KAWASAKIYA GUIDES UNITED TO VICTORY OVER RANGERS
A first half double from Wollongong United’s Hikaru Kawasakiya guided his side to a 2-0 victory over Corrimal Rangers in the Illawarra Mercury IPL on Sunday.
Corrimal opted to move the fixture earlier in the week to the synthetic pitch at Ian McLennan Park due to concerns about the weather.
United coming off back to back wins over the weekend and midweek got off to a flying start. The opening goal coming inside three minutes.
While fans were barely finding their seats and gentlemen still distributing the first round of beers, United had already drawn first blood. United forward, Hitsuo Yamada’s low cross from the flank was both crisp and pinpoint, finding the feet of Kawasakiya, who calmly tucked it in from the 6-yard line.
Aside from the early goal, the first 15 minutes of play was extremely competitive, with both sides sharing equal time in possession and playing a highly energetic, fast-paced brand of football on the flat synthetic track.
Corrimal’s attacking midfielder, Van Elia, frequently found himself where the action was and in the 14th minute, had decent attempt at goal from outside the box.
In the 22nd minute, Elia was at it again, showcasing an impressive series of dribble moves to beat two defenders before laying it on perfectly for Rick Goodchild. Goodchild sent the shot right down the throat of United keeper, Jordan Nikolovski, from point blank range.
Yamada and Kawasakiya were relentless in applying pressure to the Rangers’ back men, rushing them on every possession and forcing them to play down the touch line.
This strategy paid dividends in the 24th minute, as a rushing Kawasakiya won possession off a Rangers defender and, with the ball bouncing, he casually chipped the rushing keeper from outside the box.
This extended United’s lead out to two goals, with the scoreboard reading 2-0 half way through the first stanza.
Goodchild’s woes continued in the 32nd minute, finding himself in the same spot for the same result, misfiring the shot across the face.
In the 39th minute, Elia showed his class again, executing a brilliant long cross to Goodchild on the far side of the box. After controlling it with his chest, Goodchild banged it towards the top corner, only for it to be saved by Nikolovski once again.
The score remained 2–0 at the half.
The opening 15 minutes of the second stanza iterated more of the same, with the Rangers dominating much of the possession, however squandering goal-scoring opportunities.
Multiple shot attempts from inside the box by Corrimal either went wayward or barely challenged Nikolovski. Later in the 62nd minute, an open goal still wasn’t inviting enough, as the ball was sent over the crossbar from just 8 yards out leaving Rangers fans despairing – heads in their hands.
In the 68th minute, Van Elia was forced to leave the field due to injury. Elia was a centrepiece of the Rangers offence achieving a possession-success rate of 88% (possession ends with successful pass or shot attempt), showing strong composure and focus on every possession (25 possessions in 68 minutes of play).
To make matters worse for the men in red, Nicholas Grozdanov received his second yellow and was made a spectator for the remainder of the match.
The game became increasingly fiery in the final 15 minutes, with yellow cards being handed out like candy on Halloween.
A tussle between Jake Morlando (Corrimal) and Kristian Sekutkoski (Wollongong United) broke out in the 88th minute, with both men having a firm hold of the other’s collar and plenty to say. Sekutkoski was given a yellow for his indiscretions.
A second red was given in the 89th minute to United substitute Klime Sekutkoski for an illegal slide tackle, capping off a frenzy of misdemeanours.
After an action packed 90 minutes, the score-line settled 2-0 in favour of Wollongong United, whose early double from Kawasakiya earned them the competition points and boosted them into third position on the ladder.
Wollongong United will return home to Macedonia Park next Saturday against South Coast United, where they will look to grab their third straight win.
With Corrimal now sliding down to fifth position in the competition, they will have a chance to redeem themselves at home next Sunday against Albion Park White Eagles, who themselves have had a bumpy start to the season.
Sunday 16th of August at Ian McLennan Park
The Illawarra Mercury Premier League (FG) – Round 4
Corrimal Rangers: 0
Wollongong United: 2 (KAWASAKIYA 3’, 24’)
Corrimal Rangers: Kaydin HARRISON, Jason ZUFIC, Dean PENDER, Paul GUIDO, Jake MORLANDO, Lukas STERGIOU, Takoa TERAMOTO, Rick GOODCHILD, Samuel MATTHEWS, Van ELIA, Nicholas GROZDANOV, Tim WYLIE, Peter KYRIAKOUDES, Zack TYSON, Matthew GALANTI, David ZUFIC
Wollongong United: Jordan NIKOLOVSKI, Ben BROOKS, Andre DIAS, Hikaru KAWASAKIYA, Seiji KAWAKAMI, Danny LAZAREVSKI, Zac MCLAREN, Sean THOMAS, Billy TSOVOLOS, Hitsuo YAMADA, Mason VERSI, Klime SEKUTKOVSKI, Kristian SEKUTKOVSKI, Michael MENDES, Jeremy FLANAGAN, Josh CORREIA
Referee: Andrew NAYLOR
Assistant Referees: Reece EDWARDS, Steven PAYNE
Report by Fletcher Winning
Photo by Richie Wagner