A stoppage-time strike from Matthew Sim helped Sydney United 58 take all three points from league-leading Wollongong Wolves in a 2-1 victory at WIN Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Sim scored in the final moments of the fiery clash – which saw nine yellow cards and the dismissal of Sydney United 58’s Patrick Antelmi – to secure the win for the visitors after Tariq Maia’s first half strike was cancelled out by Wollongong’s Thomas James.
The Wolves came into the fixture hoping to excise the demons created by the side’s 1-0 defeat to Mount Druitt Town Rangers in the final round of FFA Cup Qualifying on Wednesday, but the side found themselves a goal behind after 39 minutes.
A quick pass from Christian Gonzalez down the left-hand side of the field found former Wollongong player Joshua Macdonald, who was able to deliver an inch-perfect pass to Tariq Maia in the Wollongong box.
Maia – who found the back of the net the last time these two sides faced back in Round 3 – made no mistake of the delivery, tapping the ball past Wollongong’s Justin Pasfield to open the scoring.
However, the Wolves pulled level mid-way through the second half, with Takeru Okada managing to steal the ball from United’s Yianni Fragogiannis and quickly push the ball to Lachlan Scott, who was sitting on the edge of the box.
Scott opted to slide the ball across to an open Thomas James, who fired past Thomas Manos and drew the game level.
However, the visitors managed to grab victory in the final moments of the match, with a quick break down the left-hand side falling to Matthew Sim, who was able to direct the ball past a diving Justin Pasfield and into the right-hand corner to restore United’s lead.
Wollongong had a late chance to equalise in the second minute of stoppage time with a Thomas James free-kick, but United’s Thomas Manos managed to tip the curling effort around the post ensure the victory.
Wollongong coach Luke Wilkshire noted that while his side did enough to create chances against the visitors, the side lacked the killing blow and lost as a result of it.
“We want to win games, so that [the loss] is disappointing, but in saying that I think it was a good tough game,” he said.
“Our goalscoring wasn’t up to par, the final execution wasn’t there and when you have possession and territory and don’t take your chances, you get punished, and that’s what happened tonight.
“We [will] go back on the training field, we’ll review it, we’ll work on what we need to work on and be ready to go again next week.”
Meanwhile Sydney United 58 coach Miro Vlastelica was pleased with how well his side responded against the league leaders.
“We knew it was going to be tough to come down here, because we played the 120 minutes mid-week [in the FFA Cup] and you could see that, but its credit to the boys. They didn’t stop playing,” he said.
“The boys just didn’t stop working hard and it’s a credit to the team. They dug deep and, in the end, we had a lot of chances there and we could have finished the game off… and when your supporters come and travel with you, they lifted the team that extra bit.”
Wollongong Wolves will hope to return to winning ways when they host 10th placed Sydney FC next Sunday at WIN Stadium, while Sydney United 58 – who move level on points with Blacktown City as a result of the victory – will attempt to move into second on the ladder when they travel to Lambert Park next Sunday to take on A.P.I.A. Leichhardt Tigers in an enticing match as they take on two former players in Nick Stavroulakis and Chris Payne.
Wollongong Wolves FC 1 (Thomas James 64’)
Sydney United 58 FC 2 (Tariq Maia 39’, Matthew Sim 90’)
Sunday 9th June, 2019
WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Referee: K. Ams
Assistant Referees: N. Backo and C. Wright
Fourth Official: N. Kour
Wollongong Wolves: 1. Justin Pasfield, 3. Darcy Madden, 4. Nikola Djordjevic, 6. Benjamin Tosi (14. Harry Callahan 57’), 7. Christopher Price, 9. Thomas James, 11. Takeru Okada, 15. Nick Littler, 16. Guy Knight, 17. James Stojcevski, 24. Lachlan Scott (23. Jordan Nikolovski 88’)
Substitutes Not Used: 12. Luke Kairies (GK), 13. Stefan Dimoski, 20. Liam Wille
Yellow Cards: Thomas James 30’, Nick Littler 88’
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney United 58 FC: 4. Adrian Vlastelica (3. Jordan Roberts 70’), 5. Anthony Tomelic (10. Sebastien Gallegos 82’), 7. Peter Simonoski, 8. Matthew Sim, 11. Yianni Perkatis, 14. Tomislav Uskok, 15. Tariq Maia, 19. Joshua Macdonald (9. Patrick Antelmi 65’), 20. Christian Gonzalez 21. Thomas Manos, 22. Yianni Fragogiannis
Substitutes Not Used: 1. Daniel Sadaka, 6. Petar Markovic
Yellow Cards: Peter Simonoski 43’, Tomislav Uskok 49’, Patrick Antelmi 71’, 90+1’, Anthony Tomelic 75’, Yianni Fragogiannis 86’, Matthew Sim 90’
Red Cards: Patrick Antelmi 90+1’
Player Ratings have now been hidden due to the second half of the season commencing.
By National Premier Leagues NSW Reporter Cal Behrendt (@CalBehrendt)