John Turner?s men arrived on the northern beaches with revenge on their minds following Manly?s 4-1 victory when the teams last met at John Crehan Park in March.
In a lacklustre first-half, Wollongong was the better team in difficult conditions, with Ballamadou Conde and recent signing Dez Giraldi the standouts.
Conde almost opened the scoring in the 44? minute after jinking past two defenders but saw his effort parried to safety by Brad Swancott.
Manly haven?t been at their best in recent weeks and whatever Phil Moss said in the sheds had the desired effect with his men dishing up a much improved showing in the second-half.
Industrial defensive midfielder Cameron Jones went close on the hour mark following good lead-up play from Craig Midgley and Brad Groves, and five minutes later Jones was guilty of squandering another chance, this time with a weak header from a Joey Schirripa corner.
Robbie Cattanach always looked the man most likely to find the mark for United and will be disappointed after not beating Wolves custodian Justin Pasfield from 12-yards after creating a chance from nothing in the 68? minute.
Half chances from Midgley and Schirripa followed in the 73? and 77? minutes and a draw looked the likely final result.
Enter Dez Giraldi.
The ex-Adelaide United striker, who has been with the Wolves the past three weeks, forced a reflex save from Swancott who watched on in horror after seeing the ball bobble into the path of Matt Bailey who calmly side footed home with eight minutes remaining.
Groves then had the opportunity to rescue a point for United in injury-time but somehow hit the crossbar from four-metres out, and the chance went begging.
An exasperated Phil Moss felt the result was harsh on his team but was also honest enough to admit that United are in the middle of a worrying form slump:
?We gave away a schoolboy goal and didn?t take our chances,? he said.
?The boys are pretty down but I wouldn?t say the season is slipping away, we just are not having that ounce of luck we enjoyed in the first few games.
?When luck isn?t going your way everything seems to be worse than it is.
?(Brad) Groves would bury that chance 99 times out of 100 and once he hit the bar it summed up our day.
?We need to get back to basics.?
Wolves? Justin Pasfield feels his team is hitting their straps at the right time, and the gloveman said the addition of Giraldi has been vital in their recent resurgence:
?All the boys get on well and enjoy working hard for each other,? he said.
?Dez has been enormous for us, he is good in the air and a great passer of the ball.
?We have been training the house down and I felt we deserved the three points.
?The challenge for us now is to maintain our consistency.?
Manly United 0
Wollongong FC 1 (Matt Bailey 83?)
Venue: Cromer Park
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referees: Allyson Flynn and Murray Wilson
Manly United: 1. Brad SWANCOTT; 2. Adam Israel 6. Brad GROVES, 9. Robbie CATTANACH, 11. Craig MIDGLEY, (8. Michael WILLIAMS 85?) 12. Michael LLOYD-GREEN, (13. Jamie GARSIDE 70?) 15. Cameron JONES, 16. Joey SCHIRRIPA, 17. Sean BOWDEN, (4. Roberto HAMAD 91?), 18. Beau BUSCH, 19. Richie WILLIAMS
Substitutes not used: 7. Ash RYAN, 20. Rhyss KEANE
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Wollongong FC: 1. Justin PASFIELD; 4. Michael WEST, 5. Steve HAYES, (2. Alfredo ESTEVES 88?) 6. Ilija PRENZOSKI, 9. Dez GIRLADI, (3. Lachlan CAHILL 91?) 10. Ballamadou CONDE, (8 .Mitch LONG 82?) 12. Chris PRICE, 13. Tynan DIAZ, 14. Danial CUMMINS, 17. Ben BLAKE, 19. Matt BAILEY
Substitutes Not Used: 15. Samet ILAYNAK, 20. Daniel NASH
Yellow Cards: Dez GIRLADI 87?
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Dez Giraldi (WFC)
2 – Steve Hayes (WFC)
1 – Sean Bowden (MU)
-By Andrew Prentice