Wollongong Wolves put a young Mount Druitt Town Rangers to the sword, getting up 5-0 at Albert Butler Memorial Park in the final round of NPL NSW Men’s football played at Albert Butler Memorial Park on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Christopher McStay notched a brace while Takumi Ofuka, Sebastian Hernandez and Banri Kanaizumi all got in on the act.
The Wolves hit the front 14 minutes in after an even start to proceedings.
Lachlan Scott’s neat turn centrally saw the forward slip in McStay on the edge of the box, who bent an accurate curling strike into the right side of the net.
Wollongong should have been two up 12 minutes later.
Senna Stevenson’s right-sided cross found Ofuka, whose close-range volley was saved by Omid Ramezani before Jake Trew’s follow-up effort deflected onto the woodwork.
The Rangers took the ball down the other end and almost made the Wolves pay for that missed opportunity.
Shunta Nakamura seeing his low shot from inside the box cleared off the line by Wollongong defender Kanaizumi.
Trew had another chance six minutes before the break when he got into the left channel of the box, but Ramezani who equal to his narrow-angled shot.
The side found their second goal with three first-half minutes to play as Ofuka curled in a superb free-kick from a central position on the edge of the box.
That late second goal gave Wollongong a comfortable buffer heading into the sheds.
The Wolves continued to prob after the break, seeking a third goal.
In the 51st minute, defender Ethan Beavan got his head on a left-sided corner but couldn’t direct the ball on target.
Wollongong found that third goal midway through the half when Stevenson’s cross from the right wasn’t caught by Ramezani, allowing McStay to volley in for his second of the game.
Trew nearly added a fourth just a few minutes later, dragging a left-footed effort wide of the right post.
The team from the South Coast made it four in the 74th minute when Sebastian Hernandez raced in behind and slotted it past Ramezani.
Wollongong didn’t stop there, scoring their fifth 78 minutes in as Kanaizumi steered in from the middle of the box.
The Wolves saw out the remaining minutes in what was the perfect end to the season for David Carney’s men.
Carney explained after a ‘stale’ first 20 minutes, he was happy with what he saw as he builds for next season.
“Last week against Blacktown, I thought we were all over them; they were last year’s champions, but we just couldn’t take our chances, but today we took our chances, and that was the difference,” Carney said.
“There’s not one game I could say that we’ve been dominated. We like to have the ball, like to be in control so it’s looking good. The team’s really gelling together.”
Rangers’ coach Stewart Montgomery said that after last week’s defeat to Western Sydney Wanderers, the team knew the Wolves match was ‘a dead rubber’.
“It was really important for us to take the time to rest our first graders and give the young guys an opportunity,” Montgomery said.
“They’ll learn a lot from that today.
“We had a 19-year-old Jared Macerola captain the club today. He’s been with us since under-13s and he’s got a great career ahead of him, so it was a good chance for him to take the armband off someone like Tarek Elrich.”
The Rangers will now turn its attentions to next Wednesday when they take on Victorian NPL top tier side Heidelberg United in the Round of 16 of the Australia Cup before facing League One runners-up St George FC in a two-legged playoff to stay in the NPL NSW Men’s competition for 2024 or face the prospect of relegation.
Mount Druitt Town Rangers FC 0
Wollongong Wolves FC 5 (Christopher McStay 14’ 68’, Takumi Ofuka 42’, Sebastian Hernandez 74’, Banri Kanaizumi 78’)
Sunday 27 August 2023
Albert Butler Memorial Park, Primbee
Referee: Danny Hornstead
Assistant Referees: Patrick Teleki and Joshua Kermond
Fourth Official: Hayden Michlmayr
Mount Druitt Town Rangers FC: 24. Omid Ramezani (1. Jeremy McCarthy 78’), 6. Jared Macerola (4. Omar Naboulsi 64’), 8. Henry Davies (32. Praneet Singh 64’), 11. Abdelelah Faisal, 12. Will Harvey (30. Samuel Ozdemir 78’), 15. Anthony Gallo, 19. Nicholas Morales, 40. Shunta Nakamura, 41. Ivan Sunjic, 42. Bailey Jacobs, 45. James Samuel-Gray
Substitutes Not Used: Nil
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Wollongong Wolves FC: 13. Tomas Butkovic, 5. Banri Kanaizumi, 6. Senna Stevenson, 7. Marcus Beattie, 8. Samuel Riak, 9. Takumi Ofuka (11. Nav Darjani 80’), 14. Jake Trew (10. Damon Gray 71’), 21. Ethan Beavan (4. Dax Kelly 64’), 24. Lachlan Scott (12. Thomas Dunn 80’), 25. Alex Masciovecchio (99. Sebastian Hernandez 64’), 88. Christopher McStay
Substitutes Not Used: 1. Nenad Vekic
Yellow Cards: Ethan Beavan 51’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Christopher McStay (WW)
2 – Senna Stevenson (WW)
1 – Dax Kelly (WW)
Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_