A first-half strike from Wollongong’s Lachlan Scott helped the Wolves beat competition strugglers Hakoah Sydney City East 1-0 at WIN Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Scott’s 34th minute strike helped the league leaders go seven points clear at the top of the National Premier League NSW Men’s ladder with just four rounds remaining.
It was the hosts who dominated most of the early play, with early chances from the league-leading goal scorer Thomas James and Japanese dynamo Takeru Okada troubling travelling Hakoah gloveman Ryan Norval to no avail.
However, the Wolves finally broke through in the 34th minute after Okada was able to slide a ball out to Taylor McDonald on the right-hand flank.
McDonald quickly swung in a pinpoint cross aimed at former A-League striker Lachlan Scott, who was able to deftly nod the ball past Norval, squeezing the shot into the back of the net and handing the hosts the lead.
Despite going behind, the bottom-placed Hakoah side refused to count themselves out of the fixture and the side almost levelled the scores in the 57th minute thanks to a quick break from Adrian Vranic. Vranic was able to slide a quick ball past a rushing Justin Pasfield and find Dominic Cox on the right-hand side of the Wolves box.
However, Cox was unable to level the scores, mis-hitting his shot past Pasfield, causing it to be swept up by the Wollongong backline.
The visitors continued to prove problematic in the second half as Wollongong attempted to stamp their authority on the encounter, but neither side was able to add to the match’s goal tally, with the Wolves holding on for a 1-0 win.
Wollongong coach Luke Wilkshire was slightly disappointed in his side’s performance despite the result but noted the side still did well to earn a clean sheet and put themselves in a strong position for the final stretch of the season.
“People say that it’s a cliché that there is no such thing as an easy game, but they fight for their lives, they make it difficult and they [Hakoah] did,” he said.
“I think for me we didn’t reach the levels that I know this team can play at, so in that respect it’s disappointing.
“It’s not bad when you come after another victory and another clean sheet and feel a little bit disappointed. It shows what’s expected of us and expected of ourselves but it’s another three points, we’ve got four games left to go and we’ve got a couple of weeks now to prepare for the next one.”
Meanwhile, Hakoah Sydney City East coach Gavin Rae thought his side played well against the league leaders but noted the side continues to lack a fatal quality in the final third.
“We came here with a game plan, we know they’re [Wollongong] a good team [and] try and stifle them as much as we could and limit chances,” he said.
“I thought overall, we did ok at that and we made a couple of half chances ourselves and that’s what we are aiming for, to try and get something out of the game.
“That’s probably what has let us down all season to be honest. Little bits like that and its’ been very disappointing, getting in good positions and we’re just not taking advantage of it.
“We’ve got a good team that has just fell a bit short at times this season and that’s disappointing, but hey, that’s football and you’ve got to take it.”
Wollongong Wolves 1 (Lachlan Scott 34’)
Hakoah Sydney City East FC 0
Sunday 7th July, 2019
WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Referee: H. Jomaa
Assistant Referees: M. McOrist and J. Park
Fourth Official: S. Quinn
Wollongong Wolves: 1. Justin Pasfield, 2. Taylor McDonald (14. Harry Callahan 62’), 3. Darcy Madden, 4. Nikola Djordjevic, 7. Christopher Price, 9. Thomas James (23. Jordan Nikolovski 78’), 11. Takeru Okada, 15. Nick Littler, 16. Guy Knight, 17. James Stojcevski, 24. Lachlan Scott (8. Bul Juach 88’)
Substitutes Not Used: 6. Benjamin Tosi, 12. Luke Kairies (GK)
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Hakoah Sydney City East FC: 1. Ryan Norval, 2. Connor Shaddock, 4. Bradley Walker, 5. Steven Katsionis, 6. Dominic Cox (24. Amaury Marie Gauthier 73’), 8. Oliver Green, 11. Jack Green, 12. Joshua Swadling, 13. Robert Ezekiel (14. Jordan Koton 61’), 17. Harry Jones, 23. Adrian Vranic (9. Shohei Okuno 87’)
Substitutes Not Used: 10. Nathan Roberts, 25. Max Ephraim
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings have now been hidden due to the second half of the season commencing.
By National Premier Leagues NSW Reporter Cal Behrendt