The South Coast Wolves, under interim coach Jason Spencer, gave an improved display to dispense with the State League 2 team, Hurstville Zagreb F.C. to the tune of six goals to nil. With the new coach Nahuel Arrarte (a former player with 20 games and 2 goals for the club in 2003/04) watching on the sideline, the team put in a spirited performance with striker Ricky Zucco netting a four goal haul with well taken efforts, the highest multi strike since 2004/5. The team were moving the ball around at a faster pace than had been in previous matches and at times captain Chris Price and goalkeeper Daniel Collison were overheard imploring their team mates to play ‘quicker, quicker’. This they did for many periods of the game.
This was the Wolves opening cup game in this Round 4 fixture, with Hurstville, having previously accounted for Dobroyd FC 6-0 in Round 1, defeated Glebe Wanderers 2-0 in Round 2 and the Arrarte coached Southern Bulls 3-1 in Round 3. The team from Sydney may have fancied their chances of causing a boilover, considering the form and position on the points table of their opponents.
Hurstville’s Denis Cutura made sure the Wolves defence would be on their mettle when he moved up field early on. However, straight after this the Wolves opened their account with an early statement of their desire.
A free kick was given just outside the penalty area. Zucco stepped up and he powered a low shot straight into the goal beating the Hurstville goalkeeper, Matt Mulroney.
Barely three minutes later, Zucco robbed Andrew Harb of the ball. He took a further step and fired home a low shot to further sure up his team’s advantage.
Zucco’s hat trick came up in the 26th minute. After combining with Peter Simonoski and Chris Nathaniel prior, he displayed quick feet to beat Mulroney once again.
At half time it was 3-0
The fourth goal was scored by substitute Joseph Lavalle. The Wolves had two corner kicks in succession. The first one was kept out but another was conceded. Matthew Bailey’s second one was floated in from the left and Lavalle got his header on target.
Bailey joined the goal scoring following sustained pressure from his team. Simonoski squared the ball in and Bailey latched on to this pass to sweep the ball into the goal for his first of the season.
Zucco scored his fourth with four minutes remaining. He curled his free kick into the side netting inside left of the goal. This was a master class in scoring and Zucco deserves the kudos.
Despite conceding these goals and to give them their due, Hurstville did not throw in the towel at any time in the match and kept the Wolves honest whenever they moved into the Wolves goal area proximity. Being two goals down after eight minutes would severely dent any teams confidence however. Their first dalliance was when Michael Karagiannis went down the right and passed to Dario Borovickic. He whipped in cross that Collison took on his knees before any Hurstville player could meet it. A couple of minutes later Henry Kamleitner broke down the left before crossing the ball which Collison also took.
At the times Hurstville were desperately trying to move up quickly in an endeavour to try and put the energetic Wolves off their game. But try as they might they could not contain the strength and striking power of Zucco and were chasing shadows as the Wolves moved the ball rapidly to and from their players. They were strong in the tackle and anticipated Hurstville passes, zipping in to intercept. Hurstville did make inroads on occasions but could not breach the goal.
Six minutes following half time, Tom O’Neill motored down the left side before getting a pass away to Kamleitner. With the goal frame in his sights, the ball slew off his foot as he shot, traversing wide. Borovickic tripped to chip the goalkeeper with a cheeky effort but it went to second half replacement Tom Hamilton. Denis Marjanovic put a pass down the middle to Cutura but Robinson intervened. An O’Neill pass set Kamleitner on his way. He crossed to the far post where a teammate was waiting, but he had strayed into an off side position and any opportunity was nullified. Kamleitner, who gave an impressive performance in a beaten team with his direct running, went agonisingly close in the 78th minute when his goal effort narrowly sailed past the post. Another Hurstville effort was just tipped over by Hamilton with ten minutes remaining. Marjanovic was set into position by a pass from Christian Leon but his effort went for a corner kick. Robinson cleared the ensuing corner.
