United coach rues one that got away


Wollongong United coach Oliver Vrtkovski said his players were disappointed they didn't claim all three points despite playing with 10 men for most of their 2-2 draw with Wollongong Olympic.

The Reds played for close to an hour of Saturday's clash without Brendan Reilly, who was dismissed for allegedly using foul language.

But while they failed to have the numbers advantage, United came back from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 with 15 minutes left at PCYC.

Julian Minutillo eventually squared the ledger with his second of the match in the 79th minute but Vrtkovski believes the point could very well have been more.

"Even after the result, there was a fair bit of disappointment with how the game turned out.

"It was our own defensive errors that cost us goals so the boys. Although we got away with a good point, in all honesty we were all disappointed that we didn't take all three," he said.

Olympic opened the scoring when Minutillo pounced on the first of United's errors, from goalkeeper Sam Nastic.

Midway through the half, the match was turned on its head when Reilly was given his marching orders.

United showed they were up for the fight in the second half when they scored twice in less than five minutes to get the lead.

First, Gavin O'Brien handled the ball in the box for Robbie Shields to fire the ball home.

Then, in the 60th minute, the ball found it's way to Billy Tsovolos in the six-yard box to give United an unlikely advantage.

Minutillo again made a nuisance of himself and levelled the scores.

The striker wove into the box and lashed in a ferocious strike past the hands of Nastic.

Olympic’s Mark Picciolini and United’s Brendan Reilly battle for the ball.  Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Olympic’s Mark Picciolini and United’s Brendan Reilly battle for the ball. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

United hit the post and had a goal disallowed in the final minutes and had to be satisfied with the draw.

"They pulled together, they lifted and I think they all grew a foot taller," Vrtkovski said.

"It means a lot when you are playing in such tough conditions with a lot going against you."

In other matches, Tarrawanna and Woonona had a scoreless draw at Ocean Park. Saturdays fixtures were washed out.


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