THE LATE kick off was the least of Sydney Olympic’s worries, when they went a goal down to South Coast Wolves in the first three minutes.
Wolves, without injured inspirational skipper Chris Price, started brightly and found the net when Paul Henderson foiled a David Stoic effort, only for the ball to fall kindly for Bradley Welch to thump home.
Stojic attempted to curl one into the net soon after but it didn’t trouble the big Olympic stopper, and it was the unfancied Wolves who were making the early running.
As expected a mighty midfield confrontation ensued with Olympic probing and pushing down the flanks in search of an opening but leaving themselves vulnerable at the back. South Coast looked to exploit this with the ball over the top, looking to use the pace of their front men.
Peter Simonoski found himself in space on the left and another curling effort was sent towards Henderson but this time it was closer, clipping the roof of the net.
Brendan Griffin sent over a looping cross from the left to Jordan Murray who cushioned a header down for Simonoski that Henderson was down sharply to smother.
Stojic was on the end of a flashing shot that swept past the upright in the 34’ minute in a move that saw Welch win the ball inside the area before finally finding its way to the Wolves midfielder. There was no doubt it was the home side who were bossing their opponents about the park.
South Coast were knocking on the door but were unable to find another breakthrough, and they went into the break just a goal to the good for all their endeavours.
Olympic finally registered a decent effort in the 49’ minute Michael Gaitatzis found time and space but couldn’t direct his shot on target.
Olympic drew level when a hopeful ball punted forward found Go Shirai and he worked the space to get a shot on target past Wolves keeper Manos.
It sparked Olympic into life and was closely followed by a Yianni Spyrakis shot which was well put over by Manos at full stretch.
Nahuel Arrarte immediately rang the changes, bringing on Jacob Boutoubia for Stojic who had run himself into the ground.
With the match now all square it became a midfield battle and apart from a few long range efforts neither ‘keeper was troubled in an entertaining to and fro contest.
Olympic could have stolen the points at the end when they forced Manos i to two saves in quick succession but it wasn’t to be.
“Unfortunately we are not at the stage where we can hold out for nearly a full game against the likes of a Sydney Olympic and full credit to the for the comeback. We knew it was going to be dangerous to try and hold on to that lead so we tried to keep going for a second goal and I cannot grumble about the effort the boys put it in," Wolves coach Nahuel Arrarte said.
“Full credit to our boys but we were not surprised Olympic came back after the break and got a stronghold on the game, we expected it.
"I’ve never set out to play for a draw but we could have got a better result on another day but we move on with a point we worked hard for.”
Olympic coach Grant Lee said: “They came out with intensity in the first half and worked hard and deserved their goal. It was well worked although we had too many ball watchers and no-one tracking players but credit Wolves for their effort. We didn’t register a shot in the first 45’ minutes and that shows how hard they worked in closing us down.
“Over the last 3-4 weeks it’s that little bit of intensity that has been lacking and has crept into our game and that has cost us in games recently and we need to sort that out pretty quickly but take nothing away from our opponents performance as they closed us down very well today. We didn’t expect anything different as they are a tough unit to break down especially at home.”
South Coast Wolves 1 (Welch 3’)
Sydney Olympic 1 (Shirai 54)
Sunday 31st May, 2015
WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Referee: Adam Susz
Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling & Jabush Adabjou
Fourth Official: Tristan Harris
South Coast Wolves: Manos, Madden, Griffin, Baldacchino (C), Mackenzie, Stojic (Boutoubia 57), Simonoski, Fielding, O’Rourke, Welch (Proia 62), Murray (Alsaad 76)
Substitutes Not Used: Hamilton, Lavalle
Yellow Cards: Hooper 44, Boutoubia 81
Sydney Olympic: Henderson, Sorge, Hooper, Spyrakis (Keir 83), Angel, Hatzimouratis, Egger, Soeda (C), Shirai, Gatatzis, Tsattalios
Substitutes Not Used: Madonis, Balderson, Sadaka, Markovic
3- Mackenzie (SCW)
2 – Sorge (SO)
1 – Baldacchino (SCW)
– by Micky Brock, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at WIN Stadium