The Wolves were impressive in this game giving their loyal supporters who turned out for the game something to cheer about. As well as Zucco’s fine exhibition of scoring from anywhere, he also did well to shield the ball to get provide supports with space. Chris Nathaniel gave an inspired performance putting in good crosses from the left, winning the ball and being there in support when defenders were squeezing a teammate. He dispossessed Cutura when he looked ominous. Zac Mackenzie was winning headers in midfielder.
Despite the six goals, other chances eventuated to others and the score could have been higher. On eight minutes, Price received a cross-field pass from Bailey. However his first time shot went high. Robinson got a goal saving tackle immediately as Hurstville made ground on a break. Wolves passing combinations were working. Zucco to Simonoski and then to Price then Simonoski before the move fell down. A good scoring opportunity fell to Simonoski on the half hour mark. He skipped past a defender but his shot went high. Four minutes later, Simonoski had another chance when he met a sublime Price cross with a header that went over when he had just to pick his spot.
In the second half Jack Keating put in a cross that Hurstville cleared three minutes after the resumption of play. Keating set Zucco on his way to the by line before crossing. Price at the far desperately lunged but alas could get a touch.
Bailey and Zucco were looking to work free kick 25 metres out from goal late in the match. Given Zucco’s penchant for having a go from this distance and the fact that he had scored earlier he went back for a run up. However, Bailey stole his thunder by passing the ball quickly out to Simonoski, taking the seemingly indignant Zucco by surprise. In the final upshot, Zucco produced a last hope effort on target that went straight to Mulroney.
This was the biggest Wolves victory since the 7-0 in 2008 against Macarthur Rams and was a confidence builder for the next game against the hitherto unbeaten League leaders Blacktown Spartans.
Coach Jason Spencer commented post match – ‘it definitely the way to go after the last few weeks so it was good to get the win. Even though they were a lower division team we still had to do the job. Hopefully we can take something from this and build for the new gaffer coming in. We have the potential to build’.…on the increased talking in the team – ‘It comes with confidence. Once that first goal, second goal went they stated to believe in themselves…. We base our game on quick balls and movement that was in evident in patches tonight so encouraging signs.’
Captain Chris Price stated – ‘it was good tonight and we are starting to score goals. It was good to get the combinations going and get the confidence for the weekend. I think we did it. It was an important game, we had to be positive and we did all right’…. on the suggestion that some players might put in a higher performance with the new coach watching - ‘Absolutely, but it shouldn’t be like that. You should be doing your best every time you go on to pitch and try to win.’…. If you keep the ball opportunities come. If you give the ball away cheaply you are chasing it.
SOUTH COAST WOLVES.….……………..6
Ricky Zucco 5’, 8’, 26’, 86’ Joseph Lavalle 71’, Matthew Bailey 81’
@ Hooka Creek Park
Wednesday 23rd April 2014
7.00 p.m. Kick Off
SOUTH COAST WOLVES F.C.
Coach: Jason Spencer (Caretaker Coach)
1.Daniel Collison (30.Thomas Hamilton 46’) 2.Jack Keating (11.Hiroaki Kawasaki 78’) 3.Chris Nathaniel (Sam Chapple 82’) 4.Michael Robinson 5.James Baldacchino 6.Zac Mackenzie 7.Chris Price (Capt.) (20.Joseph Lavalle 62’) 8.Matthew Bailey 9.Peter Simonoski 10.Ricky Zucco 21.Samuel Jacob (22.Sam Matthews 46’)
Substitutes not used: Nil
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Vjekoslav Zoric
1.Matt Mulroney 2.Marko Banic (16.Anthony Majestic 86’) 4.Andrew Harb 3. Stephen Flatt 5.Tom O’Neill 6.Daniel Marjanovic 7.Michael Karagiannis (12.C. Ebahece 56’) 8.Stephen Parak (13.Christian Leon 75’) 9.Denis Cutera 10.Dario Borovickic 11.Henry Kamleitner (15. Gerrard Fitzpatrick 82’)
Substitutes not used: 22. Antonio Panoza
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Card: Nil
Referee: Adam Susz
Assistant Referees: Nathan Wotton, Daniel Stack
By Malcolm Rowney
Photo by Pedro Garcia