South Coast Wolves deservedly scored the three-points in a dominating display against Marconi Stallions at Hooka Creek Park on a typically chilly Illawarra wintery evening.
The side put in a performance of some note in front of a healthy crowd.
A frenetic opening did little for creating chances but the commitment was evident for all to witness as the Wolves made all the early running in the chase for points.
Marconi was alert at the back to thwart the early danger of the home side, restricting any worthwhile efforts on goal.
Jacob Timpano, Wolves inspirational skipper, was forced to clear off the line for the Wolves in the Stallions first real attack of the match in the 9’ minute but the resulting corner was cleared efficiently before Michael Robinson had to time a tackle to perfection inside the box to out another threat as the visitors began to find their feet.
Zac McKenzie nicked the ball away when Tadhg Purcell laid the ball off to Evan Burger in another Stallions foray forward but still no clear cut chances, other than the off the line clearance, had been created.
The game was crying out for someone to put their foot on the ball, slow down the tempo and probe for the openings from midfield and that would surely happen and it came close in the 21’ minute when Purcell was put through. The speedy Stallions player was quick, though
Daniel Collison was equal to the effort and steered it around his left-hand post.
The opener did arrive 2’ minutes later when Daniel Zucco unleashed a left foot pile-driver that gave James Chronopoulos no chance in the Stallions goal to give the Wolves a deserved lead.
Without doubt it had been Marconi producing the better chances during the first 30’ minutes of play with the difference being the Wolves had taken one of theirs in a game that had, until the goal, been very finely balanced.
Marconi was caught out in midfield and away sprinted Peter Simonoski to score his side’s second. Even though Chronopoulos got something on the ball, it crept under the Stallions goalkeeper to double the home sides lead in the 36’ minute, much to delight of the attending faithful.
Purcell set up Jared Lum for a volley that warmed the hands of Collison with Marconi looking to reduce the deficit before the break forcing the Wolves back into their own half with sustained pressure, though the visitors went into the break without breaching the Wolves’ goal.
Marconi had shown plenty of skill but it had been put to the sword in the opening 45’ minutes by the grit and determination of a Wolves side desperate for points.
Marconi looked to have started the brighter on the resumption until Mitch Del Turco was sent in with a delightful chip over the defence to head over the advancing Chronopoulos to make it 3-0 on the night.
Instead of disheartening the Stallions it spurred them on and Purcell reduced the deficit from the spot in the 50’ minute from an infringement in a goalmouth scramble as the rain began to plummet down.
In the 55’ minute more mad scrambling in the box saw the Wolves finally manage to clear the ball as Marconi again upped the tempo in trying to wrest something from the game.
Zucco almost had the Wolves fourth of the night when beating the offside trap and delicately chipping over Chronopoulos only for the effort to land on top of the bar and bounce over.
On 59’ minutes, Zucco sent another shot over the crossbar from 25-yards out that had Chronopoulos back peddling sharply.
Simonoski had Chronopoulos down to his left as the Wolves hit on the counter with the game sparking into life after the two early second-half goals.
Ali Haydar received a yellow card after an altercation with Jacob Timpano in the 67’ minute that also saw the Wolves caption go in the book and much scuffling between the players of both sides.
A handball in the Marconi box saw Wolves’ number 10 step up to take the spot-kick in the 70’ minute and neatly tuck the ball away to once again extend the home lead to three goals with each side scoring from 12-yards as the balance was redressed.
Haydar brought down Simonoski accidently, clipping his heels, and it was the Wolves player who received a caution for simulation with the expectant crowd baying for Haydar to be sent-off. It wasn’t to be, quite rightly.
Suddenly the home side ‘believed’ and found renewed energy to attack their visitors with vigour in a match that wouldn’t have been out of place had it been a Cup tie.
Timpano could have put the icing on the cake in the 86’ minute when Steve Hayes curled in a delightful free-kick. The tall midfielder had a clear header on but sent wide of the post.
The crowd didn’t want the game to end but with no addition to the score board it was a convincing win for the Wolves that had an elated Richard Lloyd commenting:
“This is the first I’ve been able to have a full 18-players at my disposal this season and perhaps the competition for places had something to do with it as we have everyone back on deck apart from Chris Price of course.
“We’ve drawn a line in the sand and said basically that if you want to play for this club you need to put the effort in and I think we saw that tonight.
“The key for us in this one was we warmed up well from the start and we were ready to go even before we got to the ground tonight, the training sessions we’ve had this week have been sensational, the boys have got stuck in and they’ve got that hunger with the younger lads learning from the older heads.
“We’ve been concentrating on shooting and we went the 12-weeks pre-season without goalposts and shooting between two sticks but I think it is all starting to pay off so I can knock the top off one tonight and enjoy it.”
Jean-Paul De Marigny, though upset, was full of praise for the Wolves when adding:
“I think it’s one of those nights you just throw in the bin, every time we had some good chances to score they punished us for it.
“It was a cracking opener for them which is pretty to watch but not when it’s against you unfortunately, but we had a good opportunity just prior to that but credit to South Coast as they played some very good football, were very tenacious and scored some very good goals.”
The usual Marconi discipline wasn’t there though:
“We were a bit disorganised at times, something we haven’t shown in the last five weeks and that probably cost us but again we played some terrific stuff at times tonight but couldn’t finish off the hard work.
“We made a lot of mistakes and got punished for it and the major difference between us was that we didn’t take our chances.
South Coast Wolves 4 (Zucco 23’, 70’ (pen), Simonoski 36’, Del Turco 47’)
Marconi Stallions FC 1 (Purcell 50’ (pen) )
Saturday 22nd of June 2013
Hooka Creek Park, Berkeley
Referee: Khodr Yaghi
Assistant Referees: Andrej Giev and Alec Mouawad
Fourth Official: Mitch Clark
South Coast Wolves: 1.Daniel Collison; 2.Jack Keating, 4.Michael Robinson, 6.Chris Nathaniel, 8.Steve Hayes, 9.Peter Simonoski, 10.Ricky Zucco, 14.Mitchell Del Turco (12.Joseph Lavalle 80’), 17.Zac Mackenzie, 21.Sam Matthews, 26.Jacob Timpano (C)
Substitutes Not Used: 3.Sam Chapple, 5.James Baldacchino, 15.Josh Bingham, 20.Thomas Hamilton
Yellow Cards: Timpano 67’, Simonoski 75’
Red Cards: Nil
Marconi Stallions FC: 22.James Chronopoulos (C); 2.Mitchell Thompson, 3.Aii Haydar, 8.Jared Lum (23.Chris Nunes 64’), 10.Milorad Simonovic, 14.Evan Berger, 15.Wade Oostendorp, 17.Tadhg Purcell, 19.Damien Travis, 25.Kojiro Hori, 45.Elsid Barkhousir
Substitutes Not Used: 4.Umut Tokdogan, 6.Shane Webb, 21.Stefan Giglio, 39.Nicholas Colatino
Yellow Cards: Haydar 67’
Red Cards: Nil
-By Micky Brock