Wollongong Olympic have secured the 2022 Illawarra Premier League title with a 2-1 win against rivals Wollongong United at WIN Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The weather didn’t dampen the entertainment of the football with United’s Dinko Terzic seeing his penalty saved inside seven minutes. From there, Olympic burst into a two-goal lead within half an hour.
Klime Sekutkoski pulled a goal back just before the break for United, however, his side were unable to find an equalising goal in the second half.
The match took no time in lifting the crowd off their seats with United awarded a penalty within seven minutes.
Dinko Terzic stepped and powered an effort towards the bottom left corner, however, Olympic keeper Justin Pasfield got a strong right hand to the ball and made the save.
The early scare didn’t deter Olympic at all, the side finding the opening goal nine minutes later. Tynan Diaz’s right-sided corner meeting the head of Price in the middle who sent a bullet header into the bottom right corner.
It went from bad to worse for United in the 26th minute as Jake Trew muscled his way into the left of the box. The forward squared it across the box where Wollongong United defender, Barbarovski facing his own goal scuffed the ball into the roof of the net.
United picked up a lifeline heading into halftime. Sekutkoski brought the ball down in the box with exceptional control before rolling the ball onto his left foot and sliding a finish under Pasfield.
A goal in the final minute of the first period halved the deficit for Wollongong United; however, Wollongong Olympic still had a slender lead at the break.
It was almost the perfect start for United in the second half four minutes in. A ricochet fell to halftime substitute Mason Versi who shifted the ball to his right for Sekutkoski who sliced his effort just wide. The side came close again in the 57th minute with Kyah Jovanovski skewing a shot from the edge of the box wayward as well.
Olympic returned fire seven minutes later as fullback David Hartas flashed a ball across the box from the right of the box, yet no teammate could find a converting touch.
Chances began to wane as the match entered its final phase; however, with three minutes to go, Wollongong Olympic had the chance to seal the game. Sandy Lowcock burst down the left and rolled a finish agonisingly wide of the far post.
United nearly pulled level in the final minute of regular time with Jeremy Flanagan receiving the ball in space on the edge of the box but shooting wide of the goal.
With the League Champions growing increasingly more desperate for a goal they pushed more and more numbers forward meaning end-to-end football as the match entered its dying embers.
Olympic consequently created a couple of chances on the break with Diaz and Lowcock both seeing efforts parried away by United keeper Jacob Madden.
It wouldn’t matter in the end with Wollongong Olympic securing their first grand final title in 37 years.
Wollongong Olympic 2 (Chris Price 16’, Bailey Barbarovski own goal 26’)
Wollongong United 1 (Klime Sekutkoski 44’)
Scott Chipperfield Medalist: Harry Callahan
Wollongong Olympic: 1. PASFIELD Justin, 4. PRICE Chris, 6. HARTAS David, 12. LOW Brendan, 7. DIAZ Tynan, 8. LAVALLE Joe, 10. GOODCHILD Rick, 9. MUSUMECI Tory, 26. EVERY Mark, 11. CALLAHAN Harry, 5. TREW Jake
Substitutes: 19. LOWCOCK Sandy (GOODCHILD 76’), 13. MAVRIDIS Manny, 14. WILLE Liam (MUSUMECI 64’), 3. D’AMICO Jamie, 20. FUENTEZ Cristofer
Yellow Cards: Joe Lavalle 69’, Tynan Diaz 78’, Justin Pasfield 90+1’, Liam Wille 90+6’
Red Cards: Nil
Wollongong United: 1. MADDEN Jacob, 27. BARBAROVSKI Bailey, 19. BROOKS Ben, 7. CORREIA Josh, 26. KAWAKAMI Seiji, 5. LAZAREVSKI Danny, 29. SEKUTKOSKI Klime, 32. STOJANOVSKI James, 10. TERZIC Dinko, 2. THOMAS Sean, 8. JOVANOVSKI Kyah
Substitutes: 14. FLANAGAN Jeremy (TERZIC 58’), 4. VESCIO Rene, 23. YAMADA Mitsuo (JOVANOVSKI 68’), 11. VERSI Mason (BARBAROVSKI 46’), 9. DARJANI Thomas
Yellow Cards: Mason Versi 69’, James Stojanovski 78’
Red Cards: Nil
Date: Sunday 23 October 2022
Venue: WIN Stadium
Referee: Bobby Mazevski
Assistant Referees: Caleb Blanch and Harrison Fisher
Fourth Official: Nicholas Ryan
Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_
Photos courtesy of Pedro Garcia