Hakoah Sydney City East and Wollongong Wolves played out a 1-1 draw in Heritage Round of the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s at Hensley Athletic Field.
The home side looked to have secured all three points until the late send-off of Dylan Walker allowed the Wolves to equalise from the ensuing free-kick.
Replacement Stefan Dimoski forced the ball into the net much to the joy of his teammates.
The game took a while to get going with both teams cautiously knocking the ball around without too much purpose early on.
It resembled a game of chess, where both sides were waiting for the opposition to make the next move, until the 17th minute when Wollongong’s Zachary Mackenzie shot from just outside the box into the awaiting arms of Anthony Costa in goal.
The Wolves, resplendent in their Heritage Round retro jersey of a bygone era, almost conceded in the 37th minute when a free-kick from some distance by Lee Jones was well punched away by Justin Pasfield.
They should have taken note because Jones would come back to haunt them later.
In the 40th minute Ryan Blumberg did all the hard work himself and fired from just outside the box, but unfortunately for Hakoah his well-timed shot was confidently saved by goalkeeper Pasfield.
Late in the first half a great cross from the right by Dylan Blumberg was stupendously met by Neil Jablonski but his header was just a fraction off target. It was by far the best chance of the first half and it was so close, yet so far, for Hakoah.
Indeed, after a slow start to the game, the last ten minutes of the first stanza of play were certainly the most exciting especially for the home side’s supporters who were perched mainly in the boutique little grandstand on the western side of the field on the coldest night of the year so far.
In the second half in the 51st minute Hakoah came close again to hitting the target when a volley from the edge of the box by Gavin Rae sailed just over the crossbar.
In the 60th minute though they did break the deadlock. Directly from a free kick Hakoah took the lead when Lee Jones, with a low and hard free kick that went around the wall, beautifully placed the ball in the bottom left hand corner of the net.
In the 66th minute the Wolves nearly equalised when a long throw in by Brett Wilson reached Joshua MacDonald who shot at goal, almost in slow motion such was the poor defending from the home side, but Costa got down low to turn the ball away for a corner to spare his side’s blushes.
In the 84th minute Gavin Rae cleared a swinging free kick from the right by MacDonald beautifully away over the crossbar, but it was clear that the visitors from the Illawarra were determined to come away with at least a point.
In the 87th minute the game did change when Brad Walker was sent off for a straight red card and, from the resulting free kick, Wollongong equalised.
The ball, well hit by Joshua MacDonald, rebounded off the wall but was then drilled into the back of the net by substitute Stefan Dimoski and didn’t the Wolves players celebrate.
After the game it was clear that Hakoah’s astute coach Mark Robertson thought that it was a case of two points lost rather than a point gained.
“We had all of the play going forward from the start and our ‘keeper didn’t have a lot to do,” he said.
“Wollongong came here for a draw but we were pushing to win. We thought that we played well enough to win but, at the end of the day, we get a draw at home that feels like a loss.
“We never want players sent off and, secondly, we never want the other team to capitalise but that’s exactly what happened. On the positive side today Lee Jones’ free-kick was quality. He has been practising them and it’s a just reward for him and I’m pleased.”
Over in the Wollongong dressing room the affable coach Jacob Timpano was pleased with the point given that his team is very short of personnel due to injury.
“I am quite pleased with the point because we were up against it today as we had eleven first graders and five players on the bench who played 90 minutes in the Under 20’s,” he said.
“A point away from home, after going a goal down, is pleasing but in the context of the game it was fairly even. I did speak to our boys about Lee Jones who is one of the best dead-ball specialists in the game and that’s the way they scored, but credit to our guys who hung in there and then got an equaliser.”
Hakoah Sydney City East 1 (Jones 60’)
Wollongong Wolves 1 (Dimoski 88’)
Saturday 28thMay 2016
Hensley Athletic Field, Pagewood
Referee: Chris Young
Assistant Referees: Joon Park & Thomas Lee
Fourth Official: M. Bailey
Hakoah Sydney City: 1. COSTA Anthony, 3. BLUMBERG Dylan, 4. WALKER Brad, 5. BOWDEN-HAASE Nathan, 9. JABLONSKI Neil (7. AKIL Hussein 70’), 11. RAE Gavin, 13. VRANIC Adrian (31. LOPES Kevin 76’), 14. JONES Lee (10. GILMARTIN Deklan 67’), 17. MUNDELL Jordan, 23. DE JONG Andre, 40. BLUMBERG Ryan
Substitutes not used: 8. ORGAD Paul, 20. MACKENZIE Matthew
Yellow Cards: Rae 32’, Jablonski 49’, R. Blumberg 68’
Red Card: Walker 87’
Wollongong Wolves: 1. PASFIELD Justin, 2. KAWASE Kota, 5. BALDACCHINO James, 6. GRIFFIN Brendan, 7. PRICE Chris, 8. MACKENZIE Zachary (9.DELBANCO Robert 77’), 11. WILSON Brett, 16. LAZAREVSKI Danny (10. DIMOSKi Stefan 83’), 18. BERNAL Nicolas, 19. MACDONALD Joshua, 23. MATTHEWS Samuel
Substitutes not used: 12. COLLISON Daniel, 17. LOMBO Jack
Yellow Cards: Lazarevski 36’, Kawase 59’
Red Cards: Nil
3. Lee Jones (HSC)
2. Joshua MacDonald (WW)
1. Neil Jablonski (HSC)
-by Joe Russo, PlayStation®National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Hensley Athletic Field, Pagewood