Rams cop seven against ruthless Wollongong


The Wolves had threatened to play up to their potential this season and Coach John Turner said ?it was only a matter of time that we hammered a team like that and put a performance together like that one, we had been threatening to do that all season?.
Wollongong FC’s midfielder Matthew Bailey almost opened the scoring in just the first 2 minutes when a blinding run down the right and a viscous shot on goal was touched over the bar by Macarthur’s goalkeeper Roy Bell. Bailey has impressed this season for the Wolves, after he took some time to gain some self belief to his game following his move from Bulli in the local Illawarra Premier League this season.
He was everywhere in the opening stanza and he almost opened the scoring again following a pressure shut down on the Roy Bell clearance from goal in just the 5th minute.
The goalkeeper for Macarthur failed to save the ball cleanly and his fumble fell to Bailey who pressured the keeper but his shot back to goal was cleared by the Ram’s defence.
Bailey was again in the thick of the Wollongong FC attack when a individual run from just over half way saw him burst with pace down the middle of Ram’s defence and he managed to beat three defenders before laying a lateral pass to the left to Prenzoski who was pressured away from goal by Steven Old but the Wolves looked dangerous and threatening.
Wollongong FC were in a passing blitz putting together calculated passes in combinations that brought the locals to their feet. In the centre of the Wolves attack was new centre forward recruit Dez Giraldi who returned to the club after seven years when he last played for the Youth Grade in the ?old NSL? back in 2001 for the club.
Giraldi had completed his contract with Adelaide United in the Asian Champion’s league just weeks ago and he was keen to impress despite picking up a chest infection during the week, which threatened to prevent his 1st Grade debut in the club colours.
Giraldi was settling in well with the Wollongong FC attack and looked like a player that had been playing with his team mates all season and his combination play with Price, Bailey and Prenzoski was looking ominous.
In the 14th minute an angled run down the left by Prenzoski and a square ball to Chris Price who’s supporting run saw him fire first time at the Rams goal but it was well saved by the desperate Bell for Macarthur.
Wollongong’s persistence paid off just 2 minutes later when a header from Wollongong FC wing back Michael West looked goal bound even after Bell got a hand to the ball but he couldn’t hold it and Prenzoski was on the spot to pounce and get on the score sheet with an unchallenged tap-in.
Just minutes later Macarthur’s Kostas Barbarouses tried to force a leveler when his timely through ball on the edge of Wollongong FC’s area saw right wing back Craig Cooley fly in to connect with a shot in close range but the ever present Danial Cummins slid in for a perfectly timed challenge in between the Wolves goal and Cooley to put his shot over the bi-line for a Ram’s corner.
The following corner picked out Glen Trifiro on the far post for the Rams but his header flew over the bar but despite the Wolves early dominance this period of play showed promise for the Ram’s.
The next 10 minutes belonged to Macarthur but their lack of finish in the final third let the Wolves off the hook time after time.
Wollongong punished the Rams in the 33rd minute for their lack of finish when another bursting run by Price for the Wolves squared a clinical pass to Bailey who first timed a low drilled shot on goal that gave Bell no chance to save and send the crowd into raptures and the Wolves to a 2-0 lead.
Two more further chances for Macarthur who became desperate to get on the score sheet were again thwarted by the ever present Cummins for the Wolves and his combination with Captain Ben Blake was controlling the Wolves defence.
The Rams best chance however fell to Daniel McCann in the 42nd minute when a bomb of a shot from about 30 metres out looked to have beaten the Wolves keeper Justin Pasfield and what could be classed as a critical turning point saw the ball hit the underside of the cross bar and bounce straight down to the ground and the Assistant referee on the eastern side was in a good position to award play on when Tynan Diaz cleared the ball to safety despite the questioning from the Ram’s players of it crossing the goal line.
The Wolves held on to their 2-0 lead going into the half time break.
The second half showed how much the Wollongong team had learned from previous experiences when they again were switched on from the get-go.
