Bulli shared the points with a 10-man Wollongong Olympic in a one-all draw at Balls Paddock on Saturday afternoon. 

The visitors opened the scoring when Van Elia converted a penalty in the 33rd minute before defender James O’Rouke received a red card five minutes later.

Bulli youngster Deakin Brownlee equalised early in the second half – the strike his first goal in the Premier League in just his second start.

Olympic had a flying start to the match, creating four scoring opportunities within the opening 10 minutes.

Two minutes in, Elia played a clever ball to find Tory Musumeci inside the right channel of the box but Ben McGinnes smothered it before a he could pull the trigger. 

From a similar position, a minute later, Elia this time played in Hikaru Kawasakiya, whose shot forced a strong save from McGinnes.

Olympic’s pressure continued with Kawasakiya having a couple more attempts in the 10th minute which failed to find the net.

The lively Elia was involved again in the 15th minute bending a shot narrowly wide of the far corner from the left of the box.

Seven minutes later, Bulli’s Brownlee had his deflected shot from the right batted away in one of the few ventures forwards for the home side.

The purposeful play of the visitors was rewarded in the 33rd minute with the side being awarded a penalty.

Elia stepped up and made no mistake passing the ball into the right of the goal with Mcginnes diving the other way.

Bulli almost levelled the scores a couple of minutes later, with stand-in veteran goalkeeper Christian Pretto producing a brave save from Ryan Emerton’s one-on-one effort. 

In the 38th minute, the away side were dealt a blow when defender James O’Rourke received his marching orders. 

The remainder of the half saw Bulli’s Ian Clarino and Jack Harris each have chances to score following set pieces, but at the break, Olympic remained in front 1-0.

It didn’t take long for the hosts to equalise, as seven minutes in, Brownlee was played through face-to-face with Pretto edging the ball past the goalkeeper.

Bulli took the ascendancy over the next 10 minutes, with Nick Littler and Aaron Baker both sending shots over the bar.

Brownlee almost had his second 64 minutes in looking to poke the ball beyond Pretto but the shot-stopper pulled off another save.

In the final 20 minutes of the match, both sides had chances to steal the three points.

With 10 minutes to play, Olympic’s Musumeci charged down a backpass to Mcginnes forcing the keeper to hurry his clearance.

The ball fell to Josh Macdonald who attempted an audacious volley from near halfway with McGinnes pulling off a crucial save to ensure the scores remained level at full time. 

Bulli coach Julio Miranda was left disappointed with the result considering Olympic played most of the match with a player less.

“In the context of last week, it was really important to make that we got a result,” he said.  

“We played obviously with the extra player. They’re a quality side. They defended quite deep.

“We had some opportunities where we weren’t good enough to break them down.” 

Miranda also set aside praise for youngster Deakin Brownlee who scored his first goal for the club against the undefeated league leaders.

“There’s a lot of positives. Young Deakin Brownlee is going well for me at the moment,” he said. 

“He’s getting himself in good positions to score goals.” 

Next weekend, the side will play at home again, welcoming Tarrawanna, who they beat 4-1 in round two. 

The Blueys are also winless since round eight, sitting in eighth position on the table.

Wollongong Olympic coach George Antoniou believed his side’s performance showed character, feeling that James O’Rouke’s red card altered the course of proceedings.

“I think it was a gutsy performance at the end. I thought we were controlling the game up until then and unfortunately, that send off completely changed the game,” he said. 

“I thought we should’ve been a couple of goals up by that stage.

“It’s all about performance for us.”

The side will look to pick up maximum points in the next couple of weeks facing two of the bottom three.

Next Friday night travelling to Cringila before hosting Bellambi the following week. 

Bulli FC 1 (Deakin Brownlee 52’)

Wollongong Olympic 1 (Van Elia PENALTY 33’)

Bulli FC: 1, MCGINNES Ben, 28. BROWNLEE Deakin, 32. EMERTON Ryan, 19. CLARINO Ian, 9. MCDONALD Ben, 15. LITTLER Nick, 2. JACKSON Kyle, 4. BAKER Aaron, 5. FOSTER Luke, 6. DAVIES Sam, 3. HARRIS Jack

Substitutes: 11. BEATTIE Joel (BAKER), 7. VAN ZYL Luke (CLARINO), 12. LLOYD Harry, 21. KLUDASS Braeden, 22. BRYCE Lachlan

Wollongong Olympic: 77. PRETTO Christian, 6. HARTAS David, 26. EVERY Mark, 17. O’ROURKE James, 19. PRICE Chris, 5. KEATING Jack, 18. PAPPAS Jason, 31. LAVALLE Joey, 9. MUSUMECI Tory, 21. ELIA Van, KAWASAKIYA Hikaru

Substitutes: 33. MACDONALD Josh (KAWASAKIYA), 12. HAWKER Josh (MUSUMECI), 14. DENT Jackson (ELIA), 2. KYRIAKOUDES Michael

Date: 12 June 2021

Venue: Balls Paddock

Referee: Bobby Mazevski

Assistant Referees: Stuart Derbridge and Owen Donohoe

Report by Timothy Gibson

Photo by Dana Walker

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