Match Report- 9th May, 2015.
United Shatter Sharks Hearts with 94th Minute Equaliser:
By Amateur Reporter.
On a prefect afternoon for football, sun shining and a slight breeze Wollongong United came to Ocean Park with plenty of confidence. They had started the season with two wins a draw and a loss, with a couple of games in hand due to recent wet weather. The Sharks without a point to their name were looking to find some form after struggling in recent weeks.
From the kick off United’s confidence was known and the Sharks were on the back foot early into the match, but poor finishing and good defence from the sharks kept United at bay. In the 14th minute a swift attacking raid from midfield by the sharks saw United’s defence retreating and the Sharks winning a corner. The Sharks were here to play.
Immediately after that a Wollongong United attack was spoiled by Brad Jardine who was forced into a great save after a nice attacking play.
In the 20th Minute the sharks pressed forward from midfield with a nice piece of play stringing together multiple passes and resulting in a shot on target by Chris Gibson with the United keeper up to the task with a textbook save. Not long after, Gibson was in the middle of the action again, this time with a superb left foot rocket that whizzed in off the right hand upright to give the Sharks the lead after a flurry of passes in a well worked move.
With the Sharks ahead United’s frustration showed with a few errors and unfinished passes then referee showing a yellow card to the United striker for failing to retreat after an offside play and some smart tactics from Lachlan Fetterplace. With the Sharks on top, one of United’s superstar imports dug deep into his bag of tricks trying a spectacular overhead flick, but the Sharks defence wasn’t to be fooled and stuck strong.
A few minutes before half time with some nice lead up play, Cameron Banks found the visitors vulnerable and his well-placed strike hit the back of the net. However, his goal was disallowed for being offside which was very marginal to the disappointment of Sharkie’s fans.
Both teams headed to the sheds for half time with the Woonona side full of confidence at the break.
Woonona came out after the break full of running and Ryan Emerton directing midfield had his shot hit over the bar. Shortly after United took offence to the Sharks physical defence, something which has lacked in the previous outings and tempers reached boiling point with some push and shove. The Referee had his work cut out and separated opposing players.
This seemed to fire United up who sprung to action and found the Sharks defence napping with a well taken free kick after a foul outside the 18 yard box, the ball just sailed through virtually untouched providing the equaliser.
In the 64th minute after some fancy lead up play, Woonona gained a free kick on the edge of the box. With numerous Sharks players over the ball a cracking right footed shot rocketed over the wall and onto the top left apex of the United’s goal with the keeper well and truly beaten. The Sharks regained possession and the follow up shot was wide.
What followed was some end to end action from both sides, with neither team really threatening their opponent’s goal.
In the 70th minute against the run of play, United came close to taking the lead but a brilliant one on one save by Jardine was enough to deny the visitors with an opportunity. The Sharks composed themselves and started knocking the ball around to dominate the midfield. The dominance was confirmed in the 80thminute when Banks put himself within range after a nicely slipped pass and fired home what was certain to be the match winner. The home supporters erupted with joy as it had been a long time between drinks and a sniff of winning really revved them up.
The Sharks played the final minutes of the game keeping possession, and playing for time to be up.
As the clock ticked past the 90th minute a Woonona victory seemed obvious but with one final attacking raid by United the ball was sent out for a corner. With the clock ticking, from the corner, the ball was whipped into the box, a goal mouth scramble followed and somehow the ball hit the back of the net shattering the hearts of the Sharks players and the local supporters.
The game ending in a 2 all draw. It was a much improved effort from the Woonona side that in recent weeks have struggled but will take todays result as a positive moving forward. Wollongong United will have to thank their lucky stars to have salvaged a point but keep their heads high after a less than dominate performance.
In Round 8, the Sharks are at home to South Coast United on Saturday 16th May.