Captain Ben McDonald’s first-half penalty secured Bulli a narrow 1-0 win against Wollongong Olympic at Ian McLennan Park on Saturday night. 

Olympic started well in the first eight minutes with Rick Goodchild sending a shot over the bar before Tory Musumeci delivered a couple of dangerous crosses across the face of the goal.

14 minutes in, Stefan Dimoski headed a corner from the right towards the back post, but it was cleared away.

Dimoski came close again four minutes later finding space in behind on the right.

His original cross fell back to him, however, the former Wollongong Wolves forward’s next attempt was saved.

The midway point of the first half was marked with the only goal of the match as McDonald converted a penalty finding the bottom left corner with Olympic keeper Justin Pasfield diving the other way. 

Olympic looked to respond to conceding their first goal this season and in the 34th minute, Musumeci had a great chance to restore parity.

A ball across the box from the left found Musumeci at the back post who was unable to steer it home from very close range. 

The side very nearly went into the break level. 

With a minute to play in the half, a corner from the left found Chris Price at the back post who headed back across goal to Goodchild whose left-footed shot only just missed the far corner. 

At the break, Bulli led the match looking to carry on in the second period and earn the side’s first win in the competition this year. 

Seven minutes into the second period, Olympic were awarded a freekick from a central position outside the box. 

Tynan Diaz took responsibility with his effort falling just over the crossbar.

A minute later, Bulli’s Lewis Grimshaw forced a sharp save from Pasfield firing a shot from right to left with the keeper getting down low and holding onto the ball. 

Not long after, Bulli had the ball in the net with Tomohiro Ishii smashing it home, however, the flag was raised for offside. 

Olympic continued to push on in pursuit of an equalising goal, but the Bulli defence’s robust resilience kept Matt Bailey’s side at bay.

In the 73rd minute, Diaz took a shot from the right of the box which looked destined for the goal, but for a deflection sending the ball just over the bar. 

A minute after this, Olympic came forward again through substitute Liam Wylie who moved the ball from the right of the box to the left falling at the feet of Musumeci who skied the shot. 

As the game edged towards its conclusion Olympic’s Musumeci and Dimoski had efforts that failed to find the net.

With two minutes to play, Bulli was awarded their second penalty of the match. 

McDonald stepped up to secure the points but rattled the middle of the crossbar giving Olympic a lifeline in the dying embers. 

Olympic was unable to find that late goal with Bulli earning a 1-0 victory ending their opponents’ perfect start to the season. 

Bulli coach Julio Miranda was happy with the attitude of his players and backed the quality of the team for 2022. 

“I thought we made it hard for ourselves,” he said.

“I was really pleased with the effort today. We caused them problems.

“I know within the club we’ve got a really strong squad; young squad especially.”

Bulli are scheduled to travel to Wollongong United this Saturday in a rematch of the 2020 Bert Bampton Cup final where United prevailed 2-0.

Wollongong Olympic coach Matt Bailey believed the side would take lessons from this result but insisted the objectives for this season remained the same. 

“I think it’s a good lesson for us,” he said

“It was not to our usual standards. It comes down to application and desire and I think that’s what’s won Bulli the game today. I think they were very up for the match in the first half; full credit to them.

“The second half I thought we were much better. I thought we really swung that momentum.

“You can’t create four-five-six good chances without a shot on goal so that’s what cost us in the end.”

Wollongong Olympic are scheduled to host Tarrawanna Blueys on Saturday.

Bulli FC 1 (Ben McDonald 23’)

Wollongong Olympic 0

Bulli FC: 21. MIYAMOTO Seiya, 9. MCDONALD Ben, 33. EMERTON Ryan, 7. PATERSON Jarvis, 5. ISHII Tomohiro, 11. BROWNLEE Deakin, 19. CLARINO Julian, 10. GRIMSHAW Lewis, 6. DAVIES Sam, 2. JACKSON Kyle, 17. ROOKE Alex

Substitutes: 22. BYRCE Lachlan, 8. BIRRELL Lochie (BROWNLEE), 27. STARR Joel (GRIMSHAW), 25. ADNUM Samuel (PATERSON), 1. KLUDASS Braeden

Wollongong Olympic: 20. PASFIELD Justin, 6. HARTAS David, 4. PRICE Chris, 12. LOW Brendan, 7. DIAZ Tynan, 8. LAVALLE Joe, 10. GOODCHILD Rick, 11. KAWASAKIYA Hikaru, 13. DIMOSKI Stefan, 9. MUSUMECI Tory, 17. O’ROURKE James

Substitutes: 18. PAPPAS Jason, 19. LOWCOCK Sandy (MUSUMECI), 25. MARTINOSKI John (LAVALLE), 14. WYLIE Liam (KAWASAKIYA)

Date: Saturday 2 April

Venue: Ian McLennan Park

Referee: Nick Ryan

Assistant Referees: Reece Edwards and Nathan Alterator

Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @timg123_

Photo by Dana Walker

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