Two second half goals has helped APIA Leichhardt Tigers to a 3-1 PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s win over the Wollongong Wolves at WIN Stadium.
First half goals from Tasuku Sekiya and Nicholas Bernal were cancelled out by strikes from Nathan Millgate and Nick Olsen as the travelling side left Wollongong with all three points.
It was a very subdued opening to the game with most of the battle in the middle of the field. Neither side could conjure a chance in the opening stages before a cross in the 9th minute fell to APIA midfielder Nick Olsen but he could only spray his shot just wide.
Two minutes later the visitors should have opened the scoring. Corey Biczo made a long run down the right touchline before whipping a cross but Tasuku Sekiya could only blast his shot against the upright.
It was all APIA in the opening stages and in the 15th minute a cross found an open Nathan Elasi but he missed his chance and headed wide.
The ball seemed camped at the Wolves defensive end and in the 17th minute APIA almost got the first goal of the game when Sekiya’s shot from outside the box grazed the outside of the post.
Seven minutes later the travelling side should have again gotten on the scoresheet when a neat ball into the box found danger man Sekiya but his shot was cut off at the last second.
APIA Leichhardt dominated play with the home side getting their chances on the counter.
In the 40th minute a defensive lapse from the Wolves ended with Sekiya curling the ball from outside the box and into the back of the net for the opening goal of the game.
Four minutes later against the run of play, the home side pulled one back through Nicholas Bernal to give the home side hope heading into the interval.
Right on the brink of the half-time whistle, Bernal troubled the APIA goalkeeper when his shot from well outside the box was smartly saved.
It was a slow start to the second half but opened up in the 52nd minute when a cross from the right found Nathan Millgate at the back post to put the visitors in front again.
Wollongong almost levelled within minutes. Substitute Brett Wilson ran down the right touchline before crossing to Bernal but his shot was saved well by APIA goalkeeper Ryan Norval.
Substitute Wilson injected some life into the home sides attack and when he cut inside on 58 minutes he looked to have found some space but his shot sprayed over the crossbar for a goal kick.
The home side was starting to build some pressure and in the 63rd minute Brendan Griffin was left with acres of space but he could only put his shot from outside the box over.
A neat passage of play in the 65th minute from the visitors led to their third goal from Nick Olsen as he put the ball away from six yards out to make it 3-1.
In the 83rd minute, Tasuku Sekiya had the chance to put the icing on the cake when he was able to receive the ball and get himself one-on-one with Justin Pasfield but his shot was saved.
The Wolves then had a final chance in the 90th minute as Zachary MacKenzie made his way into the box but his header just missed the goal as the visitors held on to their two goal advantage.
After the match APIA head Coach Danial Cummins was happy with the performance despite his concerns of letting the two goal lead slip.
“The boys have been working hard and it’s starting to come together. We’ve still got a bit of work to do with our execution but I can’t fault their effort,” he said.
“I’m always worried. I think Jake (Wollongong Wolves head coach Jacob Timpano) has them working well and I’ve seen a fair bit of Wollongong so they’re a good side and they work hard. We needed to be switched on.”
On the other hand, Wollongong Wolves head coach Jacob Timpano remained positive despite his sides run of poor reslts.
“APIA probably had the better of us early on in the first half but I think we got ourselves back into the game. We probably got a deserved goal back before the break,” he said.
“We’ve just got to regroup and I don’t think we’re too far off. We just have to keep plugging away and in a positive we got a win in the 20s today and a draw in the 18s so we’re not getting outplayed so I think a result is not far away.”
For the winners, APIA Leichhardt Tigers, they return home next Saturday night to face Rockdale City Suns FC while the Wollongong Wolves hit the road to meet Manly United FC next Sunday.
Wollongong Wolves: 1 (BERNAL Nicholas 44’)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 3 (SEKIYA Tasuku 40’, MILLGATE Nathan 52’, OLSEN Nick 65’)
Sunday 26th June 2016.
WIN Stadium, Wollongong.
Referee: A. Arndt
Assistant Referees: J. Tesoriero & L. Pigram
Fourth Official: M. Riedy
Wollongong Wolves: 1. PASFIELD Justin 2. KAWASE Kota 3. MADDEN Darcy 5. BALDACCHINO James 6. MACKENZIE Zachary 7. PRICE Chris (17. ZUCCO Ricky 74’) 8. GRIFFIN Brendan 16. ZUCCO Ben (10. STOJIC David 74’) 18. BERNAL Nicholas 19. MACDONALD Joshua 23. MATTHEWS Sam (11. WILSON Brett 54’)
Substitutions not used: 12. COLLISON Daniel 15. LAZAREVSKI Danny
Yellow Cards: 7. PRICE Chris 38’, ZUCCO Ben 60’, 9. MACDONALD Joshua 87’
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 6. AUSTIN Luke, 8. BICZO Corey (16. SYMONS Sean 62‘), 13. D’APUZZO David, 9. ELASI Nathan (10. PARISI Franco 76‘), 2. MILLGATE Nathan, 15. MUATA-MARLOW Themba, 92. NORVAL Ryan, 23. OLSEN Nick, 20. SEKIYA Tasuku, 18. UCCHINO Adrian 22. SOLE Zane (11. MURRAY Jordan 87‘)
Substitutes Not Used: 5. HOOPER Brendan 50. TUXFORD Blake
Yellow Cards: 15.MUATA-MARLOW Themba 36‘,13. D’APUZZO David 43‘, AUSTIN Luke 76‘, SYMONS Sean 87‘
-By Jake Bull, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at WIN Stadium, Wollongong.