A superb performance from Marcus Beattie guided the Wolves to a hard-fought 5-3 victory over Sydney FC on Sunday night.
Beattie - on return from suspension - mustered a brace as the Wolves showed off their attacking prowess in a high-scoring NSW NPL affair at Illenden Sports Centre.
Beattie's teammates Nav Dajarni, Lachlan Scott and Daniel Loe also found the back of the net, while Patrick Wood managed a double and Jordan Swibel scored a goal for the sky blues.
Wood scored Sydney FC's opening goal in the 10th minute, before the Wolves responded soon after through Beattie. In the end, two first-half goals in the space of minutes - from Dajarni and Scott - proved the difference. Both teams scored two goals apiece in the second half.
The result continues the Wolves' recent dominance over Sydney FC, winning their past four contests. It was Wollongong's third victory of the season and the second in the past month.
"It was important that we got the three points. The performance was good, but obviously I was pretty disappointed with some of the goals we conceded," Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire said.
"But it was good to see us scoring goals. I think young Nav Dajarni has come in and done well, he's created a few goals and scored himself a great goal. And it's a good performance for the boys' confidence going forward.
"I think we were more aggressive, but still, it was a disappointing start going a goal down. It's like we have to go a goal down before we start to play. But it was a good performance and we'll look to build on that."
However, the sky blues were confident heading into Sunday night's game, with their outfit featuring A-League squad members Callum Talbot, Luke Ivanovic, Wood and Patrick Yazbek.
And while the visitors looked positive early, it was Sydney FC who scored first on the counter-attack in the 10th minute, with Wood finishing off a nice team movement.
The Wolves nearly had an immediate reply after a nice cross from Loe found Scott's head, but the captain's shot was just wide of the mark.
However, they didn't have to wait long to make amends. From a corner, the ball was headed into the back of the net by Beattie off a deflection from Sydney FC gloveman Adam Pavlesic as the visitors drew level at 1-1 in the 14th minute.
Dajarni nearly gave the Wolves the lead minutes later, but Pavlesic dived low to make a big save. Minutes later, Wolves goalkeeper Hayden Durose had to make an athletic save to deny Ivanovic.
In the 33rd minute, Scott nearly capitalised on a Sydney FC error at the back, but his powerful shot was well stopped by Pavlesic.
The Wolves continued to press hard and were rewarded, with Scott teeing up a through-ball for Dajarni who made no mistake, giving his side a 2-1 advantage in the 36th minute.
Minutes later, the Wolves again made the most of a Sydney FC defensive error, leading to Scott drilling the ball into the back of the net.
In the dying minutes, Sydney FC found space on the wing and Jayden Trenkoski put in a dangerous cross, but Madden managed to scramble back and block the ball.
The score remained 3-1 at half time.
The Wolves nearly scored again six minutes into the half when Dajarni's strong strike on the counter-attack was denied by a good Pavlesic. But, from the corner, Dajarni's cross found the head of Loe, who hammered it home to give the Wolves their fourth goal.
However, the visitors' joy was short lived, with Wood firing back immediately for Sydney FC to pull the deficit back to 4-2.
The game continued to ebb and flow in the next 15 minutes, with the Wolves' defence in particular soaking plenty of pressure.
And, finally, the reward came on the counter-attack. A dangerous cross found the head of Beattie, who secured his brace to give the Wolves a 5-2 advantage.
Beattie nearly capped a hat-trick in the 75th minute, but was denied by a good save from Pavlesic.
However, Sydney FC continued to push forward and were rewarded when Jordan Swibel scored off a deflection to pull the margin back to 5-3 in the 87th minute.
It proved to be the final in a pulsating clash, as the Wolves held on for their third victory in 2021.