The four goals came in the space of thirteen minutes for Manly and it was enough to send the Wollongong FC home-crowd back through the turnstiles, disappointed to say the least.
A good sized crowd of 1380 was on hand to witness a somewhat frustrating game for the home team played in warm to hot conditions on the South Coast
From the outset both teams were showing that they were going to throw caution to the wind and it looked like the traditional goal fest that these two teams seem to dish up in their clashes was again on the menu.
It was Hawrysuik for Wollongong who would get the first shot off in anger when a blistering run saw his powerful low driving shot from the edge of the area ricochet off a Manly defender and fall to the feet of his striker Daniel Aliffi who’s shot was fired wide of the posts.
Manly immediate replied with a similar strike at the other end just moments later when Cattanach made room for a shot that was blocked by a lunging Steve Hayes for the Wolves.
It was Wollongong FC who were the first to score when in just the 10? minute a blinding run down the right side by Tynan Diaz saw him fire in a blistering low cross to striker Osagie Ederaro who, with two defenders on his back, was able to direct his first touch to guide the ball past them and the hapless keeper Swancott and send the large crowd into raptures.
In what was a very warm afternoon, the frantic pace of the game was testament to two very fit teams who had nothing but an all out attack in mind.
In the 20? minute the game had to be paused when the heat took its toll on the Wollongong FC goalkeeper Justin Pasfield.
Pasfield looked to just fall to the ground and the four minute stoppage saw him attended to and back on his feet despite the concerns being shown by the medical staff who stayed behind his goal for the remainder of the first half.
The Wolves were lucky not to concede when some poor defending at the back by Blake and West saw Cattanach go through on goal but his short-range blast was parried by Pasfield to safety. Cattanach was really starting to get into his stride and it felt like it would be a matter of ?when? and not ?if? he would leave his mark on the match.
Just minutes later the Manly attack was at it again from a set piece when a long-range lob into the area saw an acrobatic scissor kick by Dusan Mihajlovic fly just inches over the Wollongong cross bar although Pasfield looked to have had his goal mouth covered.
Cattanach looked to have Manly’s first goal just moments later when another free kick was struck from about 30-metres out from the striker whos rocket effort fired onto the Wollongong’s cross bar in what was the shot of the match at that stage.
Again despite the goal-bound look of the shot, the Wolves keeper Pasfield looked to have his goal covered and he found an ally in the form of the crossbar.
The Wolves had a good chance to go two ahead in the 41? minute of the match when Manly’s Keith Shelvin lost the ball in his own half and the effervescent Hawrysuik got the ball to Aliffi to shoot but the Manly defence cleaned up in numbers to block his shot at goal.
Just minutes later Ederaro was on the end of another enterprising play between Hawrysuik and Aliffi but Aliffi’s lofted cross was out of reach of Ederaro’s header who in his desperation to connect got his right hand on the ball and fired past the left post of the Manly goal and the Referee Jonathon Streater was on the spot to hand Ederaro a yellow card for his hand ball which was well spotted by the match official.
Wolves coach John Turner surprisingly changed a two-game winning line up by bringing in the ever reliable Michael Hawrysuik, who was still looking to build on his match fitness after returning to the club late in the pre-season, but his gamble looked to be bearing fruit with a remarkable first-half performance from the Wollongong right midfielder. Turner said before the game:
?Mika will do far better to reach peak fitness by playing match time in first grade and it may only take him 2 games to get back to his best, whereas if he was trying to come back through the Youth team it may take as much as 5 games to reach the same peak fitness.?
The Wolves went to the break with the 1-0 advantage.
What a difference a half-time break can make because it only took Manly a matter of seconds to equalise the score when a shot from Richard Williams looked to be going wide of the mark but Wollongong defender Danial Cummins tried to put a clearance on the ball which went in off the defender?s foot.
Coach Turner was quoted following the match:
?Danial was definitely trying to clear the ball and it was unfortunate that he skewed his clearance to allow the shot to go in off his foot.?
The goal shocked not only the crowd but seemed to affect the Wolves? defenders morale as it was another Cummins blemish that led to Manly’s second goal just five minutes later.
Danger man Cattanach ran at Cummins, who slipped under the one-on-one pressure and Cattanach breezed past to fire a point-blank shot across the face of the helpless Pasfield who needed a miracle to save it.
From the re-start Manly again forced another Wolves error and sent their attack down the same side of the park as the last goal and it was Cattanach again who this time shook off a Diaz tackle to cut back inside from the Wolves right wing and get a shot away on the edge of the box that again beat Pasfield in the Wollongong goal.
