Wolves drown Manly in second half turnaround

11.06.2017

Wollongong Wolves recovered after conceding a sloppy first half goal to beat Manly United 2-1 during their PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition clash on Saturday night at Cromer Park.

Second half strikes from James Markovic and Josh McDonald helped the South Coast side to all three competition points.

An early Manly goal had the Northern Beaches side in prime position for the majority of the match before Wollongong struck twice in a little over ten minutes to revive their slim finals hopes.

Torrential rain greeted both squads at kick-off of the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition clash, with the hosts out of the blocks first.

After six minutes they fashioned the first chance of the contest, with new signing Marco Sama shooting just wide of the target after winning the second ball from a corner.

The Wolves were poor in the first stanza but did have Manly on the back foot when Patrick Antelmi fired in a great cross from the left on 22 minutes.

Antelmi watched on with frustration as his effort flashed past the far post, with none of his teammates on hand to shoot into an open goal.

Moments later United took the lead.

After casually playing out from the back, Wolves turned the ball over and Dejan Pandurevic pounced.

The one time Central Coast Mariners utility had an age to dribble into the box, eventually driving the ball past Justin Pasfield.

On 28 minutes Brendan Cholakian saw an effort miss by inches, and on 39 minutes he tested Pasfield from distance, with the ex A-League shot stopper up to the task, parrying the ball to safety.

Scott Balderson then played in Pandurevic with a teasing ball from the left with 43 minutes played, but the youngster fluffed his lines and the chance went begging.

Wollongong coach Jacob Timpano read his team the riot act at the break, because in the second half they were a different unit.

James Markovic squared proceedings on 57 minutes.

The busy midfielder won the ball in the middle of the park before advancing towards the goal with intent.

Given far too much room, he unleashed a quality strike from 25 yards which flew past Manly gloveman Dylan Mitchell.

United were rattled and when they had a penalty shout waved away after 63 minutes, their collective frustration was obvious.

Their mood further deepened when Wolves took a 2-1 lead five minutes later.

Josh Macdonald found himself unmarked in acres of space on the right, and after taking a touch, beat Mitchell with a clinical finish at the near post.

With 70 minutes played Manly's Scott Balderson found himself fortunate to stay on the pitch.

He received a caution after an ugly challenge which left the Wolves bench fuming.

With 11 minutes on the clock Markovic almost scored again - but this time for his own team.

Pasfield spared his blushes, comfortably holding his team-mate's wild swing which could have gone anywhere.

Cholakian had a chance to salvage at least a point for Manly on 86 minutes, but his drive, which was on target, was met by a sea of players.

Speaking outside the sheds at the final whistle, Timpano was delighted to leave the northern beaches with three points and leapfrog Manly into sixth spot on the ladder.

"First half Manly dominated the match, but in saying that we gifted them a goal,'' he said.

"At halftime we adjusted our formation and were much better, it changed the tide of the match.

"We have won five of the last six games - Nick Montgomery has been great for us.

"He offers steel in the middle of the park and so much experience.

"This team was always going to take time to gel - we are coming together well now."

His opposite Warren Grieve felt the end result was harsh on his team.

"On reflection we didn't do enough in the first half,'' the Manly boss said.

"It is tough to take - they (Wolves) had two shots all game and both ended up in the back of the net.

"At this level you need to be clinical or you pay the price.

"We need to grind and dig deep across 90 minutes, not for 45 minutes or an hour."

Match Stats

Manly United 1 (Dejan Pandurevic 24')

Wollongong Wolves 2 (James Markovic 57', Josh Macdonald 68')

Cromer Park, Saturday June 10, 2017

Referee: B.Abraham

Assistant referees: M.McOrist, J.Park

Fourth official: A.Brett

Manly United: Manly United: 1.Dylan MITCHELL, 13.Scott BALDERSON, (11.Nikola TANESKI 70') 12.Leigh EGGER, 10.Brendan CHOLAKIAN, 3.Jamie LOBB, 4.Travis OUGHTRED, 17.Sam WILSON, 2.Kieren PAULL, 8.Sasa MACURA, 14.Dejan PANDUREVIC, 15.Marco SAMA (9.Dylan MACALLISTER 69')

Substitutes not used: 20.Shaun CATLIN, 6.Dom FERGUSON, 28.Mitch ROOKE

Yellow cards: Balderson 70'

Red cards: Nil

Wollongong Wolves:  1.Justin PASFIELD, 16.Patrick ANTELMI, 23.Steven HAYES, 14.Josh MACDONALD, 3.Darcy MADDEN, (8.Brendan GRIFFIN 44') 17.James MARKOVIC, 6.Nick MONTGOMERY, 7.Chris PRICE, 15.Michael ROBINSON, 11.Hristijan TANOSKI, 30.Yuzo TASHIRO

Substitutes not used: 20.Sean EVE, 18.Nicolas BERNAL, 15.Michael ROBINSON, 12.Luke KAIRIES

Yellow cards: Price 16'

Red cards: Nil