The South Coast Wolves will feature in the 2015 PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Finals Series after a 2-0 victory over Marconi Stallions FC on Sunday afternoon.
Wolves needed other results to go their way and a win in their last game of the season at WIN Stadium to secure a Finals Series berth. Goals to Jordan Murray and Joey Lavalle sealed the win as the visitors finished with nine men courtesy of two red cards.
The home side almost took the lead in the first minute but striker Peter Simonoski was adjudged to have been offside.
In the eighth minute, the home side had the numbers but chose the wrong option as the ball went out for a corner that came to nothing.
Five minutes later a beautiful cross found Jordan Murray but with only the goalkeeper to beat, he put his header over the bar.
In the 23rd minute, the visitors were awarded a free-kick just outside the area. Jacob Boutoubia stepped up and his stinging shot hit the crossbar and went clear as both sides searched for the opening goal.
It was a see-sawing affair and four minutes later the Wolves pushed forward. A cross from Peter Simonoksi found Jordan Murray but the defender got in at the last second to block his shot for a corner.
A half-chance for Marconi came in the 33rd minute when Milorad Simonovic beat multiple defenders before shooting over from outside the box.
Simonovic went even closer in the 41st minute when he found some space inside the area but it wasn’t accurate enough off the boot as it screamed across goal.
Neither side could find the back of the net as the half-time score line read 0-0.
The first real chance of the second half fell to substitute Joseph Lavalle whose shot was almost headed in by Simonoski but the goalkeeper dived to his right to make the save.
A free-kick three minutes later for the visitors was whipped into the box but the header went wide of the post.
It was getting nervy for the home side and in the 56th minute Brendan Griffin made his way down the touchline before cutting back for an on-rushing Samuel Matthews who couldn’t get to the ball before the defender.
The game took a dramatic turn in the 59th minute when Simonoski was through on goal and was brought down by goalkeeper Sam Nastic. The referee had no choice but to send him from the field as the visitors went down to ten men.
In the 64th minute, Simonoski got himself into a good position but was quickly shut down. He fed the ball to Sam Matthews who skipped past one defender before spraying his shot wide.
With twenty minutes remaining, pressure was beginning to build for the Wolves and they had yet another chance to go ahead when Jordan Murray passed to Brendan Griffin but his shot trickled at goal.
However, two minutes later the deadlock was finally broken when Jordan Murray broke free and turned on his left foot to smash the ball into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The relief was evident throughout WIN Stadium and five minutes later the home side had their second when Simonoski played the ball across the goal to Lavalle who tapped it in.
Things went from bad to worse for Marconi in the 80th minute when Boutoubia received his second yellow of the game as the Stallions went down to nine men.
The further advantage almost paid dividends when Murray headed just wide, almost getting his second of the game.
The home side played out the remaining ten minutes to ensure they went into their first finals game in three years.
The last time the Wolves made a final series, Wolves head coach Jacob Timpano was a player, and he says this team is going in with nothing to lose.
“Our first half was very ordinary but maybe nerves got the better of the boys but I thought in that second half we really turned up and yeah they had a couple of guys sent off but I think we totally dominated the second half,” Timpano said.
“For the group I think is big because ten weeks ago a lot of people were writing them off; telling them they weren’t good enough so to prove a lot of people wrong I think that’s the biggest satisfaction, especially from the players end.
“We definitely have nothing to lose. We weren’t expected to make the finals so now it’s just to enjoy the week; enjoy the finals and how it really goes, it goes.”
The Wolves will head into the finals with a clash against Sydney Olympic, while for Marconi Stallions FC it’s the end of a season that never got started.
South Coast Wolves 2 (Murray 72’, Lavalle 77’)
Marconi Stallions FC 0
Sunday 16th August 2015
WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Referee: Robert Nieuwenhuis
Assistant Referees: Andrej Giev & Janush Adabjou
Fourth Official: Timothy Danaskos
South Coast Wolves: Al Saad, Baldacchino, Griffin, Mackenzie, Madden, Manos, Matthews, Murray (Welch 88’), Price, Simonoksi, Zucco (Lavalle 46’).
Substitutions not used: Hamilton, Fielding Wilson
Yellow cards: Mackenzie 57’
Marconi Stallions FC: Boutoubia, Lum, Nastic, Nunes, Ott, Rhodes, Simonovic (Panayi 67’), Thompson, Mijic, Boyadsian (D’Antimo 60’), Talevski (Peterson 67’)
Substitutions not used: Brown, Drewery
Yellow cards: Boutoubia 21’, 80’, Simonovic 54’
Red card: Nastic 59’, Boutoubia 80’
– By Jake Bull, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at WIN Stadium, Wollongong.