Sydney United 58 FC continued its fabulous start to the season with a come-from-behind win over South Coast Wolves at the picturesque John Crehan Park on a balmy evening in beautiful Cringila.
The 2-1 final result sees the side lead the way on the league ladder, matched only by rivals the high-flying Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
A minutes silence preceded the match and was impeccably respected after the passing of one of South Coasts life members in a fitting tribute.
Michael Robinson was adjudged to have brought down United 58 skipper Luka Glavas on the edge of the box in the 1′ minute, from a ball given away by Chris Price, and the cleverly taken free-kick by Chris Triantis saw a shot bravely blocked by the Wolves’ Chris Price before clearing at the second at the second attempt.
Glavas blocked the ball as Jacob Timpano attempted to clear, driving the ball into the penalty-area with defender Jack Keating making a last ditch tackle to cancel out any danger.
The resultant corner ended up at the back stick to be picked up by Robert Mileski to fire over a cross for Ben Jurman to head back across the face and narrowly wide of the mark.
Against the run of play and Wolves found themselves ahead when a Ricky Zucco cross from out on the left side of the field eluded Marko Bozic in the United 58 net and nestled into the top corner. Wolves one up in bizzare fashion.
United 58 had another corner headed over the bar as they sought parity and pressed high and quickly up the field, not allowing South Coast to settle and find their rhythm.
When Yuchi Yamuchi, having switched flanks with Mileski, skipped past Price in the area the Wolves man went down awkwardly, however the Sydney United 58 midfielder pulled the ball back for Keating to again arrive first as Price received treatment behind the goal.
Collison was called into action after a goalmouth scramble when making a fine stop as the visitors pushed the home side further back as Price could no longer continue and was replaced by Sam Chapple in the 27′ minute.
The quick passing and mobility of the visitors was at times breathtaking and Yamuchi was certainly enjoying himself down the Sydney right flank having first seen off Price and then giving Chapple a quick lesson in what to expect for the remainder of the game. The Japanese import then almost got through once more but this time it was Zac Mackenzie who cleared.
A succession of corners was to follow for the visitors until Collison caught the ball and released a sharp ball resulting in Zucco turning on a sixpence and firing in a curling effort in the 31′ minute that had Bozic back-peddling to reach and tip over. The ‘keepers reactions the difference in stopping the lead being extended.
Mileski had a shot beaten down by Collison in the 39′ minute as United 58 made all the running with the Wolves resolutely defending and holding on with only sporadic breaks on the counter to relieve the pressure.
Mitchell Del Turco then found the net, sending the home supporters into hysterics, though the strike was ruled out for offside with 40′ minutes on the clock.
Triantis was played in by Glavas in the 43′ minute but looked to have blown the chance when Mackenzie intercepted only for the United 58 striker to hit the ball when on the ground, again sending the ball narrowly beyond the post.
In first-half stoppage time Timpano had the ball in the net only for a second strike to be ruled out for the home side – the Wolves captain pulled up for pushing on Bozic in the 58 goal with the score remaining one-nil at the break.
Jack Keating was called into action almost immediately upon the resumption and once more handled a dangerous situation with aplomb before Collison was forced to tip another long range effort over the bar as the Edensor Park boys piled on the pressure.
Collison punched away a corner in the 50′ minute that reached only as far as Glen Trifiro but the ball would not come down quickly enough and his snatched shot lacked power and direction as another chance went begging for the visitors.
The pressure finally told when Keating was adjudged to have committed a foul inside the box, receiving a caution but, more importantly, giving away a penalty that Luka Glavas slid home forcibly in the 53′ minute to level the scores and once more it was game on.
Zucco fired over at full stretch when under heavy pressure from two United 58 defenders as the home team countered and the ebb and flow of the contest continued unabated.
The same player received two yellow cards in quick succession, the second for a foul on Jurman and received his marching orders in a somewhat harsh fashion as he competed for the ball but South Coast would have to see out the remaining 26′ minutes with just 10-men.
