The South Coast Wolves have continued their good home form under head coach Jacob Timpano with a 1-0 over APIA Leichhardt Tigers in round 19 of the PS4 National Premier League NSW Men’s 1 at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Sunday afternoon.
A goal midway through the first half from young striker Jordan Murray was enough for the home side to mathematically keep their finals hopes alive.
The first real chance of the game came in the 4th minute when Murray used his skill to beat defenders before his shot sailed over the bar.
The opening ten minutes was a midfield battle as both sides tried to gain the ascendency but a good chance fell to Murray in the 15th minute but his shot was smartly blocked.
The visitors almost had a goal of their own a minute later when Stephen Kayes couldn’t find the net.
It was back-to-back shots for the Tigers when David D’Apuzzo could only spray his close-range shot wide.
On the 20th minute mark Brendan Griffin almost brought the game to life when his shot from well outside the box went goal-bound but goalkeeper Ryan Norval pulled out the save to keep the game scoreless.
Six minutes later the opening goal came when Murray beat the keeper one-on-one by slotting the ball into the bottom right corner.
The momentum with the goal shifted towards the home side and Sam Matthews had a chance to extend the lead but his cross couldn’t find Peter Simonoski.
A great cross from Darcy Madden with ten to play in the first half couldn’t be capitalised on as the Tigers goalkeeper came out to meet it.
Right before the interval, a stinging volley from Simonoski was parried by Norval and in the follow-up corner the home side had multiple chances but couldn’t find the back of the net.
He had another chance, this time one-on-one, but a low shot to the goalkeeper’s left was saved as the home side went into the half-time break with a 1-0 lead.
The visiting team had the first real chance of the second half in the 50th minute when a free-kick was awarded just outside the box. However, Sean Symons couldn’t keep his shot down as the ball went over the bar.
It was a case of so close, but not close enough, for the Wolves in the 53rd minute when a cross was half-cleared to Sam Matthews who could only see his shot saved.
From the follow up, David Stojic headed the ball over the goals.
In the 62nd minute, the Wolves caught APIA on the counter but the final pass from Jordan Murray wasn’t well enough directed as the defenders got the ball to safety.
A scramble in the box almost ended with substitute Adam Griffiths getting on the scoresheet but he was stopped by some good defence.
Some neat build-up play by the Wolves in the 72nd minute almost ended with a goal but Murray’s shot went over.
With six minutes to play, the home side almost had their second when again Murray found the space but his header hit the base of the post and went wide.
Neither side really troubled in attack in the final five minutes as the home side came away with the 1-0 win.
Wolves head coach Jacob Timpano was happy with the three points but thinks they could have had more.
“I think from start to finish we outplayed them. Like I said the boys lift when we play the good teams and we showed again today that we’re a better team than the table suggests,” Timpano said.
“I’m proud of the boys the way they went about themselves today but like last week though (against Bonnyrigg) we could have shot ourselves in the foot by not taking our chances and it could have been anything today but at least the boys grounded out a 1-0 victory.”
The Wolves go back on the road next Sunday when they face Rockdale City Suns FC while APIA are back at home against Parramatta FC, also on Sunday.
South Coast Wolves 1 (Murray 26’)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 0
Sunday 26th July 2015.
WIN Stadium, Wollongong.
Referee: James Lewis
Assistant Referees: James Tesoriero and Nathan Wooton
Fourth-Official: Karl Davies
South Coast Wolves: Manos (GK), Madden, Griffin, Baldacchino, Mackenzie, Price (C), Stojic (Fielding 88’), Simonoski, O’Rourke, Matthews, Murray (Welch 85’). Substitutions not used: Hamilton, Al Saad, Zucco.
Yellow cards: Stojic 41’, Matthews 68’, Mackenzie 79’
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: D’Apuzzo, Millgate, Bartels, West, Kayes, Parisi, Elasi, Symons, Ucchino, Olsen (Griffiths 65’), Norval.
Substitutions not used: Moore, Rhodes, Studman.
Yellow cards: Elasi 35’, Studman 40’, Millgate 43’
-By Jake Bull, National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter at WIN Stadium