Wagga City Wanderers welcome back exciting midfielder Adrien Jolly as they look to close out their State League Two season with a bang at Gissing Oval on Saturday.
After a draw and a win in their last two games, coach Blaise Fagan is promising positive, attacking soccer against Prospect United.
“We let last week slip,” Fagan said, of the 2-all draw against University of NSW, when the opposition equalised twice in the last 11 minutes.
“They know they butchered it. It would’ve been nice to finish with three wins.”
The Wanderers can’t avoid the wooden spoon but could have a say in the make-up of the finals as Prospect need a win to potentially grab fourth spot.
Earlier in the season Wagga lost 2-1 to Prospect in Sydney, and will be looking to settle the score on Saturday.
“They’re a very solid side but they’ll be worried coming down here,” Fagan said.
“When we played them last time, we dominated that game more than they expected and I’d like to think we’ve tightened the ship and are leaking less goals.”
After their first eight games of the season, the Wanderers had a goal difference of minus 25.
In the back half of the season, the goal difference has reduced to minus nine, as the league newcomers had their first win and two draws.
Youth grade players have been the backbone of the team with teenage midfielder Max Lysaght exemplifying Wagga’s improvement. He earned three first grade starts after impressing the coach with his maturity.
“With Max, the improvement has been incredible,” Fagan said.
“He did an outstanding job on Saturday in the centre of midfield, I was dead chuffed.”
Lysaght’s eyes light up when he talks about being a part of the Wanderers’ inaugural season.
“It’s just the biggest experience,” he said.
The intensity and speed in first grade has been an eye opener for the Henwood Park junior but he’s also learning to cope with intimidation tactics.
“They all try to push me on the ball. They get frustrated if they can’t beat me and they go, ‘Oh, look at the size of this kid, how can’t I beat him?’”
Lysaght is looking forward to the return of Jolly who has been an inspiration to his younger teammates.
“He’s brilliant. It’s hard to explain, he’s like a French version of Messi. He’s amazing.”
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