NSW NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUE
If the South Coast Wolves had any illusions of a fairytale return to WIN Stadium they were quickly dispelled by Blacktown City on Sunday.
In their first match back at the beachside venue, the Wolves were taught a footballing lesson in a 5-0 loss.
Only some impressive saves from Daniel Collison and an at times wastefulness City attack kept the scoreline from increasing further.
After a massive build-up to the clash, Wolves coach Richard Lloyd was at a loss to explain his side’s performance.
‘‘Huge disappointment after all the build-up for playing here and all the training sessions we have had,’’ Lloyd said.
‘‘To turn that sort of performance in was pretty hard to swallow. I think a few boys were over-awed by the experience.’’
City captain Travis Major caused all kinds of problems for the Wolves’ defence on his way to a brace of goals.
The visitors had rocketed out of the blocks, scoring their opening goal in just the 13th minute.
Ryuji Miyazawa was given too much space at the back post and fired his header into the net.
By half-time City were almost out of sight, with goals to Zac Cairncross and Major giving them a 3-0 lead.
Just when the Wolves looked to be working their way into the game in the second half, a mistimed cross from Matt Lewis looped its way into the net to make it 4-0.
With the match winding down, the Wolves’ defensive frailties were again exposed as Major rounded out the scoring after linking up with substitute Danny Choi.
‘‘We came up against a very good team in Blacktown who played the ball well, switched play from side to side and we just weren’t on our game,’’ Lloyd said after the match.
‘‘We got carved up to be honest.’’
The most alarming statistic for Lloyd will be the five goals conceded.
South Coast had difficulties at the back in their last campaign, but Lloyd believes injuries played a role in Sunday’s disappointing display.
‘‘Losing Steve Hayes as one of our main midfielders and trying to replace him is difficult at this time,’’ Lloyd said.
‘‘We tried a few things. We had Jack Keating missing today and young Aaron Baker I think did quite well and was not assisted by some of the boys around him.
‘‘He was left on his own devices for quite some time there.
‘‘We have to get ourselves together for next week and get back on the straight and narrow against Sutherland.’’
Next week’s match with the Sharks will have an added edge to it after Sutherland were given a lesson of their own in a 6-1 loss to Blacktown Spartans.