Sydney United 58 won its fourth match in a row after second half goals from Chris Payne and Panny Nikas helped the Reds to a 2-0 victory over Wollongong Wolves at Sydney United Sports Centre.
After a battling opening forty five minutes, Payne slammed home a Nikas cutback to put Jason Culina’s side ahead on the hour mark before the mercurial midfielder made sure of the victory with his fifth of the season on the stroke of full time.
The win pushes Culina’s Reds into second place on the competition ladder with second-placed Sydney Olympic and third-placed Blacktown City meeting at Belmore later on Sunday afternoon.
Having opened the campaign with two back to back losses the performance over Wollongong will bolster confidence around Edensor Park with the side set to take on strugglers Hakoah Sydney City East and Bonnyrigg White Eagles in the next fortnight.
The defeat will be a tough one for the visiting Wolves side to swallow with Jacob Timpano’s men receiving their fair share of goal scoring opportunities throughout the 90 minutes despite losing three players to injury before the stroke of half time.
The Reds gloveman’s best of the night arrived in the opening minutes where a frenetic start to the match saw both sides’ trade early blows.
Fresh from his late winner against Hakoah Sydney City East last Sunday afternoon, Wolves frontman Peter Simonoski forced Manos into a superb acrobatic save early on after collecting Yuzo Tashiro’s knock down on the volley.
Nikas squandered the best chance of the half for the hosts’ minutes later when he sprayed a rebound wide from six yards after Matt Sim’s curler bounced back off the post.
The United 58 skipper was then denied by the woodwork after lashing a swerving effort from outside the box against the crossbar.
Tashiro continued to keep Manos busy at the conclusion of the first half but Timpano’s side should’ve broken the deadlock 10 minutes into the second when defender Darcy Madden saw his effort blocked on the line by Adrian Vlastelica after a corner.
Minutes later Manos came to the rescue again to parry Wolves attacker Josh Macdonald’s near post snapshot.
And the Wolves were punished for their missed chances when Payne slammed in his fourth effort of the campaign into an empty net after being found by Nikas’ clever cutback.
The visitors continued to push for an equalizing goal late on and saw Simonovski denied a penalty shout after a collision with Tomoki Menda on the edge of the box, before Nikas sealed the three points with a cool finish on the breakaway.
Sydney United 58 2 (Payne 64’, Nikas 90’)
Wollongong Wolves 0
Saturday 14th of April, 2018
Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park
Referee: S Lucas
Assistant referee: J Adabjou S Quinn
Fourth Official: S Carwardine
Sydney United 58: 9. Patrick Antelmi (7. Mohammad Rahimi 87’), 2. Cristian Gonzalez (15. Tomoki Menda 72’), 21. Thomas Manos, 20. Peter Markovic, 23. Panagiotis Nikas, 6. Christopher Payne, 11. Yianni Perkatis, 3. Jordan Roberts, 8. Matthew Sim, 5. Anthony Tomelic (18. Glen Trifiro 46’), 4. Adrian Vlastelica
Substitutes not used: 1. John Hall, 13. Sam Perre
Yellow cards: Nikas 67’
Red cards: N/A
Wollongong Wolves: 5. James Baldacchino, 17. Ryan Ensor (2. Taylor Mcdonald 35’), 23. Steven Hayes (8. Brendan Griffin, 32’), 10. Joshua Macdonald, 3. Darcy Madden, 6. Nicholas Montgomery, 40. Takuya Nozawa, 1. Justin Pasfield, 4. Michael Robinson, 9. Peter Simonoski, 30. Yuzo Tashiro (21. Caoimhin Fowler 45’)
Substitutes not used: 16. Luke Kairies
Yellow cards: N/A
Red cards: N/A
3 – Nikas (SU58)
2 – Manos (SU58)
1 – Vlastelica (SU58)
-By National Premier Leagues reporter Jacob Windon