrence and playing with little panache, the swagger returned in the second half with a three-goal achievement.  The second stanza opener was an own goal in the first minutes of the play, with the Wolves achieving two more. This 3-2 victory was the Wolves’ first league win since Round 13, and it achieved the double over the Edensor Park side. It could not have come at a better time with finals football the ambition. Sydney United’s Carlos De Oliveira was a hero and a villain, having a role in both early goals. Alessandro Lacalandra attained United’s second to lead 2-0 at the break, while the Wolves’ scorers were captain, Lachlan Scott and Takumi Ofuka.

Sydney United kicked off the encounter with Patrick Antelmi beginning the proceedings by dispatching the ball back to his central defender who then ploughed it up field. Shunta Nakamura later received the ball on the right. With a couple of Wolves defenders in the vicinity, he cut the ball back on a diagonal to De Oliveira. From his position on the edge of the penalty area he let fly, following an initial touch. His effort zoomed into the goal beating a diving Vedran Janjetovic.

Jake Trew went back to retrieve the ball off a Sydney attacker and following, Chris McStay’s attempt was blocked. Sydney United’s striker, Patrick Antelmi used his skill to good effect to elude markers and then mount an attacking foray.  The Wolves’ Sebastian Hernandez showed his wares by sprinting down the right leaving players in his wake before passing to Scott.  He subsequently put in a cross, but Kalac took it gratefully.

A back pass from Samuel Riak went somewhat astray after twenty-two minutes as both Buesnell and Lacalandra raced for the loose ball. The Sydney United striker was the faster to the ball and then, he and Buesnell collided. Lacalandra changed direction and as he did so, Buesnell slipped. The striker got the space he needed and shot. Vedran Janjetovic, the Wolves custodian, was off his line to narrow the angle. He managed to get a hand to the ball but had not enough force the change its trajectory.

Sydney United was always looking to create, and Tariq Maia produced a shot from the box edge that went wide as Janjetovic dived. However, Hernandez got close to goal, but nothing emanated, and things were not falling for the Wolves.  On the half hour, Trew eluded a few players and then crossed. The ball flew across the face of goal, but his teammates could not take advantage. A later Hernandez cross saw Trew arrive but he could not make contact. Scott endeavoured to move into the box with defenders sniping. A free kick ensued with McStay’s low effort being stopped by a diving Kalac.

In the thirty-sixth minute, the Wolves had their best chance of scoring. Hernandez gained possession and immediately showed a clean pair of heels as he motored through the middle from inside his own half. Defenders were left by the wayside and then the striker was one on one with Kalac. He shot. Alas, his effort sailed over the bar.

As the. first half wound down in the final five minutes plus one, Scott produced two shots after a quick turn, with each saved by Kalac.   At the opposite end, Antelmi turned likewise and produced a fine attempt, which Janjetovic kept out.

At the break, the Wolves showed a two-goal deficit for the second week running with the opposition enjoying their half time lead.

As the second half was underway, a McStay corner was swung in from the left side with his right foot. The ball was flighted in with De Oliveira was in the goal area. His attempted clearance header went backwards to lodge in the far reaches of the goal, eluding the United custodian, Oliver Kalac on its way. The Wolves injected venom in their which was somewhat lacking earlier. Goal scorer from the previous week, Andre Takami was introduced from the second half in place of Riak and he, as time went on, impressed in the midfield, a position he has not been deployed in his inaugural season.

Ofuka was becoming more involved, and he won the ball off Lacalandra, but Sydney United recovered quite quickly. The Wolves showed renewed vigour and Scott progressed down the middle in an enterprising manoeuvre before slipping a pass to his left for Ofuka. He in turn, curled the ball looking for it to lodge inside the far post. However, Kalac’s hands were stung by the powerful effort but none the less saved, by pushing the ball away for a corner attempt.  The Wolves kept up the pressure when Dylan Ryan produced an overhead kick that went over.