Wolves midfielder Balla Conde tried to rally his troops when he took a run forward and sent off a projectile of a shot that moved and swerved but to the crowd’s sighing just went inches wide of Manly’s left post.
It was truly looking like it was to be Manly’s day though when just one-minute later Manly’s Joey Schirripa again found space down Wollongong’s right wing to send in a perfectly placed cross to find an unmarked Ashley Ryan who leaped without challenge to send his header on target and into the back of the Wolves net yet again.
With Manly now 4 goals to the good in just 13 minutes, Wolves coach John Turner rang in the changes and replaced both Cummins and Cahill in a double substitution bringing on two attacking players in Prenzoski and Price but the latter could double as a defender sent on to contain the rampant Cattanach.
It was Pasfield again who was in the action when he was forced to make a double save when Manly found more room down the Wollongong right-wing and Mihajlovic’s shot was parried to the feet of Shelvin who along with Pasfield was on the far extremities of the area and his shot was blocked at point blank range again from Pasfield.
The ensuing play saw Wollongong’s day get even worse when an injury occurred to left wing back Michael West who needed assistance from the field for what looks like some ligament damage to his right ankle.
His place was taken by Matt Bailey who is normally used as a right midfielder for the club but a reshuffle of personnel saw him settle in at left midfield for the remainder of the match.
The remainder of the game saw further chances to both sides and Bailey almost got his team a consolation goal late when a dangerous cross from the left forced a scrambling Swancott to parry away to safety.
The match finished 4-1 to Manly and the Wolves coach John Turner expressed his disappointment after the match:
?It was a game of two halves, I thought we were unlucky not to get 2 in the first-half when Aliffi looked to have won a penalty but it wasn’t to be.?
When questioned about the actions of Pasfield in the 20? minute when it looked like he collapsed to the field, Turner replied:
?We had Justin Pasfield in the sheds at half-time having a cold shower, he was really affected by the heat out there today. With regards to the result today though, I am bitterly disappointed.? Turner said.
Manly FC coach Phil Moss was ?absolutely delighted? with the effort of his players and went on to say:
?I really believe that this Manly side is the best side that Manly has ever had.
?The boys played today with a very high quality game in what were very hot conditions and I am absolutely delighted with my team?s performance today.
Moss also praised the work of Pascal Julliard who played a major role in containing the Wollongong attack but was clear in his judgment that Cattanach was outstanding and clearly the Man of the Match today.
Wollongong FC ? 1 (Osagie Ederaro 10′)
Manly United FC ? 4 (Danial Cummins Own Goal 46′, Robbie Cattanach 51′ & 52′, Ash Ryan 58′)
Venue: John Crehan Park, Cringila
Referee: Jonathan Streater
Assistant Referees: Allyson Flynn, Brett Hookham
Wollongong FC: 1. Justin PASFIELD, 3. Lachlan CAHILL (6. Ilija PRENZOSKI 59′), 4. Michael WEST (19. Matthew BAILEY 66′), 5. Steve HAYES, 7. Michael HAWRYSUIK , 9. Daniel ALIFFI , 10. Balla CONDE, 13. Tynan DIAZ, 14. Danial CUMMINS (12. Chris PRICE 59′), 17. Ben BLAKE (Capt), 18. Osagie EDERARO
Substitutes Not Used: 2. ALFREDO, 20. Daniel NASH (GK)
Yellow Cards: 18. Osagie EDERARO 43’Red Cards: Nil
Manly United FC: 1. Brad Swancott, 2. Adam ISRAEL, 5. Pascal JULLIARD, 7. Ashley RYAN, 9. Robbie CATTANACH (6. Bradley GROVES 77′), 10. Dusan MIHAJLOVIC, 12. Michael LLOYD-GREEN, 14.Keith SHELVIN, 16.Joey SCHIRRIPA, 18.Beau BUSCH (4. Roberto HAMAD 80′), 19.Richard WILLIAMS (8. Michael WILLIAMS 64′)
Substitutes Not Used: 21. Luke FEMIA (GK), 11. Craig MIDGLEY
Yellow Cards: 16. Joey SCHIRRIPA 92′
Red Cards: Nil
3 ? Robbie CATTANACH (MFC)
2 ? Pascal JULLIARD (MFC)
1 ? Joey SCHIRRIPA (MFC)
-By Andrew Byron