IT wasn’t pretty, but Manly United FC didn’t care after beating South Coast Wolves 1-0 on Saturday night at Cromer Park.
Substitute Jack Green grabbed the winner on 86′ minutes in what was at times a spiteful encounter on the northern beaches.
The home side started brightly and could have taken the lead on 10′ minutes.
Daniel Saric whipped in a ball from the left which fell invitingly at the feet of Jimmy Oates, but the one time Central Coast Mariners utility blazed over the crossbar from 18 yards.
8′ minutes later the industrious Josh Ward went close for Manly from distance, and it looked a matter of when for Paul Dee’s men.
On the half hour mark Dylan Mitchell kept United in the contest with a wonder save from point blank range.
Michael Robinson had a header which looked destined to find the back of the net, only to see goalkeeper Mitchell brilliantly tip the effort over the crossbar.
With 36′ minutes played Wolves striker Peter Simonoski went down in the area, but referee Michael Weiner was having none of it, waving play on.
The second half began as a cagey affair early on, with both squads committed to keeping the ball.
On 63′ minutes Brendan Cholakian created a chance from nothing, but his shot skewed wide of the target.
Moments later Chris Payne went even closer as Manly showed their intentions.
Wolves substitute Chris Price could have been the hero seconds after coming on, but his shot flashed wide after 76′ minutes when Mitchell cut the angle.
Simonoski beat Graeme Forbes for pace following a through ball on 84′ minutes, but his shot finished comfortably wide.
Green showed how it was done when he took a touch from Cholakian’s corner and lashed home from six yards seconds later.
Wolves defender Michael Robinson capped a night to forget for the away side when he was sent off at the death following a shocking tackle on Oates.
Manly boss Paul Dee was delighted to snare three points on home soil.
“It was a really tough win, we had to grind out the result,” he said.
“Wolves are a tough team to play, they are very physical, you could see some of the heat in a few tackles.
“Hopefully we can jag a couple of more wins now so we finish around the 24 point mark.”
His opposite Nahuel Arrarte pointed to naive defending as the difference.
“It was a tight game, one goal was always going to be enough to win it,” he said.
“To leave a player unmarked at the far post from a set piece at this level is unforgivable.
“We will put this result behind us and move on.”
Manly United 1 (Jack Green 86′)
South Coast Wolves 0
Saturday July 26, Cromer Park
Referee: Michael Weiner
Assistant referees: Andrej Giev, Leigh Pigram
Fourth official: Gareth Williams
Manly United FC: 1.Dylan Mitchell, 10.Brendan Cholakian, 4.Graeme Forbes, 5.Josh Lawson, 9.Chris Payne, 8.Danny Grant, (17.Nathan Sim 62′) 11.Roberto Speranza, (29.Tommy Morrissey 78′) 2.Jimmy Oates, 6.Josh Ward, 19.Daniel Saric, (22.Jack Green 72′) 15.Rhys Williams
Substitutes not used: 2.Leigh Egger, 20.Nick Perry
Yellow cards: Payne 48′, Cholakian 70′
South Coast Wolves: 1.Tom Hamilton, 8.Matthew Bailey, 5.James Baldacchino, 2.Jack Keating, 20.Joseph Lavalle, (10.Ben Zucco 62′) 22.Sam Matthews, 25.Jordan Murray, (11.Mitchell Del Turco 85′) 3.Chris Nathaniel, 16.Lachlan Reus, (7.Chris Price 75′) 4.Michael Robinson, 9.Peter Simonoski
Substitutes not used: 12.Steven Hayes
Yellow cards: Lavalle 21′, Robinson 43′, Baldacchino 90′
Red cards: Robinson 90′