An overcast but perfect day for football saw South Coast Wolves entertain Sydney Olympic at WIN Stadium in Wollongong and the Wolves gain their first point of the season in an entertaining 1-1 draw.
South Coast were out of the blocks early with a well worked free-kick routine that saw both Chris Price and Matt Bailey go over the ball for Ricky Zucco to fire goalward.
Olympic keeper Paul Henderson was scrambling but a deflection off the wall saw the ball out for an early Wolves corner.
Price, back in action after needing a total knee reconstruction last season, led Brayden Sorge of Olympic a merry dance down the left earning a corner that skipper Jake Timpano got a head to but steered wide of the upright.
William Angel created the best opening so far when he broke down the right for the Blues and sent in a teasing cross just too far ahead of his team mates. Angel quickly found himself in the book for bringing down Darcy Madden in midfield.
Henderson was smartly off his line to thwart Price who was put through by Bailey as the chances became harder to come by.
In fairness, Daniel Collison was called upon to to clear a couple of half-chances for the Wolves however Olympic had not created any clear cut opportunities.
Thus, it came as a surprise when Olympic took the lead.
Angel did well to shield the ball under great pressure before releasing Sorge down the right. His whipped cross had Collison palming away but only to Dmitri Hatzimouratis, who slotted home from an acute angle, the Blues taking the lead against the run of play.
Angel stole the ball moments later, this time from Darcy but the young Wolves left-back was able to recover and get it back just in the nick of time.
Richard Lloyd immediately rang the changes after the break, bringing on Peter Simonoski for Joey Lavalle to increase the strike power up.
South Coast were definitely not looking to capitulate or lay down as they went in search of an equaliser.
Petar Markovic brought down Keating inside the area and Wolves were rewarded for the endeavour with a penalty that was coolly despatched beyond Henderson by Zucco.
Parity was restored with over half an hour remaining.
Henderson was again called into action at his near post to push another Zucco effort around the post, keeping the scores level, as they would remain at full time.
Richard Lloyd said afterwards: “The second-half we changed a few things up a bit and the boys just need to back themselves a bit more.
“They need to just get hold of the ball and play it because they have the skill to do so and just need the confidence to do it.
“Last week we got our first goal, this week we’ve got a goal and our first point so it’s building slowly and obviously I would like it to build a bit quicker."
Grant Lee of Sydney Olympic wasn’t happy after the game.
“They came out hard in the second period but they were one down and had lost their opening two fixtures," Lee said.
"We spoke about that at the interval and knew they would throw everything at us.
“We were a little slow out of the blocks at first but then we settled down and started to play some good football.
“South Coast are a physical team like a lot are in this league and we knew they would come at us hard but I thought we weathered that well and didn’t really put us under any great pressure.”
South Coast Wolves 1 (Ricky Zucco 56′ (pen) )
Sydney Olympic 1 (Dmitri Hatzimouratis 29′)
Sunday 30th March, 2014
WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Referee: Adrian Arndt
Assistant Referees: Andre Giev and Nathan Wotton
Fourth Official: Katie Patterson
South Coast Wolves: 1.Daniel Collison; 2.Jack Keating, 4.Michael Robinson, 6.Zachary Mackenzie, 7.Chris Price, 8.Matthew Bailey, 10.Ricky Zucco, 15.Darcy Madden, 20.Joey Lavelle (9.Peter Simonoski 46), 22.Samuel Matthews, 26.Jacob Timpano ©
Substitutes Not Used: 111.David Hamilton (GK)3.Chris Nathaniel, 5.James Ballacchino, 11.Mitch Del Turco
Yellow Cards: Ricky Zucco 53′
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic: 1.Paul Henderson; 2.Brayden Sorge, 3.Troy Danaskos, 4.Brendan Hooper, 7.William Angel, 9.Dmitri Hatzimouratis (39.Michael Gaitatzis 83′), 10.Harris Gaitatzis, 14.Peter Markovic ©, 23.Evan Kostopoulos, (19.Go Shirai 61′), 24.Amaury Gauthier, 33.Chris Tomaras (8.Chris Godoy Baskur 75′)
Substitutes Not Used: 12.Kresimir Kardum, 15.Yianni Spyrakis
Yellow Cards: Angel 17′, Sorge 37′, Gauthier 87′
Red Cards: Nil
3 – William Angel (SO)
2 – Jacob Timpano (SCW)
1 – Brayden Sorge (SO)
-by Micky Brock