Wollongong United have deemed too strong for a persistent Port Kembla side, scoring two goals in the final 15 minutes to secure a 3-1 win at Wetherall Park on Saturday afternoon.
In the only clash of the Illawarra Premier League for the weekend, the two sides wouldn’t let the rain dampen their play style, firing out of the gates early on.
Despite this, the first shot on target came in the 19th minute when Mitsuo Yamada forced a save out of Bryce Daenell in Port’s goal.
Just two minutes later, United to hit the lead. It was Bailey Barbarovski punishing the Port Kembal backline after they failed to clear their lines following a series of crosses. The fullback then lashed a half-volley into the bottom corner to open the scoring on the day.
Although the home side wouldn’t be behind for long. A fast counter attack and a series of passes opened up space for Jordan Nikoloski on the wing. The goal-getter only needed one touch to set himself, and another to blast the ball into the far top corner, equalising just six minutes later.
United were then denied another in their next couple of attacks only to be denied by Daenell.
In the 30th minute, Daenell tipped over Kyah Jovanovski’s looping header before coming up with a miraculous double save to deny Barbarovski and Jovanovski again.
The second 45 saw Port start with the same intensity as they started the first, Oli Carrasco thought he nabbed his side’s second as the ball trickled along the goal-line after a save by Jacob Madden, however, Sean Thomas was able to get back in time and clear.
Yamada then would go inches away for the visitors in the 62nd minute as Madden denied Carrasco again with a strong save at his near post down the other end.
Then in the 77th minute, Josh Correia put his side back into the lead. After cutting in from the right wing, Correia beat several defenders before curling his effort into the top corner, just beyond the reach of Daenell.
With time running out for Port, they were dealt the ultimate blow as Correia popped up in the box to put away the rebound after Jovanovski’s bouncing header forced a parry out of Daenell.
In the end, Wollongong United proved too strong for Port Kembla as they keep their pace with league leaders, Tarrawanna.
Port Kembla enjoy next weekend off before returning home for a midweek fixture against Bulli on Tuesday, August 9th.
As for United, they’ll play their historic Australia Cup game against Victorian NPL side, Green Gully on Wednesday night before a Illawarra Premier League clash against Corrimal on Saturday.
Port Kembla: 1 (Jordan Nikolovski 27’)
Wollongong United: 3 (Bailey Barbovski 21’, Josh Correia 77’ 85’)
Port Kembla: 1. DAENELL Bryce, 2. DI PIETRO Mitch, 3. PRANDALOS Peter, 4. DANZO Lucas, 5. PAPALIA Luca, 6. CHICHARO Daniel, 7. NIKOLOVSKI Jayden, 8. ANAGNOSTOPOULOS Harry, 9. CARASCO Oli, 10. NIKOLOVSKI Jordan, 11. LAVELLE Rocky.
Substitutes: 12. CARELLA Daniel (CHICHARO), 13. ANAGNOSTOPOULOS James (PRANDALOS), 14. GEORGES Sam, 15. MOBBS William (DANZO), 21. GENUA Luke.
Wollongong United: 60. MADDEN Jacob, 27. BARBAROVSKI Bailey, 19. BROOKS Ben, 7. CORREIA Josh, 14. FLANAGAN Jeremy, 26. KAWAKAMI Seiji, 5. LAZAREVSKI Danny, 32. STOJANOVSKI James, 2. THOMAS Sean, 23. YAMADA Mitsuo, 8. JOVANOVSKI Kyah.
Substitutes: 29. SEKUTKOSKI Klime (STOJANOVSKI), 10. TERZIC Dinko (FLANAGAN), 4. VESCIO Rene (BARBAROVSKI), 9. DARJANI Thomas, 15. CUNZOLO Daniel.
Date: 23 July 2022
Ground: Wetherall Park
Referee: Caleb Blanch
Assistant Referees: Brendan Fotheringham & Reece Edwards
Report by Nathan Turner, on Twitter @nathanturner23_