Wolves v Power

Round 9 report by David Mason
Wollongong Wolves v Parramatta Power

In a major 'boilover' the battling Wolves took an early lead through Arrarte and despite Power's Ceccoli pulling one back, Hawrysiuk contributed 2 more goals so they ran out winners 3-1 over the League leaders in Wollongong tonight.

Parramatta Power suffered its first loss of the season in the round nine National Soccer League match.

The loss ended the Power's seven-match unbeaten start to the season and saw it topple from the top of the competition ladder, with Perth Glory regaining a two-point lead in the race for honours.

Put simply; Wollongong was too good on the night and thoroughly deserved the victory as they lifted to a level that Parramatta could not compete with on the night.

Even before Power midfielder Simon Colosimo was sent off in the 72nd minute for a second yellow card, the Power's fate had been sealed by a Wolves team that was enthusiastic and took its chances in front of goal.

Parramatta made a change to its starting line up from the previous week with defender Paul O'Grady brought back into the side for striker Johnny Buonavoglia, causing a reshuffle that saw captain Alvin Ceccoli moved to an attacking wingback role.

The changes caused some rustiness early and the Wolves took the lead in the 29th minute when Nahuel Arrarte beat Power goalkeeper Clint Bolton with a rocket after a smart Stuart Young dummy exposed the Power defence.

Just four minutes later the changes paid dividends when Ceccoli scored his first goal for the club with a powerful drive from outside the area, which flew into the top right hand corner of the net.

The goal seemed to restore Power's confidence but the Wolves refused to lie down and they regained the lead in the 41st minute when midfielder Michael Hawrysiuk scored the first of his two goals to give the home side the half time momentum with a 2-1 lead at the break.

Power reverted to its tried and tested formation at half time, with Buonavoglia injected into the match, and looked like forcing its way back into the match until the 54th minute when Hawrysiuk scored with a strong header at the far post to pout the Wolves two goals to the good.

It was a deficit the Power could not reel in as the home side could sense its first home win of the season, spurred on by a small but vocal crowd.

The Power's fate was sealed when Colosimo was sent from the field but even with 10 men the Power had numerous chances to get a goal back. Ultimately it would have been an injustice to the Wolves, who held on tosecure its second win of the season.

After the match, Coach Nick Theodorakopoulos was philosophical about the defeat, preferring to give the Wolves the credit they deserved.

"I don't want to take anything away from Wollongong because I thought they were clearly the better side on the night and well done to them," he said. "We were beaten by a better side on the night and that is a fact of sport.

"They lifted a level and we were slightly off our game and they put away their chances and we didn't. That is a pretty simple summation of the game but that's the way it went.

"We just have to make sure that we get back on track next weekend against Brisbane and our focus will be on the next game."

While the win keeps Wollongong in 12th place, they moved six points clear of the Football Kingz at the bottom and just a point behind a batch of teams. For Parramatta it was their first taste of defeat this season and will be a big wake up call for a side that some were predicting would go through the season unbeaten.