It was the Wolves who found themselves behind when Mirjan Pavlovic thundered a shot into the roof of the net for the visitors with 68′ minutes on the clock, the home side caught cold after the send-off.
United 58 thought they had further extended the lead when Mitchell Stamatellis fired home from close range but the Assistant Referee flagged. After consultation referee Adam Weir chalked it off, a decision that earned Pavlovic a caution for his comments in the 75′ minute.
Joseph Lavalle ploughed a lonely furrow up field for the Wolves and a long range effort at least warmed the hands of Bozic at full stretch and the ‘keeper needed to be down sharply to save at the feet of Sam Matthews seconds later after being played into trouble by his defence.
Deep into stoppage time and a goalmouth scramble had a Timpano shot cleared off the United 58 line as the Wolves tried hard to level up once more. It wasn’t to be however, as a goal was not forthcoming.
Quietly spoken Wolves coach Richard Lloyd commented after the game: “In the end we just couldn’t hold it out with the ten men but we were up against some fair quality opposition tonight.
“We are a few yards shy against one of the top teams but we gave it our best shot but we’ll stick to our plans and remain positive.
“Of course we will look to improve each week but United 58 were relentless in their pursuit of the points and we did have a golden chance with two bites of the cherry towards the end and we’re not sure of what happened but we’ll have a look and see how close he was to it but we probably didn’t deserve anything from the game in honesty although we tried hard.”
“A very tough game tonight,” stated United 58 coach Mark Rudan before continuing:
“It always is down here with the pitch and the way things are.
“It’s not easy as we want to play a certain way and keep the ball on the deck and with the sand on the pitch and that it’s not always easy to play your game and again we have had to fight our way to the three points.
“We went behind again and people can look at our ‘keeper (Marko Bozic) but he is only 18-years old and of course will make mistakes, we all do but I brought him to the club to do a job and he will learn from things like this.
“I’m really pleased with the things we did, down at half-time and we changed a couple of little things and the players went out and did it and I very big on having intelligent footballers and that showed out there tonight as we battle through the hardships and showed persistence and pressure and it paid off.
"I wouldn’t call the way we play risky but there are certain calculated risks in the way I want us to play and we came here to claim the points and tonight we did so I have to be happy with that and with my players.”
South Coast Wolves 1 (Zucco 9′)
Sydney United 58 FC 2 (Glavas 53′ (pen), Pavlovic 68′)
Saturday 30th March, 2013
John Crehan Park, Cringila
Referee: Adam Weiner
Assistant Referees: Nathan Wotton and Alec Mouawad
Fourth Official: James Tesorero
South Coast Wolves: 1.Daniel Collison; 2.Jack Keating, 4.Michael Robinson, 6.Chris Nathaniel, 7.Chris Price (3.Sam Chapple 26), 10.Ricky Zucco, 11.John Martinovski (12.Joseph Lavalle 58), 17.Zac Mackenzie, 14.Mitchell Del Turco, 21.Sam Matthews, 26.Jacob Timpano (C)
Substitutes Not Used: 5.James Baldacchino, 15.Matthew Floro, 20.Thomas Hamilton
Yellow Cards: Martinovski 23′, Nathaniel 45′, Keating 52′, Matthews 58′, Zucco 63′, 65′
Red Cards: Zucco 65′
Sydney United 58 FC: 1.Marko Bozic; 2.Mitchell Speer, 3.Ben Jurman (16.Stjepan Paric 68), 5.Calum O’Connell, 6.Mitchel Stamatellis, 8.Yuichi Yamuchi, 9.Robert Mileski, 10.Chris Triantis (7.Mirvan Pavlovic 61), 11.Luka Glavas (C), 15.Anthony Tomelic, 18.Glen Trifiro
Substitutes Not Used: 19.Mathew Bilic, 22.Daniel Barac, 31.Kane Wallace
Yellow Cards: Triantis 53′, Pavlovic 75′
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Luka Glavas (SU58)
2 – Jack Keating (SCW)
1 – Yuchi Yamuchi (SU58)
-By Micky Brock