Wollongong Wolves turned on the style to fire past Blacktown City and keep a four-point lead at the top of the 2019 National Premier League NSW Men’s ladder with a 4-0 win at WIN Stadium on Sunday.
A brace from leading scorer Thomas James and goals to Taylor McDonald and Nicholas Litter helped the Wolves to their first win over Blacktown City since June 2010.
Despite causing a significant amount of early pressure, Wollongong was unable to get onto the scoresheet until the 30th minute, when Thomas James picked up a pass from James Stojcevski on the left flank and buried a powerful effort into the bottom-right corner.
James picked up his second of the match in the 62nd minute, making a good run along the edge of the Blacktown City box before firing a pinpoint shot into the bottom-left corner.
Wollongong then added their third goal of the afternoon three minutes later, with Taylor McDonald showing great control to turn away from the Blacktown City defence in the box and fire into the top of the net.
Nicholas Litter completed the rout for the Wolves in the 72nd minute, tapping a James Stojcevski free-kick past Blacktown City custodian Tristan Prendergast to secure all three points for the home side.
Blacktown City were unable to make inroads against the stubborn Wollongong defence, only managing a handful of chances in the final moments, with sub Emmanuel Gonzalez having the best chance of the match for the visitors, tapping a cross from William Mutch just wide of the post in stoppage time.
Wollongong Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire was pleased with the side being able to secure the win in front of their home fans, but noted the side still has some growing to do.
“We hit the bar a few times, but I’m delighted for the boys’ response,” he said.
“We were disappointed with the draw last week and to come back [to WIN], we want to make it a fortress here and it was a great performance.
“Winning is a habit and that’s what we want to do. We are all motivated to win, perform and entertain. We try not to get ahead of ourselves and look at other things and [we] go week by week, day by day and take it as it comes.”
Meanwhile Blacktown City coach Mark Crittenden was disappointed with the travelling side’s performance, noting that all the side can do going forward is quickly put the result behind them.
“Nothing but credit to Wollongong. We didn’t turn up, but they didn’t allow us to either. They were very good and full credit to them,” he said.
“[There was] probably a little bit of a lack of desperation by us at times and you can’t afford that when playing against a good side.
“There wasn’t any part of this afternoon that was what we’d expect at Blacktown and obviously we’ve got to move on and regroup and look forward to Marconi next weekend.”
The Wolves will seek to extend their unbeaten streak in the league to ten matches when they host Rockdale City Suns next Saturday at WIN Stadium, while Blacktown City will hope to return to winning ways when they host Blacktown Spartans in the FFA Cup on Wednesday at Lily Homes Stadium in a local derby.
Wollongong Wolves 4 (Thomas James 30’, 62’, Taylor McDonald 65’, Nicholas Litter 72’)
Blacktown City FC 0
Sunday 5th May, 2019
WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Referee: B. Abraham
Assistant Referees: M. McOrist and N. Wotton
Fourth Official: N. Ryan
Wollongong Wolves: 1. Justin Pasfield, 2. Taylor McDonald, 4. Nikola Djordjevic, 6. Benjamin Tosi, 9. Thomas James, 14. Harry Callahan, 15. Nick Littler, 16. Guy Knight (19. Brendan Low 85’), 17. James Stojcevski, 23. Jordan Nikolovski (20. Liam Wille 65’), 25. Bul Juach (13. Stefan Dimoski 81’)
Substitutes Not Used: 8. James Markovic, 12. Luke Kairies (GK)
Yellow Cards: Thomas James 37’, James Stojcevski 52’
Red Cards: Nil
Blacktown City FC: 1. Tristan Prendergast, 3. Daniel Collins, 5. Grant Lynch, 6. Matthew Lewis, 8. Daniel Araujo (7. Devante Clut 77’), 9. Joey Gibbs, 12. Lachlan Campbell (22. Leroy Jennings 45’), 15. Mason Versi, 19. Adam Berry, 21. William Mutch, 23. Daniel Bragg (11. Emmanuel Gonzalez 68’)
Substitutes Not Used: 17. Dakota Askew, 20. Dylan Niski
Yellow Cards: Grant Lynch 34’, Mason Versi 46’, Daniel Bragg 54’, Daniel Collins 71’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Thomas James (Wollongong Wolves)
2 – James Stojcevski (Wollongong Wolves)
1 – Harry Callahan (Wollongong Wolves)
By NPL NSW Reporter Cal Behrendt (@CalBehrendt)