A few minutes on, Ofuka hovered around the top of the box before moving to his right. He slotted a short pass to Scott, who blasted his powerful low shot into the net to announce the comeback in emphatic terms.

Not long after, Sydney nearly took the advantage once again. Nakamura was denied by the crossbar as he scythed through the Wolves defensive line.

Antelmi burst through but his shot took a deflection and a corner kick emanated. Nakamura took the corner, and he played it in. Scott was back in defence to head the ball clear. Nakamura passed to Dejan Bakrdanikoski. His effort was taken by Janjetovic.

Alex Masciovecchio blazed over from the centre before the Wolves struck again.

The winning goal emanated in the seventy-eighth minute. Ofuka was wide on the left. He moved forward with the ball and passed to Scott who had his back to the goal. With a defender at his back, he held the ball then released the ball by pushing it back into the path of a rampaging Ofuka. He gained possession and set forth towards the goal. Being close, he slotted the ball with his right foot into the far post beating the custodian. This was Ofuka’s tenth league goal in 2024.

The Wolves had turned around a two-goal deficit and gained the three points, Sydney United looked the goods in the first half but faded in the second as the Wolves juggernaut gained traction.

However, giving away goals in the first half of games means the team is always chasing the game and this certainly is not ideal. The fact that it has happened in two successive matches is concerning, but three points are indeed valuable. This 3-2 scoreline has occurred thirty-three times since 1981, and the second time in 2024.

Captain Lachlan Scott – ‘like last week we got ourselves in a similar position.  We just need to start better now and when we go up early. It will certainly make it easier for ourselves.. As a striker, when it rains, it pours, when you get one you hope that it flows on in the next few weeks.

Sydney United’s and former Wolf, Patrick Antelmi, with seven goals this campaign– ‘It’s good to see you… it was a game of two halves. We were on top in the first half, but Wollongong came out in the second half and once they got their first goal, the momentum was with them… We have been inconsistent in the league this year and you cannot afford to be.. It will be good for the club to play in the Second Tier next year, but I may not be there. I will spend more time with my family.’


WOLLONGONG WOLVES ………………..…3               

Carlos De Oliveira own goal 47, Lachlan Scott 65, Takumi Ofuka 78’

SYDNEY UNITED 58…………………………..2

Carlos De Oliveira 1’, Alessandro Lacalandra 22’

@ Albert Butler Park Memorial Park


3.00 p.m. kick off.


Coach: David Carney

  1. Vedran Janjetovic GK,2. Harrison Buesnell, 4. Dylan Ryan, 5. Banri Kanaizumi, 6. Samuel Riak, (8. Andre Takami 46’) 7. Takumi Ofuka (27. Damon Gray 75’), 10. Yagoub Mustafa (29. Thomas Dunn 82’), 11. Sebastien Hernandez (27. Damon Gray85’) 9. Jake Trew 24. Lachlan Scott (Capt.) (25. Alex Masciovecchio63’) (3. Darcy Madden 90+2’ 88. Christopher McStay.

Substitutes Not Used: 13. Oliver Yates 15. Dax Kelly

Yellow Cards: Chris McStay 41’, Lachlan Scott 58’

Red Cards: nil


Coach: Zeljko Kalac

  1. Oliver Kalac, 3. Christian Gonzalez, 4. Adrian Vlastelica, 5. Anthony Tomelic, (12. Marco Arambasic 80’), 7. Jordan Ivancic (2. Cristian Gonzalez 80’). 8. Shunta Nakamura, 9. Patrick Antelmi, 10. Carlos De Oliveira, 13. Alessandro Lacalandra (Adam Zervis 66’), 14. Liam McGing, 15. Tariq Maia, 21. Dejan Bakrdanikoski

Substitutes not used: 17. Matthew Nikolovski, 29. Joshua Attard, 40, Malik Chameddine

Yellow Cards: nil

Red Cards: nil

Referee: Kurt Ams

Assistant Referees: Brodie Merchant, Mayson Griffiths

Fourth Official: Matthew Staples

By Malcolm Rowney