Wollongong’s steller run continues against Bankstown


In one of the toughest games witnessed at Wollongong this season a determined Wolves team held on to a 2 goal lead for the majority of the second-half, despite the constant barrage on goal by Bankstown in a desperate bid to close the gap, instead Wollongong was rewarded for their efforts with a swift counter-attack goal in the dying minutes to make it a 3-0 deficit and give their in form goalkeeper Justin Pasfield his sixth clean sheet in just seven appearances for the aspiring Olympian.
The first of Wollongong FC’s three goals came inside 13? minutes when a swift move down the left wing saw a brilliant cross into the area from Michael West who found the inform Osagie Ederaro perfectly placed running at the goal to head firmly past Joseski in goals for Bankstown.
The entertainment value of this Wollongong outfit was emphasised when Ederaro’s goal celebration of somersaulting acrobatic jumps was worth the price of admission in it self.
Former Manly FC striker James Monie was looking like the player most likely to score for Bankstown and their equaliser looked on its way, when in the 32? minute a thrusting run saw him strike a wicked driving shot from the right edge of Wollongong’s area but his rocketed effort flew just wide of the left post and away to safety for the Wolves.
An injury, moments later, to Wollongong’s midfield maestro Balla Conde could have spelt danger for the Wolves as his control of the centre of midfield in recent weeks had been the backbone on which the previous two away victories had been built for the club.
A heavy knock to the knee caused him to overextend it and Conde was unable to continue and his place was taken by substitute Mitchell Long in the 37? minute. It did however prove how mentally tough the side had become and with some reshuffling of the midfield the team knuckled down and started to play some attractive football.
The Wolves were sniffing out a second goal and their persistence paid off in the 43? minute when a good passing sequence involving Ederaro and Prenzoski and a piercing Prenzoski square ball was finished off with ease by the very well positioned Bailey who side footed the ball into the back of the net, which sent the good sized home crowd into raptures.
The Wolves were unlucky not to make it a three goal lead moments later when again they entertained with enterprising passing through the midfield and a through ball to Prenzoski saw him one-on-one with the keeper and the strong goalkeeper Zlatko Joseski threw everything at the ball and feet of Prenzoski.
His blocking save saw the ball trickle under his body but it didn’t have enough to go all the way over the goal-line before the Bankstown defence were able to clear it away.
The previous home game by Wollongong saw a similar first-half display and it looked like Bankstown came onto the field in the second half determined to mirror Manly FC’s previous four goal second half onslaught given out at the Wolves last home game, when the Lions came out firing from the opening whistle.
A brilliant ball from Phillip Makrys sent Steve Liavas flying down the right for Bankstown and Liavas cut it back into the area to try and square up a goalscoring chance for his squad but a swarm of Wolves defender’s led by Danial Cummins and Ben Blake were on the spot to block the cross and stop the Lions attack.
The game was opening up for Bankstown and particularly for Liavas and Monie, who were finding room to move in the midfield.
A perfectly timed through ball by Liavas trying to find Monie almost paid dividends but the intervention of Pasfield who read the play and the perfect pass just moments before Monie prevented a certain goalscoring chance.
Just one minute later another chance for Bankstown was again thwarted by the ever present Pasfield, who challenged the lunging Harries and blocked a shot which again looked almost certain to be the opening goal for the Lions.
If the two chances in the previous two minutes weren’t enough for Bankstown to score then the next passage of play looked ominous for the Wolves when Liavas sent another perfectly timed pass through to Robert Mileski, who fired at close range and sent Pasfield diving the wrong way, but again Pasfield was able to save with a reflex stop with his legs fully stretched with his body and arms moving in the opposite direction.
Bankstown’s push for a goal almost caught them out, when on the counter-attack a blinding run by Matthew Bailey saw him unselfishly put Prenzoski on goal but the roaming Joseski was out on the fringes of his area and blocked the shot by Prenzoski and saved what looked likely to be the Wolves third goal.
Further venturing forward and midfield dominance was continually thwarted time after time by the Wolves central defence of Cummins and Blake and any chance beyond them two was easily or miraculously saved by Pasfield.
As Bankstown drew more desperate in the final stages it was only a matter of time when the Wolves would pinch a goal on the counter-attack and it came within the final minutes of normal time when Hawrysuik found Ederaro running the angle out to the left and his cross into the ever present Bailey allowed him to ram home the winner in a similar fashion to his earlier goal.
The win makes it three in a row for the Wolves and their captain Ben Blake after the game said:
?We haven’t done that for a while, the last time I can remember we won three in a row in that sort of fashion was probably back in the NSL days?.
In a buoyant dressing room after the match he went on to say:
?It wasn’t pretty in the second half but I was so happy with the way DC (Danial Cummins) and the boys worked defensively and we fought hard for everything we earned in the end.?
Coach John Turner was more ambitious in his praises of his team?s performance when he said:
?We are definite contenders and I stand on my pre-season statement that we will finish not only in the top four but finish top two?.
Turner praised the efforts of his double goalscorer Matthew Bailey, who was signed by him from the local Illawarra Premier League:
?Bailey has really deserved his place in the team and his contribution has been very encouraging?, Turner said.
Club CEO ? Jock Morlando commented on the performance of the Football Club as a whole with the Wolves being undefeated over the weekend in all grades by saying:
?It was great to see that the hard work of our Under 13’s kick started a great weekend for the club, we won every game in our Junior club this weekend and there are some really good talented players coming through the ranks that will be pushing for senior positions sooner than later?.
Wollongong FC  3 (Osagie EDERARO 13′, Matthew BAILEY 43′ and 89′)
Bankstown City Lions  0

Ground: John Crehan Park, CRINGILA
Referee: Atila Stibinger 
Assistant Referees: Brett Woodford, Greg McLoughlin
Fourth Official: David Morris
Crowd: 1285

Wollongong FC: 1. Justin PASFIELD, 4. Michael WEST, 5. Steve HAYES, 6. Ilija PRENZOSKI, 7. Michael HAWRYSUIK , 10. Balla CONDE (8. Mitchell LONG 37′ (2. ALFREDO 85′)), 13. Tynan DIAZ, 14. Danial CUMMINS , 17. Ben BLAKE (Capt), 18. Osagie EDERARO, 19. Matthew BAILEY (3. Lachlan CAHILL 90′)
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Daniel NASH (GK)

Yellow Cards: 19. Matthew BAILEY 52′, 14. Danial CUMMINS 60′
Red Cards: Nil

Bankstown City: 1. Zlatko JOSESKI, 3. Shane WEBB, 4. Brett STUDMAN, 5. Richard LUKSIC, 7. Steve LIAVAS, 8. George NOHRA, 10. Robert MILESKI, 11. Phillip MAKRYS, 15. James MONIE, 16. Tayfun DEVRIMOL, 19. Paul HARRIES (21. Matthew BORG 59′)
Substitutes Not Used: 2. Ibrahim HAYDAR, 17. Danny GROZDANOVSKI, 18. Omar SAADI, 20. Andrew BAZI

Yellow Cards: 15. James MONIE 82′
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings:
3 ? Danial CUMMINS (WFC)
2 ? Justin PASFIELD (WFC)
1 ? Ben BLAKE (WFC)
-By Andrew Byron