After the original match was postponed after ten minutes due to a lightning storm on Saturday, the round 3 clash between St George City and Western Sydney Wanderers did not disappoint with Mirko Jurilj’s troops coming out 4-2 victors in turbo charged encounter at Penshurst Park on Monday.
The home side took the lead thanks to an early Maki Petratos goal but the ferocious weather forced the action to be postponed.
The Wanderers charged back into the game through a Jarrod Carluccio goal before St George City regained their composure and scored right at the end of the first stanza of play thanks to Aiden Mostofi.
Teng Kuol then put the Wanderers back on even footing before Marley Peterson and Daniel Alessi scored for St George City to round out the scoring.
It wasn’t long after the resumption before Western Sydney Wanderers equalised in technically the 14th minute of play: a long ball found its way to Jarrod Carluccio who beat the ‘keeper one-on-one with a nice finish. Carluccio was a late replacement on the junior Wanderers team sheet having played in the exciting A-league fixture on Sunday against Adelaide United.
In the 20th minute St George City had a great chance when Dominic Cox fed the ball to Pedro da Silva who cut in from by-line for Mostofi, but his shot was deflected onto crossbar and away for a corner.
In the 32nd minute a long distance free-kick to Western Sydney was delightfully taken by Nathaniel Blair but the ball sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
However, only a minute later, St George City had an even more spectacular free kick. It was Franco Maya who hit it superbly only to be denied by the crossbar and, from the rebound, Tarik Ercan tried a spectacular bicycle kick that also rebounded off the woodwork. There really was a collective sigh of relief from the Wanderers who had dodged a bullet there and then.
St George City though did regain the lead right at the end of the first half: a quick move down left flank saw Maya whip the ball into the middle where an alert Mostofi tapped it in from close range.
After the resumption of play in the second half the first real chance was the equalising goal for the Wanderers. In the 58th minute a quickly taken free-kick was not cleared by the St George defence and somehow Kuol managed to bundle the ball in for the visitors through a crowded box. It wasn’t flash but it certainly was effective.
St George City made a double substitution in the 63rd minute and one of the players who came on, Presley Ortiz, with his first touch – a close range header to be precise – almost found the back of the net.
The hosts pressed on and two minutes later a Maya corner beat all and sundry and almost curled in at the far post much to the frustration of the home side.
St George City deservedly regained the lead in the 68th minute when the newly arrived duo combined for the goal: Ortiz sprinted to cross the ball back in from the by-line and send it straight into the path of Marley Peterson who finished nicely from close range. It was indeed a masterstroke from coach Mirko Jurilj who took off his earlier goal scorers – Maki Petratos and Mostofi – and sent on both Ortiz and Peterson in one stroke.
St George City scored their fourth and final goal in 85th minute and as such virtually guaranteed their first three points of the season. Another beautiful in-swinging corner from Maya reached Alessi at the far post and the former Wanderer didn’t miss the back of the net with his header.
Speaking after the game St George City coach Mirko Jurilj was delighted with the win.
“Finally it was our first win for the club but we did it the hard way,” he said.
“We conceded early after the resumption of play which was disappointing but, purely on chances, we could have easily had two or three more goals in the first half alone.
“Our execution wasn’t always there but I still think that we deserved the win. The hardest bit is that the longer you go without a win, it becomes harder to actually get a win. Tonight though I am happy for the boys because they have worked hard all pre-season and overall we are a good football team.”
His counterpart at Western Sydney Wanderers Andrew Christiansen was realistic about what had happened on the park.
“It was a tough game tonight for us and St George were very good,” he said.
“Our boys have quality in moments but we need to be more consistent and concede fewer goals.
“We need to step up the level quickly but I am proud of our boys every day. The group is fantastic.
“They are a group of talented young men with some things to learn but they are learning all the time. This is all good exposure for them but we still want to win.”
St GEORGE CITY 4 (M. Petratos 2’, Mostofi 45’, Peterson 68’, Alessi 86’)
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERES 2 (Carluccio 14’, Kuol 58’)
Monday 20th February 2023
Referee: Craig Fisher
Assistant Referees: Alessandro Llana and Matthew Staples
Fourth Official: Daniel Drewitt
St GEORGE CITY: 1. Nicholas Burke, 2. Pedro Da Silva (26. Thomas Lopez 94’), 3. Daniel Alessi, 6. Tarik Ercan, 8. Dominic Cox, 11. Kosta Petratos (10. Paolo Mitry 76’), 14. Dean Pelekanos, 20. Aiden Mostofi (30. Presley Ortiz 63’), 23. Franco Maya, 70. Maki Petratos (9. Marley Peterson 63’), 99. Matthew Keremelevski
Substitutes not used: 12. Jack Kenny, 43. Kai Puntigam
Yellow Cards: Ercan 31’, Keremelvski 52’, Peterson 81’
Red Cards: Nil
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS: 20. Lawrence Caruso, 4. Alex Bonetig, 7. Marcus Younis, 8. Jarrod Carluccio, 9. Nathaniel Blair (24. Teng Kuol 46’), 12. Edmund Lupancu, 13. Daniel Wilmering, 14. George Antonis, 23. Mason Fernandez (28. Luke Nieuwenhof 73’), 26. Yianni Frerck (2. Matthew O’Donoghue 81’), 77. Ariath Piol
Substitutes not used: 6. Frans Deli, 27. Farah Koko, 30, Ben Loucas
Yellow Cards: Fernandez 31’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Franco Maya (STG)
2 – Daniel Alessi (STGO
1 – Jarrod Carluccio (WSW)
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo