Wollongong Wolves have progressed to the FFA Cup Round of 16 for the first time in their history after a hard-fought 3-0 win over Mount Druitt Town Rangers on Saturday at heaving Popondetta Park.
The Wolves were the more clinical as Peter Simonoski and Bilal Belkadi struck either side of half-time to put the visitors’ in the box seat in the at-times fiery Round of 32 contest.
The storied club’s advance was then sealed in the 70th minute as Lachlan Scott slotted a well-placed finish into the bottom corner.
The visitor’s composed finishing stood in stark contrast to their NPL New South Wales rivals Rangers, as Stuart Montgomery’s side spurned gilt-edged chances in each half to the frustration of their small but parochial home crowd.
Mitchell Smith’s miss with scores level midway through the opening stanza proved portentous as the Rangers had the better of the early chances before Simonoski’s opportunistic opener deep into first-half injury time. His celebration to boot was also intense as the 2022 new recruit sent the corner flag into the next suburb.
Luke Wilkshire’s side promptly capitalised on their momentum from the restart as Belkadi put the finishing touches to a well-worked build-up inside two minutes of the restart.
The Rangers didn’t go down without a fight – equaling the Wolves’ total of 14 shots through the contest – but too often failed to trouble Wolves’ gloveman Hayden Durose.
Despite being a dominant force on the national stage in the NPL in recent seasons – and two-time Champions in the former National Soccer League – the win is the first for Wolves from three attempts in the FFA Cup Round of 32.
FFA Cup 2021 – Round of 32: Mount Druitt Town Rangers v Wollongong Wolves
Popondetta Park, Emerton
Saturday, 6 November 2021
Mount Druitt Town Rangers – 0
Wollongong Wolves – 3 (Peter Simonoski 45+4’, Bilal Belkadi 47’, Lachlan Scott 70’)
-Report courtesy of www.theffacup.com.au