As I told Chris, I couldn't write this up sooner because my computer room was occupied by Pommie relatives who bedded too early for me to attack the report. And they weren't really football fans (thank goodness in some respects) so they weren't sympathetic to my football reporting plight.
You won't be surprised to hear that we're not optimistic about Wolves getting any points out of Marconi this week.
Leeds beat Newcastle. The Wollongong basketball team beat Newcastle. The Wolves youth team ended Newcastle's unbeaten run. But the Wollongong Ericsson Cup side gave Newcastle their first home win in yonks.
We're only making the trip down to the 'Gong in future so we can cheer on the youth team. Good boys they are. Especially when they line up with several of the better senior players.
I was fortunate to miss most of the misery of the first half. Thanks to Paint Me Perfect Face Painting (02 4283 4960 -- birthday parties, clowns, fairies & themes). Associated entertainment. Like the Spicy Girls prior to the match and at half time (someone should tell Gingery Spicy not to turn her head from the microphone when swatting flies while singing the national anthem). Alex joined the face painting queue with Penny because Alex pretends to be a shy five-year-old instead of the little horror she really is. Twenty minutes before the match they started queuing. Penny missed the Spicy Girls. And the first ten minutes. After which she sent our Chris to instruct me to save her. I hate queues. Mind you, it wasn't because the queue was long. This guy is an artist. He told me he did parties. I asked him if he did parties in Liverpool. Shoulda seen his face fall. Looked like me after the match. Alex looked terrific. Beautiful blue pussy cat. So good in fact that the crowd was understandably more interested in her newly acquired feline radiance than in the misery on the pitch. Ooooh. Aaaaaagh. Look George, look at that little girl. Look everybody. Isn't she smart. ***Would everybody in the lower grandstand remain seated. I repeat, please return to your seats so people behind can also see the little girl with the cute blue puddy tat face and sparkly stars in her hair.*** Next home game they'll have a 15-minute break in the face painting parade for the Wolves to play a five-a-side soccer match against a team of mascots.
The program again didn't get the visitors right, and someone else has posted them, but my scrawl had them something like this: Catlin, Pryce, McManus, Sprod, Ritchie?, Wilson, Buonavoglia, Wieczorek (Roberts in the first half), Owens (Haythornthwaite in the second half), Yoon (Umil late in the second half), Shannan.
I was there long enough to see Wolves hit the metalwork. And Newcastle's first goal. I thought it was Ritchie who put a ball through, chased by Buonavoglia to the line when everyone else thought it was going out but he persisted and pulled it back for Yoon to launch it up into the back of the net. Easy. From what Penny had to say about the rest of the first half, if Wolves' forwards had half that finishing ability we'd have been up two or three goals at half time. But we have a possessive midfield topped and tailed by a follyfooted forward line and a flatfooted defence. Yay team.
I thought Horsley (who received a medal and a present for appearing in his 200th game for the club the previous week) looked strong. As I thought Petrovski looked strong -- at one point nearly winning against three Newcastle players under a Ceccoli bomb.
I'd been kicking a ball around with another face-painted kid while waiting for Alex. This kid, who was testing my reflexes left and right to the extent the woman running the inflated shooting entertainment behind me suggested we play somewhere else, was cursing Chipperfield for giving away the penalty. But Penny said it was Surjan (I'd been applauding his tackling a little earlier). And Yoon got his second.
Penny's notes from here on are amusing in a black kind of way:
Half shot by Matty (Horsley), Younis running on -- saved.
Younis to Scotty (Chipperfield), wussy shot -- saved.
Corner -- headed away. Matty shot, fell over -- saved.
Younis to Sasho (Petrovski), only goalie to beat -- kicked it straight at him.
Surjan to Petrovski -- goal, finally (but it was apparently Younis who put it in).
Scotty to Ray (Younis) -- hooked it just over the bar (Catlin just got a touch).
Seb (Sinozic) big ball to Alvin (Ceccoli), in to Petrovski -- just missed.
(Wait for it, wait for it, here comes a Newcastle attack) 10 (Buonavoglia) on break to 19 (Yoon), slipped, gave it away to Surj (Surjan).
Half time, and I was really glad the rels hadn't come with us.
I bothered to note that Younis laid a shot on for (I first thought it was Horsley but it might have been Reid) who hit a cracker against the upright. Ceccoli made a good run down the left with no support, on his own, turned back on himself a couple of times and got in his cross from the touchline. One of the few times I've seen him do that this season. A regular occurrence last year. Probably says more about Newcastle than Ceccoli regaining his form. Everyone was looking for Petrovski. Alvin found his head ... and ... over. Horsley crosses ... and ... a defender puts it out before Chipperfield can put it away. Surjan blasts a loose ball, decapitates a defender and goes out for a corner. Surjan does a couple of low hard corners from the left (Chipperfield usually does the low hard ones from the right) and does some temporary damage to Catlin's hand. Spencer has come on for Surjan. Masi is on for Younis. Brooks on for Langan (the coach is kinda wanting a goal by this stage). Shannon had a cross hit the post. Chipperfield shot wide after a Spencer shot was blocked. Sinozic seemed to have the measure of Buonavoglia and whatever else came at him (the highlights from the previous week had him looking quite a duffer).
Reid was Wolves' official man of the match (though I'd have given it to Pogliacomi for making his saves after long periods of boredom). Reid said the game plan of "going at them" solid backfired.
Now that you've read this far, in summary, the half dozen times Newcastle had the ball, on a break, counter attacking, they looked like scoring, denied by the post or Pogliacomi's diving saves. For all the ball Wolves had, 80 of the 90 minutes, they never looked like it. Shots hardly ever testing the keeper. The best chance of the second half was a shoulder charge on Catlin holding the ball -- if only he'd fallen over the line! Or when he hurt his hand and the ball spun off (luckily for him) for a corner.
I'm not sure whether it's that Bob Catlin has no brain or if he was just supremely confident in his lads' ability to defend but he was giving the ball away with astounding alacrity. Hoofing it up the pitch, far beyond his teammates, giving Wolves plenty of time to build yet more attacks.
But he was pulling in the crosses well.
Newcastle were given a couple of goals and then they defended very well.
Their ten or 20 fans were cheering louder than the 3,000 Wolves fans by game's end.
Good on 'em.