Wollongong Olympic have set up a blockbuster clash against Wollongong United next week after a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Bulli FC on Sunday afternoon at Ian McLennan Park.
A swift start from the defacto hosts saw the side two goals to the good within 15 minutes courtesy of Harry Callahan and Tynan Diaz. Jake Trew’s goal later on in the second half sealed a convincing win for Olympic.
The side flew out of the blocks with the intention of making some early inroads into the Bulli defence. Olympic found the opening goal within just eight minutes of the first whistle as Callahan buried a bouncing volley from the edge of the box into the bottom left corner against his former club.
Matt Bailey’s team only gained further momentum from here jagging a second goal five minutes later. A well-weighted ball into the left channel found Diaz clean through on goal against Bulli goalkeeper Seiya Miyamoto – the ex-APIA Leichhardt player placing an assured side-footed finish into the far corner.
Olympic almost took further advantage of these blistering first few minutes with early substitute Tory Musumeci seeing his lofted effort from the right of the box tipped over the bar by a stretching Miyamoto.
Bulli began to find their groove half an hour in with a quickfire brace of chances as Deakin Brownlee saw his close-range strike blocked by Olympic keeper Justin Pasfield. This before Kyle Jackson’s header from the resulting corner cannoned back off the crossbar.
Wollongong Olympic stepped the pressure up again in the final five minutes of the half carving open two opportunities. Mucumeci’s right-sided cross in the 40th minute presented Diaz with a glorious chance at the back post, but he skewed his effort wayward. Then a persistent Callahan outmuscled Jackson inside the box on the stroke of halftime but booted the shot clear of the crossbar.
It was a similar trend in the second half with Olympic coming close to a third goal early on as Trew drew two super saves inside 10 minutes from Miyamoto to keep the deficit at just two goals for Bulli.
As Bulli committed more numbers forward, space opened up for Olympic to exploit on the breakaway. Fullback David Hartas profited from this on several occasions. The best of these came in the 63rd minute with his back heel inside the box finding Mucumeci; however, the forward’s shot went over the bar.
In a brief foray forward for Bulli midway through the half, Aaron Baker leathered a first-time strike from outside the box high and wide. Seconds later, Olympic substitute Brendan Low nearly made an instant impact after coming on seeing his shot from the left of the box saved well by Miyamoto.
Wollongong Olympic picked up their third goal 78 minutes in as Trew received the ball inside the left channel of the box before sending a smart left-footed finish into the back of the net.
Despite the concession of a third goal, Bulli had a stronger finish to the game with a few opportunities to pick up some consolation. With three minutes to play, Sam Adnum’s shot from the left of the box rolled to Pasfield, and a minute later Joel Starr’s powerful long-range effort bounced just past the left post. Adnum had another shot deep into stoppage time, but Pasfield held onto the ball with Wollongong Olympic going on to claim a place in next week’s major semi-final against Wollongong United.
Olympic captain Chris Price was relishing Sunday’s clash with their local rivals, especially after last month’s 1-0 victory over United at PCYC.
“It’s exciting,” he said.
“A spot for the grand final is up for grabs, and we are under no illusions the challenge that lays ahead. We know they’re a good team; they finished first for a reason, but we’ve got really good momentum at the moment, and we’re confident.”
As for Bulli, coach Julio Miranda lamented a lethargic start leaving his team two down within a quarter of an hour. The side were also without key goalscorer and captain Ben Mcdonald for the game who was missing through injury.
“You lose that focal point [without Mcdonald]. We don’t use it as an excuse it just gives someone else an opportunity to come up and hopefully make the team better,” he said.
“I thought it was two early mistakes and they punished us.
“I thought after that we were ok. We were very competitive. We had a couple of half-chances, but you look at their [Olympic’s] squad; they’ve got some depth.
“It didn’t work out today, but we move onto next week.”
This defeat means next week Bulli will face the winner of Coniston and Cringila who go head to head at JJ Kelly Park later today.
Wollongong Olympic 3 (Harry Callahan 8’, Tynan Diaz 13’, Jake Trew 77’)
Bulli FC 0
Wollongong Olympic: 1. PASFIELD Justin, 17. O’ROURKE James, 26. EVERY Mark, 4. PRICE Chris, 3. ALCORN Joshua, 6. HARTAS David, 8. LAVALLE Joe, 10. GOODCHILD Rick, 11. CALLAHAN Harry, 7. DIAZ Tynan, 5. TREW Jake
Substitutes: 12. LOW Brendan (DIAZ 68’), 9. MUCUMECI Tory (GOODCHILD 16’), 19. LOWCOCK Sandy (EVERY 80’), 25. MARTINOSKI John, 20. FUENTEZ Cristofer
Yellow Cards: Joshua Alcorn 33’, Chris Price 55’, James O’Rourke 79’
Red Cards: Nil
Bulli FC: 21. MIYAMOTO Seiya, 16. ROOKE Alex, 4. BAKER Aaron, 19. CLARINO Ian, 33. EMERTON Ryan, 2. JACKSON Kyle, 6. DAVIES Sam, 27. STARR Joel, 7. PATERSON Jarvis, 10. GRIMSHAW Lewis, 11. BROWNLEE Deakin
Substitutes: 25. ADNUM Sam (PATTERSON 78’), 22. BRYCE Lachlan (STARR 89’), 24. DONNELLY Callum (BAKER 86’), 1. KLUDASS Braeden, 26. LEWIS Mitch
Yellow Cards: Aaron Baker 69’, Sam Davies 90’
Red Cards: Nil
Date: Sunday, 2 October 2022
Venue: Ian McLennan Park, Kembla Grange
Referee: Nick Ryan
Assistant Referees: Jay Walpole and Caleb Blanch
Fourth Official: Peter Ilcevski
Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_
Photos courtesy of Graham Brown