Albion Park White Eagles kept their near-perfect form in the 2023 Illawarra Premier League going with a 4-1 victory over Wollongong United on Sunday afternoon at Terry Reserve.
Albion Park burst into a two-goal advantage through Joshua Macdonald’s brace in his first game back since his return to Terry Reserve. United were fired up for the second half scoring early through Danny Lazarevski before Cameron Morgan re-established the White Eagles’ cushion almost straight after.
United Goalkeeper Dion Shaw’s red card left Billy Tsvolos’ team with little chance of a comeback as Tory Musumeci added a fourth for the home side later in the second half.
After a timid first 10 minutes, both teams started to work their way into the game.
In the 14th minute, Kyah Jovanovski took aim from outside the box forcing Albion Park goalkeeper Hayden Durose to tip it over the bar.
Three minutes later, the White Eagles came forwards as Taiga Kitajima lined up a curler from the edge of the box that went straight at Shaw in the United goal.
The hosts continued to create chances, with early substitute Macdonald proving a threat for George Antoniou’s men. Half an hour in, Macdonald whipped in a left-sided free-kick that Morgan met at the near post but Shaw easily saved his flick-on.
Macdonald had a more decisive impact a couple of minutes later, firing home the opening goal and making it a dream return for the former Wollongong Wolf. The winger received a switch to the left before driving inside into the box and unleashing a strike that clipped the right post and went into the goal.
Just nine minutes later, Macdonald bagged his second of the match. A persistent Morgan stole the ball on the right allowing Kitajima to get off a shot that was only parried as far as Macdonald. He slotted a smart finish inside the near post to give Albion Park a commanding lead heading into halftime.
United came out firing for the second half and halved the deficit only six minutes after the restart. Lazarevski hooked a shot in from a left-sided corner to give the visitors the start to the second period they wanted.
However, Albion Park went straight down the other end from the kick-off and re-extended their lead. Morgan powered in a finish past Shaw from the right side of the box to leave United needing to regain the momentum once more.
Wollongong United drove forward again in the 55th minute as Jayden Makowski’s left-sided cross had to be clawed away from goal by Durose.
All hope of a comeback for United looked to have been snuffed out 66 minutes in when goalkeeper Shaw was sent off following a clash with Morgan in the visitors’ box.
With United reduced to 10 men, Albion Park were left to run riot and scored their fourth goal seven minutes after the sending-off. Musumeci dispatched a superb curling effort from the left edge of the box that nestled into the bottom right corner.
The chances kept coming for the home side, with substitute Wollongong United goalkeeper Jake Charlston producing a fantastic save to deny Musumeci his second 75 minutes in.
The away side pushed forward numbers in what remained to try and snatch some consolation, but Albion Park stood strong to secure the result.
Albion Park White Eagles FC 4 (Joshua Macdonald 32’ 41’, Cameron Morgan 52’, Tory Musumeci 73’)
Wollongong United FC 1 (Danny Lazarevski 51’)
Albion Park White Eagles FC: 1. DUROSE Hayden, 15. SHIMIZU Renji, 21. FORDHAM Brendan, 6. KAMBISIOS Ethan, 11. WILLE Liam, 8. LAVALLE Joey, 7. MORGAN Cameron, 14. MUSUMECI Tory, 16. NATHANIEL Christopher, 9. KITAJIMA Taiga, 17. FULLER Tyler
Substitutes: 4. KEATING Jack, 19. MINUTILLO Julian (MORGAN 88’), 5. MAVRIDIS Mason (KAMBISIOS 74’), 25. MACDONALD, Joshua (WILLE 20’), 13. KYRIAKOUDES Michael (KITAJIMA 74’), 30. SOUTHERN Deakin
Yellow Cards: Ethan Kambisios 30’, Joey Lavalle 58’, Cameron Morgan 67’, Mason Mavridis 90+6’
Red Cards: Nil
Wollongong United FC: 64. SHAW Dion, 10. MAKOWSKI Jayden, 4. VESCIO Rene, 23. YAMADA Mitsuo, 26. KAWAKAMI Seiji, 11. JOVANOVSKI Kyah, 7. CORREIA Joshua, 5. LAZAREVSKI Danny, 19. BROOKS Ben, 27. BARBAROVSKI Bailey, 46. MITROVSKI Brendan
Substitutes: 60. CHARLSTON Jake (VESCIO 67’), 14. FLANAGAN Jeremy (YAMADA 77’), 31. HALES Aaron (MAKOWSKI 77’), 9. DARJANI Thomas (MITROVSKI 46’), 17. BOUTOUBIA Jacob, 15. CUNZOLO Daniel
Yellow Cards: Brendan Mitrovski 23’, Kyah Jovanovski 25’, Joshua Correia 78’
Red Cards: Dion Shaw 66’
Date: Sunday 21 May 2023
Venue: Terry Reserve, Albion Park
Referee: Ethan Zvargulis
Assistant Referees: Mick Agim and Joel Nees
Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_
Photos courtesy of Richie Wagner