Wollongong Olympic are through to the grand final, defeating Wollongong United 2-0 at Ian McLennan Park on Saturday.
It took until extra time to find a winner; goals from Tynan Diaz and Jake Trew settled the result.
It was a cagey opening to the game with neither side taking the initiative early on. United’s Mason Versi had a chance four minutes in though as a ball looped over the top into the left channel found the winger. Taking a touch into the box, his effort was wayward in the end. Olympic had a couple of dangerous corners over the next 10 minutes with Lowcock sending two efforts just over the bar.
Olympic came the closest of either side in the 34th minute as Chris Price drove a ball into the box from the left finding Sandy Lowcock on the right. The forward unleashed a fierce strike that cannoned back off the left post with United goalkeeper Jacob Madden unmoved. Wollongong United went down the other end with fullback Bailey Barbarovski sending a shot over the bar seconds later.
Olympic continued to threaten from set pieces with James O’Rourke receiving a right-sided corner at the back post in the 37th minute; however, he skewed his shot over the bar. Liam Wille, who had been introduced as an early substitute also had a chance with six minutes to go. He took on a shot from the edge of the box that was straight at Madden.
The teams went into the break level after a first half that lacked clear chances either way. United almost took the lead from the kick off for the second half. A right-sided cross met the head of Kyah Jovanovski who drew a superb reaction save from Justin Pasfield to divert the ball over the crossbar.
Despite the early excitement, the game reverted to its timid tone as both sides looked to score a single goal that would likely be the winner. Olympic forward Jake Trew shifted the ball inside from the right in the 65th minute taking on a shot from the edge of the box that cleared the crossbar by some distance.
The side conjured up a huge opportunity to find the opening goal eight minutes later. Harry Callahan broke away through the middle of the field and played it out wide to Lowcock. The striker exchanging passes with Callahan before receiving the ball inside the box and sliding an effort at goal that Madden was equal to.
United had two chances just after the 77th minute with Terzic rolling an effort wide of the left post before Barbarovski’s effort from the left of the box stung the palms of Pasfield. Olympic went straight up the other end; Wille played in behind the right channel and cutting the ball back to Diaz who facing a keeperless goal saw his shot blocked.
With the scores level at the end of regulation time, the match headed in extra time. United had two promising corners at the start of extra time with the best of these finding Ben Brooks in the right of the box. The defender’s subsequent header bounced into the ground before O’Rourke headed the ball over the bar.
It looked like the game was destined for penalty kicks as neither side could score a goal. However, five minutes into the second period of extra time, Olympic’s Mason Mavridis picked up the ball in the right of the United box side-footing a shot on goal. Madden could only parry the ball into the path of Diaz centrally who passed the ball into an open goal.
Wollongong Olympic added a second goal eight minutes later as Trew hit a piercing volley from outside the box that nested in the left side of the goal with Madden unmoved. The goal proved the final major action of the match with Matt Bailey’s team into the grand final.
Wollongong United will have another chance to make it to the big dance if they defeat Cringila Lions on Sunday.
Wollongong United 0
Wollongong Olympic 2 (Tynan Diaz 110’, Jake Trew 118’)
Wollongong United: 1. MADDEN Jacob, 27. BARBAROVSKI Bailey, 19. BROOKS Ben, 7. CORREIA Josh, 26. KAWAKAMI Seiji, 5. LAZAREVSKI Danny, 29. SETUTKOSKI Klime, 10. TERZIC Dinko, 2. THOMAS Sean, 11. VERSI Mason, 8. JOVANOVSKI Kyah
Substitutes: 14. FLANAGAN Jeremy (VERSI 58’), 25. GUTIERREZ Jamie (CORREIA 105’), 20. MARKOWSKI Jayden (TERZIC 86’), 9. DARJANI Thomas (BARBAROVSKI 99’), 21. HALES Aaron
Yellow Cards: Seiji Kawakami 83’
Red Cards: Nil
Wollongong Olympic: 1. PASFIELD Justin, 6. HARTAS David, 4. PRICE Chris, 7. DIAZ Tynan, 9. MUSUMECI Tory, 19. LOWCOCK Sandy, 17. O’ROURKE James, 26. EVERY Mark, 11. CALLAHAN Harry, 5. TREW Jake, 3. ALCORN Joshua
Substitutes: 10. GOODCHILD Rick, 13. MAVRIDIS Mason (LOWCOCK 102’), 14. WILLE Liam (MUSUMECI 28’), 20. FUENTEZ Cristofer
Yellow Cards: Joshua Alcorn 81’, James O’Rourke 90’, Harry Callahan 113’
Red Cards: Nil
Date: Sunday, 9 October 2022
Venue: Ian McLennan Park, Kembla Grange
Referee: Bobby Mazevski
Assistant Referees: Caleb Blanch and Harrison Fisher
Fourth Official: Peter Ilcevski
Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_
Photo courtesy of Richie Wagner