The match was arguably robbed of a deserved bigger crowd due to a large attendance at a pre-season cup semi final for the local league being played at the same time just 10-minutes north of the venue but the vocal crowd on hand were treated to a positive result for the locals.
It took an 86th minute header and a 90? minute header to break what was looking like a mirror performance of round 1 for Wollongong.
The game was an open affair in the first-half with both sides playing attractive free flowing football but at either ends there were commanding performances from the respective goalkeepers who would feature prominently in deciding the outcome.
For Wollongong the return of Olyroo Goalkeeper Justin Pasfield, who missed last week’s 4-0 loss to Sydney Olympic, whilst on Olympic team duty, seemed to lift them to a new level of confidence at the back.
For A.P.I.A., Matthew Nash was again a constant menace that would go on to prevent a far bigger scoreline for the visitors.
The biggest talking point during the first-half was the disallowed goal to Wollongong FC when Mitchell Long for the WFC was picked up for a hand ball in the lead up to an Osagie Ederaro goal.
Referee Peter Vrtkovski was in an excellent position to judge despite the groans from the vocal crowd.
Despite the disallowed goal, Wollongong’s shed at half-time would have been buoyed by the good possession and flurry of chances in front of goal but for some brilliant keeping by Apia’s Nash proving the difference. A.P.I.A. had just one clear chance to Ian King in the first half who was at times menacing but his shot was easily taken by the confident Pasfield for WFC.
The second-half was much the same as the first, with Wollongong again having the majority share in chances. 2007 WFC top goalscorer Daniel Aliffi, who is yet to score this season in the league proper had the first clear cut chance with a driving shot just inside the area but Nash again was up to the challenge with a diving save to his left, which kept the game scoreless.
Moments later Ederaro for Wollongong had a point blank header from another fine Tynan Diaz cross but his header was fired straight at the sharp Nash who took it safely with both hands.
The turning point of the game could have come with A.P.I.A. getting some important possession and played some attractive one touch passing with Peter Peralta on the end of the move, who’s shot fired just wide of Pasfield’s right post, although the confident keeper looked to well and truly have the shot covered.
Wollongong made a change in the 61? minute bringing on enthusiastic midfielder Chris Price and his introduction almost paid immediate dividends.
More evidence of attractive midfield play led to Price flying with the ball at feet down the left and a passing move with Ederaro and Conde found price continuing his run on the left but his shot at goal lacked power and was a comfortable save for Nash.
It was however Price who broke the deadlock in the 86? minute to the relief of the Wollongong team when a blocked Ederaro shot cannoned into the path of Price who made no mistake to head the ball sharply past the diving Nash.
Just minutes later Wollongong FC’s striker Osagie Ederaro was rewarded for a determined effort with a fine header in the 90? minute to sew up the clubs first victory in the 2008 campaign.
Coach John Turner commented after the game:
?This is the second time at home this season we have not conceded a goal and with the two we saw today I know we are going to score a lot more goals this season?. ?There is a whole lot more to come from this squad.?
He went on to say that his stand-in captain Danial Cummins was again outstanding for the team and proves week in and week out that he will give his utmost and nothing less every single week. ?You just know what you are going to get with Danial.?
The man of the match for Wollongong Danial Cummins said he was ?pleased with the teams performance today,? and was happy for his defence not to concede a goal in the match.
Regular team captain Ben Blake should return to the squad for the game against the Macarthur Rams next week following his injury to his buttocks suffered early in the Sydney Olympic game last week.
Wollongong FC 2 (Chris Price 86?, Osagie Ederaro 90?)
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers 0
John Crehan Park, CRINGILA
Referee: P. Vrtkovski
Assistant Referees: A. Glasgow, K. Yaghi
Wollongong FC: 1. Justin PASFIELD, 2. ALFREDO, 3. Lachlan CAHILL (12. Chris PRICE 61′), 4. Michael WEST, 5. Steve HAYES, 8. Mitchell LONG (19. Matthew BAILEY 77′), 9. Daniel ALIFFI (6. Ilja PRENZOVSKI 77′), 10. Balla CONDE, 13. Tynan DIAZ, 14. Danial CUMMINS (Capt), 18. Osagie EDERARO
Substitutes Not Used: Daniel NASH (GK)
Red Cards: Nil
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers: 1. Matthew NASH, 3. John KELSO, 4. Daniel CLIFFORD, 5. Michael GALLUZZO, 7.Stephen KAYES, 8. Ian KING, 9. Robert YOUNIS (19. Jason GARRIDO 70′), 10. Franco PARISI, 13. David D?APUZZO, 18. Peter PERALTA (16. Simon RYAN 87′), 23. Christian CARE
Substitutes Not Used: 22. Julian BORGIANI, 24. William THOM, 40. Milan UDVARAEZ (GK)
Yellow Cards: 9. Robert YOUNIS 2′, 8. Ian KING 52′
Red Cards: Nil
3 points ? Danial Cummins (WFC)
2 points ? Matthew NASH (AL)
1 point ? Osagie Ederaro (WFC)
-By Andrew Byron