Sydney FC Academy secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Wollongong Wolves on Friday night, with a late penalty from Clayton Taylor proving decisive in stoppage time.
Despite the challenging conditions caused by a storm before the game and a halt to proceedings midway through the second half due to lightning, Sydney FC were able to be resilient and come away with the victory after great performances across the park.
17-year-old Zane Schreiber was outstanding in midfield, earning the man of the match award for his efforts in what was a tough contest. Meanwhile, 18-year-old centre back Hayden Matthews had an exceptional performance at the back, making a crucial clearance at 2-1 with only minutes to go in the game.
Alen Harbas, aged 19, scored his sixth goal of the season, with 19-year-old Matthew Scarcella providing the assist for the goal. Scarcella also made a significant impact off the bench, playing on the right-hand side instead of his usual central position. Clayton Taylor, also 19, won and scored the decisive penalty in injury time, proving to be very effective in the second half.
The game also saw 17-year-old Bailey Callaghan making his first NPL start off the back of his goal last weekend against St George. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Dylan Rose made his NPL debut off the bench, coming on in midfield late in the second half. This marks the fourth 16-year-old debut for Sydney FC Academy, with Tiago Quintal, Gus Hoefsloot, and Mitchell Glasson making their NPL debuts earlier this season.
Post match, Sydney FC coach Jimmy van Weeren credited the win to his sides winning mentality.
“We had more than enough chances to win the game, the boys showed a lot of resilience at the death.
“Adam Pavlesic made some good saves, but we’ve got a winning mentality. Hayden Matthews made a real nice block at the end there and there was some real good desperation showed late in the game.”
Unfortunately, the U20s game was postponed due to the field flooding during the storm before the NPL match.
Watch all Sydney FC Academy Fixtures on NPL.TV