They achieved their goal of a play-off spot but South Coast Wolves were unable to extend their season beyond the first weekend of the NSW Premier League finals following yesterday's 2-1 loss to Blacktown City at Crehan Park.
The fourth-placed Wolves finished five points clear of Blacktown but were beaten for a third time by the 2010 champions, who led 2-0 at half-time and also missed a first-half penalty.
Wolves goalkeeper Daniel Collison saved a penalty earned and taken by Travis Major in the opening 20 minutes, but Blacktown City quickly put the miss behind them when Adam Jenner scored with a drive from the edge of the penalty box.
With a strong breeze at the visitors’ backs, Zac Cairncross doubled the lead just before half-time.
But South Coast coach Richard Lloyd - deputising for Trevor Morgan, who is in Vietnam as an assistant to Paul Okon for the Young Socceroos - instilled self-belief into the home side during the break.
Just three minutes into the second half and the Wolves were back in the contest after a sublime finish from mid-season loan signing Ricky Zucco.
It was Zucco’s ninth goal in just 11 games since his move from Illawarra Premier League side Tarrawanna and the Wolves will surely be desperate to make the transfer permanent in the off-season.
From there the Wolves created several chances, with Zucco a prominent contributor, but were unable to snatch an equaliser.
‘‘It’s disappointing to go out at the first hurdle but we’re a young squad and it was a massive achievement to finish fourth and make the finals,’’ Wolves skipper Jacob Timpano said.
‘‘It wasn’t the way we wanted to finish but play-offs are a bit of a lottery and maybe a little bit of inexperience showed.
‘‘We spoke about keeping it tight into the wind and it was almost worth a two-goal advantage. But once we got that early goal from Rick, a great finish, we were back in it.
‘‘We had a load of chances but that’s the way it goes.’’
Timpano hasn’t finalised his plans for next season, but wants to be part of a club which has improved significantly in 2012.
‘‘If I am playing in the NSW Premier League next season this is where I want to be,’’ he said.
Lloyd has been appointed the replacement to Morgan who will be the Youth Team coach of new A-League franchise West Sydney.