Two second-half goals saw Wollongong United prevail 2-0 against Albion Park White Eagles on Sunday night.
Jeremy Flanagan made an instant impact off the bench for the visitors breaking the deadlock 65 minutes in and five minutes later Mitsuo Yamada sealed the points for the side.
Neither side conjured up many shooting opportunities in the first 20 minutes with the teams feeling their way into the game.
In the 22nd minute, White Eagles’ forward Julian Minutillo took on a volley from the right edge of the box that was held onto by United keeper Jacob Madden.
A minute later, United moved the ball forward down the right with Sean Thomas delivering a ball into the box that found a stretching Dinko Terzic who volleyed over the bar.
The hosts struck the woodwork 27 minutes in, when a cross from the right found Cameron Morgan, whose first-time shot bounced off the right post and out for a goal kick.
Ten minutes later, Wollongong United attacker Kyah Jovanovski won the ball on the halfway line and found Mason Versi.
Versi picking up the ball and dribbling from right to left towards the box, but the deflected shot spun out for a corner.
Four minutes before the break, the away side was awarded a freekick on the left that James Stojanovski whipped just over the right post.
On the stroke of halftime, both sides had opportunities to find the opening goal.
Albion Park’s Kotaro Katsuta delivered a ball from the left that Ethan Kambisios was unable to get sufficient contact on with his head from the middle of the box.
United went down the other end with a ball across the face of goal finding Yamada at the right post whose shot from point-blank range was well-blocked by White Eagles’ keeper Mohamed Krishban.
Despite an increased tempo in the match as the first half had progressed, the sides were level heading into halftime.
A swift start to the second period from the hosts saw Kambisios roll a shot from the right of the box just wide of the left post only a couple of minutes in.
In the 58th minute, the side had another chance as Minutillo skewed a first-time shot from the right edge of the box wide of the right post.
Despite a bright start for Albion Park, it was the away side who took the lead seven minutes later.
Flanagan who had only been introduced to the match moments earlier tapping the ball into the net after Yamada poked a pass through to the forward from the right of the box.
The White Eagles looked to respond 69 minutes in, as Minutillo headed over the bar following a freekick put into the box.
Wollongong United doubled their advantage a minute later as Jovanovski picked the ball up in behind the right channel passing the ball into the box for Versi who hit the post.
The rebound fell to Yamada who made no mistake from close range to put the visitors in a commanding position heading into what remained of the match.
Wollongong United continued to press on in the pursuit of more goals and created another chance in the 77th minute.
Thomas Darjani’s cross from the right met the head of Yamada who could only direct his header wide of the right post.
With five minutes to play, the White Eagles came close to halving the deficit.
Minutillo cannoning a vicious strike of the crossbar as Viggiani picked up the rebound but cleared the bar with his effort from close range centrally.
Flanagan was denied his second of the match in the final minute of the match getting on the end of a right-sided ball into the box with Krishban able to make a save from close in.
Wollongong United went on to secure a 2-0 victory against Albion Park White Eagles.
The side will now turn their attention to Wednesday night’s Australia Cup Round 7 match against St George City FA.
Billy Tsovolos’ men have the chance to be the first association team from New South Wales ever to make the competition’s Round of 32; the national stage.
For the White Eagles, this is their second defeat in a row after the 3-0 loss to Wollongong Olympic in Round 15.
Next up for Albion Park is a trip to Tarrawanna Oval to face Tarrawanna Blueys who remain top of the league after their 5-3 victory against Bellambi on Saturday.
Albion Park White Eagles 0
Wollongong United 2 (Jeremy Flanagan 65’, Mitsuo Yamada 70’)
Albion Park White Eagles: 31 KRISHBAN Mohamed, 8. LEIGHTON Jake, 4. SUZAKI Kohei, 21. FORDHAM Brendan, 13. NATHANIEL Chris, 6. KAMBISIOS Ethan, 16. SAVERINO Dean, 10. MUNRO Sam, 11. KATSUTA Kotaro, 9. MINUTILLO Julian, 7. MORGAN Cameron
Substitutes: 41. SOUTHERN Deakin, 2. MARTIN Jacob (CROSS), 5. VIGGIANI Adrian (FORDHAM), 14. CROSS Mitchell (SAVERINO), 12. VICOROSKI Johnny
Wollongong United: 60. MADDEN Jacob, 27. BARBAROVSKI Bailey, 5. LAZAREVSKI Danny, 32. STOJANOVSKI James, 10. TERZIC Dinko, 2. THOMAS Sean, 4. VESCIO Rene, 23. YAMADA Mitsuo, 11. VERSI Mason, 8. JOVANOVSKI Kyah
Substitutes: 97. CHARLSTON Jake, 19. BROOKS Ben, 7. CORREIA Josh (STOJANOVSKI), 14. FLANAGAN Jeremy (TERZIC), 9. DARJANI Thomas (VERSI)
Date: 12 June 2022
Venue: Terry Reserve, Albion Park
Referee: Bobby Mazevski
Assistant Referees: Reece Edwards and Stuart Bell
Report by Timothy Gibson
Photo courtesy of Richie Wagner