It was a  poachers goal to Chris Price when in the first 40 seconds saw David Gardiner flirt with danger when he got caught with the ball on the edge of his area and the desperate Price challenged for the ball and stole it from underneath Gardiner and was able to get one on one with Bell and Price was clinical with his finish and sent the Wolves to 3-0 in just the first minute of the second half.
The Rams were again to blame for the Wolves fourth goal in the 51st minute when Adam Wither lost the ball on the edge of the box and with a similar goal to the last one this time it was Prenzoski who got to fire home past the helpless Bell one-on-one to score.
To the Rams’ credit they never gave up but the Wolves class all over the park showed this time when firstly and classy save by Pasfield thwarted a chance then Cummins headed away the ensuing corner to safety.
In a cruel twist just moments later the Wolves attack up field and a mix up after what looked like a certain goal to Price for the Wolves saw his shot saved and parried by Bell but only to see it go straight to the feet of Matt Toogood who unfortunately put the ball back into his own net off the richochet.
The Wolves were menacing and with a 5-0 lead it was almost 6-0 when moments later Tynan Diaz fired off a rocket that hit the crossbar but deserved better for the quality of the strike.
Wollongong did get their sixth just minutes later when another goalmouth scramble this time saw an opening to Steve Hayes who made no mistake to place his shot into the bottom left corner of the Rams net.
Minutes later it was the Wolves again who threatened further when replacement Lachlan Cahill threatened and a well hit left foot drive on the out edge of the area went just inches wide of the goal.
Cahill did get an assist just minutes later though when it was his fine pass that found the ever present Prenzoski who slotted home his hat trick of goals and finish off the Wolves scoring in the 83rd minute.
After the game the Wollongong FC outfit were clearly delighted with their performance and coach John Turner reiterated their delight when he said ?I am so pleased for the lads after that performance today?.
?There were so many good performances and it will be hard to single out any one performance but its hard not to go past Chris Price who was everywhere and llija’s hatrick was impressive but I was also impressed with the defensive performance of DC (Danial Cummins) and Blakey?.
When asked why the team was so impressive with their passing performance and overall great support play, Turner said ?I have to say thanks to the office staff of the club for organising training on the Tiger Turf pitch at the Fraternity Club in Fairy Meadow?, ?it really helped with the short passing game and was probably the difference in a week when were were lucky to train at all due to the weather?.
?It really shows how the Tiger Turf has helped Sutherland’s impressive and consistent season and it really made a difference for us today? he said. Turner also mentioned his delight in new recruit Dez Giraldi when it looked likely that Dez may even miss his debut through illness picked up during the week. ?Dez was touch and go, he picked up a chest infection during the week on top of his Asthma that he has been suffering?.
On Illija Prenzoski’s hat trick of goals his team mate Michael West said after the game that ?the ball had crossed the line before Illija poached it and he owes me one third of the match ball? he said.
The Wolves were without prolific goal scorer Osagie Ederaro who is sidelined for at least a month with a fracture in his right foot.
Match Stats
WOLLONGONG FC  7 (Illija Prenzoski 16′, 51′, 83′; Matthew Bailey 33′, Chris Price 46′, att Toogood O.G. 61′, Steve Hayes 70′)
Macarthur Rams  0
Ground: John Crehan Park, CRINGILA
Referee: Kurt Ams        
Assistant Referees: Brett Woodford, Greg McLoughlin
4th Official: Michael Seaborn
Crowd: 850
Wollongong FC: 1. Justin PASFIELD, 4. Michael WEST, 5. Steve HAYES (2. Alfredo ESTEVES 73′), 6. Illija PRENZOSKI, 9. Dez GIRALDI (8. Mitchell LONG 58′), 10. Balla CONDE, 12. Chris PRICE (3. Lachlan CAHILL 66′) , 13. Tynan DIAZ, 14. Danial CUMMINS, 17. Ben BLAKE (Capt),  19. Matt BAILEY
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Daniel NASH (GK),

Yellow Cards: 12. Chris PRICE 25′, 2. Alfredo ESTEVES 88′

Red Cards: Nil
Macarthur Rams: 40. Roy BELL, 2. Craig COOLEY (4. Jason LEWIS 52′), 5. Michael BROWN, 6. David GARDINER, 7. Matt TOOGOOD, 9. Steven OLD, 13. Kostas BARBAROUSES, 14. Daniel McCANN, 17. Adam WITHER (27. James YOUNG 55′), 21. Renato JELEN (12. Shannon HANKIN 55′), 22. Glen TRIFIRO

Substitutes Not Used: 1. Brody CRANE (GK), 16. Steven BAVEAS

Yellow Cards: 17. Adam WITHER 50′, 5. Michael BROWN 62′, 9. Steven OLD 75′

Red Cards: NIL
Player Ratings
3 ? Chris PRICE (WFC)
2 ? Illija PRENZOSKI (WFC)
1 ? Danial CUMMINS (WFC)
-By Andrew Byron