Wolves struggle to howl as Olympic pull away as winners

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We set the scene on a cool and windy afternoon in Wollongong. It is the first match of the new season between Trevor Morgans’s born again South Coast Wolves and Peter Tsekenis’s physical Sydney Olympic FC. The pitch is in a condition which rivals that of A-League side Gold Coast United’s Skilled Park. There are bumps everywhere and thanks to the recent rain patches of mud cover the field.

The energy pre-game between the two sides is electric as both are wanting to start the season with no less than three points to call their own. With the South Coast Wolves welcoming home local boy Sasho Petrovski and bringing in the mythological and injury free Jacob Timpano, their preparation for the new season had already got off to a flying start.

Sydney Olympic warm up to a disciplined structure. Thanks to the strong signings during the off season of Richard Luksic, Robert Mileski and David Gullo, the Blue and Whites look ready for action the moment the whistle is blown.

Both sides set up in the traditional 4-4-2 formation – Lawrence Drake the main man for the Wolves holding the centre midfield position and David Gullo providing the width for Olympic’s attack.

Within the first fifteen minutes we see Sydney Olympic come the closer of the two sides getting no less than three shots on goal, Wolves coming even closer by hitting the crossbar.

Two tough and unnecessary challenges by Wolves’ midfielder Samet Kaynak sees him sent off leaving a headache for Trevor Morgan – whether to change the formation or stick to the original game plan. He chooses to stick to the original plan leaving front man Petrovski to lead the attack on his own.

This plan almost pays off instantly, the skill and class of Petrovski forces a fingertip save from the former North Queensland Fury and Central Coast Mariner goalkeeper Paul Henderson. At the other end of the park the Wolves ‘keeper stands strong as Olympic come close to opening the scoring.

Intermission.

Just as the performers regain their positions, ready to start their show again, the rain begins to fall. Not one minute after the restart and the Wolves are caught napping. Olympic’s winger Gullo curls in a ball from the left and midfielder Alex Smith leaps the highest to head the ball into the net.

Not a moment later and Olympic is almost two goals in front. This time Robert Mileski has the opportunity, hitting the post, followed up by Hussein Akil blasting his shot well over the goal. The Wolves sigh in relief.

The second half allows Olympic’s physical style of play to come out on display; shirts are being pulled, late tackles are being made and there are numerous moments of conflict between players. Chris Triantis – one of the players singled out by the referee – receives a yellow card for a hard challenge on Wolves defender Alex Manueto.

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The Wolves however do not sit back, already a goal and a man behind. Sasho Petrovski again has a chance to level the scoring. From six yards out he puts the ball well over P.Henderson’s well-kept goal. Once more players decide to take matters into their own hands and this time it is Olympic’s D.Gullo that loses the battle. His second yellow of the afternoon means a lonely walk back to the dressing room.

The rain eases, perhaps a sign Wolves still have a chance in this battle.

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Although the number of players for both sides level once again Olympic were still winning the fight. In the eightieth minute Alex Smith doubles Olympic’s lead after some poor defending by Jacob Timpano.

With no more than ten minutes remaining South Coast Wolves’ coach Trevor Morgan makes the bold decision to let Petrovksi and Timpano work together up front. This tactic does not work.

By the 90th minute Olympic’s main source of inspiration Alex Smith puts away his third goal of the match in a spectacular free kick worthy of any award. But wait, there is more. In the final scene of this performance, Olympic forward, Tod Bamber has a chance to make the result embarrassing. Left unmarked he heads the ball over the Wolves goalkeeper narrowly missing out on getting his name on the score sheet.

The referee blows for full time.

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The audience applauses.

End result:

South Coast Wolves: 0
Sydney Olympic FC: 3 (A.Smith, A.Smith, A.Smith)

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