BULLI BATTERED AS UNITED INCREASE LEAD

7 Rd 7 1st Grade vs Bulli (270)

BULLI v WOLLONGONG UNITED | IPL R7 | MATCH REPORT

Wollongong United opened up a four-point gap at the top of the Illawarra Premier League with a convincing 5-1 victory against Bulli on Wednesday night. 

The comprehensive win at Balls Paddock came four days after United claimed the Bert Bampton Cup against the same opposition.

There was little between the sides in the opening 30 minutes with the main incident being the early substitution of Ben McDonald due to a hamstring twinge.

The final 10 minutes of the first half was all-action with the ball hitting the back of the net on four occasions. 

United were the first to score when Hikaru Kawasakiya capitalised on a slip from Jack Harris to blast the ball home and three minutes later, Bulli goalkeeper Daniel Farina miscued a clearance to Kawasakiya who laid it off to Zac McLaren who played in Andre Dias to fire the ball into the bottom right corner.

Bulli pulled a goal back straight away with Blake Hewson cutting in from the right before finding the bottom left corner but as the clock ticked into injury time, United restored their two-goal advantage with Mason Versi’s header coming off Aaron Baker before ending up in the net.

The match spiralled out of the home side’s control in the opening stages of the second half with Baker seeing his second yellow of the night just minutes before Versi was found unmarked by a McLaren cross before finishing past Farina. 

Bulli’s only half-chance of the second period came in the 70th minute when Seiya Kambayashi glided down the right before cutting back to Luke Van Zyl who hit his shot wide. 

The drubbing was finished off with a couple of minutes remaining when Versi picked out Billy Tsovolos free in the box with the former Portsmouth man heading the ball beyond the goalkeeper.

The three points sees the Macedonia Park club go four clear of Bellambi with the sides meeting at Elizabeth Park in round nine. 

United coach Oli Vrtkovski was full of praise for his side but he wasn’t prepared to fully entertain talk that the league title was already sealed.

“Our first team tonight was tremendous,” Vrtkovski said.

“We are making sure [that] in front of goals we are clinical but defending our goal we have to be even more clinical and the boys are doing it themselves, we do a lot of work off the pitch which is showing and it’s a credit to the lads.

“We have got to play Cringila this weekend and it’s a derby between the Macedonian clubs and it’s a massive game for us. 

“We have just got to keep pulling out performances week after week, trophies are weeks away, we have just got to focus on Saturday’s game against Cringila.”

As for Bulli, the defeat leaves them in fourth, three points ahead of sixth-placed Corrimal and six points adrift of United.

Julio Miranda’s side host South Coast United on Saturday.

Bulli 1 (Blake Hewson 40’)

Wollongong United 5 (Hikaru Kawasakiya 35’, Andre Dias 38’, Aaron Baker OG 45’, Mason Versi 60’, Billy Tsovolos

Bulli: 1. FARINA Daniel, 30. KAMBAYASHI Seiya, 3. HARRIS Jack, 27. CLARINO Ian, 4. BAKER Aaron, 5. FOSTER Luke, 26. TSUJIMURA Takumu, 8. HEWSON Blake, 6. DAVIS Sam, 9. MCDONALD Ben, 7. VAN ZYL Luke

Substitutes: 31. EMERTON Ryan (MCDONALD), 19. MIRANDA Sam (HEWSON), 12. LLOYD Harry, 17. ASHTON Max (TSUJIMURA), 1. MCGINNES Ben

Wollongong United: 60. NIKOLOVSKI Jordan, 19. BROOKS Ben, 3. DIAS Andre, 11. KAWASAKIYA Hikaru, 26. KAWAKAMI Seiji, 42. LAZAREVSKI Danny, 44. MCLAREN Zac, 41. THOMAS Sean, 20. TSOVOLOS Billy, 23. YAMADA Mitsuo, 10. VERSI Mason

Substitutes: 7. MENDES Michael, 30. SEKUTKOSKI Klime (KAWASAKIYA), 38. SEKUTKOSKI Kristian (THOMAS), 14. FLANAGAN Jeremy (YAMADA), 9. DARJANI Thomas

Date: 9 September 2020

Venue: Balls Paddock

Referee: Andrew Naylor

Assistant Referees: Steven Payne and Bryce Dreghorn

Report by Dylan Arvela, on Twitter @dylanarvela

Photos by Richie Wagner

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