Wolves v United

Round 24 report by Stephen Webb
Wollongong City v Sydney United

This was a pretty fair result. Don't begrudge the enemy victory as much as I have on other occasions. Wolves had a lot of the play, building up and not getting far with it. Sydney Utd shut the home team out and made a nuisance of themselves with counter attacks and long balls. Wolves went a player down at 75 minutes when Huxley was yellow carded for the second time (first time for a tackle on Day, second for a hit on Burns).

Burns was probably United's best (very busy and hit the metalwork a couple of times, the second leading to the goal) but I also liked Bennett, Ardone and Day. And most of the defenders seemed to do it pretty comfortably for most of the game. Mopping Chipperfield up at the end of his runs to the box or squeezing him wide. Kupresak was making his presence felt at both ends of the pitch. Stanton was Wolves' man of the match - constantly running from defence, making the extra man. The United supporters in front of me weren't wrong in saying Wolves looked like they had the extra player, even after Huxley's sending-off.

Younis had a good game (for Younis) in the first half. Frequently penetrating with his pace and getting in several good crosses from the right. Quennet wasn't earthshattering but had quick feet and fitted in with Wolves' passing game.

Wolves had more half chances but United had a couple of better chances. When Chipperfield wasn't running into human walls he was overrunning crosses, though nearly scored on the end of a Younis cross at 19 minutes. And a minute later was on the end of another Younis cross but was deflected wide. About half an hour in, and after another Chipperfield shot was deflected for a corner, Reid put Chipperfield through again - he delivered a low hard shot that actually forced Gibson to make a save "sufficiently good to be acceptable anywhere in the world". But after Reid had shaved the upright with a swinging shot from United's clearance the ball was up the other end and Burns hit the inside of the post. The ball bounced clear. The goal came just before half time when a Santalab cross found Burns who saw his header bounce back but this time it came to the feet of Day. Who put it away. Pogliacomi otherwise had a safe game. Very good with high balls.

Half time entertainment was a Blues Brothers show. No visiting fans fighting police tonight. Though they did let off some flares after the game. With the c-r-o-a-t-s-i-a chant ringing out across the car park.

I think Chipperfield was yellow carded for kicking the ball away after an offside decision in the second half. Day was yellow carded for a long aimless slide tackle. There were appeals for a penalty after Pogliacomi punched an Ardone free kick high and Spencer appeared to shoulder it away.

Day had a very good chance on 65 minutes. Found himself with the ball and space in the Wolves penalty area but hit a soft shot for Pogliacomi to gather in. Surjan looked like he might weave his way to goal through a sea of feet in United's penalty area, following a great long run by Horsley and a one-two with Stanton (up again), but someone running back stopped United's potential misery by slogging it away for a corner.

At about 77 minutes Berry with Bennett's aid got the ball along Wolves' touchline to find the newly arrived Caleta at the far post. But it didn't quite work out for him.

Plesa was yellow carded for a hit on Masi who, at 87 minutes, did a great turn outside the box and forced another good save from Gibson. Wolves were getting frantic looking for the equaliser ... and if a couple of close offside calls had gone their way they just might have earned a point they barely deserved.