Monday, 12 August 2019

Season Over – SFC NPL Team 1-3 Sydney Olympic

It is season over in 2019 for Sydney Olympic, as an inconsistent and at time frustrating year wrapped up at Lambert Park on Sunday Afternoon, as we defeated the SFC NPL Team in the final regular season game.

Quickly on this particular match at Lambert Park, it seemed like all the air was let out of the place before a ball was even kicked. Everybody was aware of what needed to happen, what needed to go our way, for us to make the Top 5 and play Finals Football but you’d have to say, not many were optimistic it was going to happen.

Anyway, we held up our end of the bargain as we dominated the match from start to finish. Inside the first 5 minutes we had opened the scoring through Jack Stewart. Not long after this we made it 2-0 as Alejandro Sanchez finished off well, breaking his goal scoring drought in the process. Not long after this, the opposition fluked a goal back totally against the run of play and at the half-time break we were leading 2-1.

Midway through the second-half, Alejandro Sanchez got his 2nd goal of the afternoon, following some nice work from Jinya An, one of our best players all season, who crossed it for him to finish and make the score 3-1.

That is how the score remained at full-time, the positive was we ended the season with a victory, the negative was hearing that Sydney United had beaten Manly by the same score-line across town. Meaning it was season over.

You would have to say that overall, this season has been a failure and a massive disappointment for all concerned, supporters, players, coaches, board, given we were Champions last season and we could not back it up this season.

No doubt that this season, injuries have played their part in wrecking it. But, after that poor start to the season, we were chasing our own tails for the rest of it and it is just too even of a competition, to be having to play catch-up for most of it.

The World’s longest off season now begins, there is plenty of time between now and the time the next season begins, which will be some time next March, to get things right at least on the pitch.

For sure, several players will be on their way out, if not already gone and several others will be coming into the squad, we will just have to wait and see who they end up being and lets all cross our fingers that the club brings in the right players.

We all hope that someone other than Stevie Wonder will be in charge of recruiting during the off-season.

A lot of question marks remain both on and off the pitch for Sydney Olympic.

In the Club Championship the 18s won 3-1 and the 20s lost 2-0. We have ended up in 6th place. Thankfully, starting from next year, the Club Championship will no longer count as part of any promotion or relegation.

For the Sydney Olympic women’s team, they lost 1-0 to the Northern Tigers in their Semi-Final, but by virtue of finishing 2nd during the regular season, they will have another chance this weekend. They will play the Illawarra Stingrays in an Elimination Final on Sunday.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Sydney Olympic 2-1 Sydney United

Sydney Olympic kept its slim Finals hopes alive yesterday, after recording a gutsy come from behind, 2-1 victory over rivals Sydney United on Sunday Afternoon, at Belmore Sports Ground.

We started the match off well and had a couple of great chances to open the scoring, but once again, we could not capitalise on our good build up play. As has been the case many times this season, after we fail to put away our chances, we were once again sucker punched on the break. An opposition player was put through on goal, it was questionable whether or not he was actually onside, but nevertheless, we were punished on the half-hour mark and were now down 1-0. We tried hard to get back into the game during the closing stages of the first-half, but it was not to be and at half-time we were down 1-0.

Fortunately, we did not have to wait too long in the second-half to get back on level terms. As 5 minutes in, substitute Jack Stewart was found inside the box, before slotting the ball away to bring us level at 1-1. 5 minutes after our equaliser, we turned the match on its head as we were fouled inside the box and earned a penalty, Jason Madonis stepped up and put it away with ease to put us into a 2-1 lead. It was a lead that we would not relinquish and it was a well-deserved 3 points.

Coincidentally, this match signified the first time this season, where we were able to overturn a deficit after trailing at half-time.

It was a good performance, a well-deserved victory and it keeps our slim hopes of making the Top 5 alive.

Next week is the final regular season game of the season, against Sydney FC’s NPL team, on Sunday Afternoon August 11, at Lambert Park, Kick-Off is at 3pm.

For us to make the Top 5, a couple of things need to happen:

- Firstly we must take care of business and beat Sydney FC’s NPL team at Lambert Park on Sunday and;
- Somehow hope that Manly, who have nothing to play for next week, either beat or at least get a draw away at Sydney United. Highly unlikely.

There has been much talk, that Paul Henderson will hang up the boots at the end of this season, if true, he has been a magnificent servant for the club. Only 5 players have played more matches for Sydney Olympic and he has won 2 Championships and 2 Minor Premierships with the club.

This reason alone, should ensure plenty of Sydney Olympic Supporters head out to Lambert Park on Sunday.

In the Club Championship the 18s lost 1-0 and the 20s won 3-0.

On the women’s side of things, they lost to the NWS Koalas 3-2 on the weekend, but after the 22 Rounds they managed to finish 2nd on the ladder and will play Finals this year, in their 1st season in the NPL 1 competition. Well Done.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Sydney Olympic 0-1 Marconi

Sydney Olympic is limping to a meek surrender of its NSW Championship. As a poor season was compounded even further, by losing to an anti-football Marconi side on Sunday Afternoon at Belmore Sports Ground.

We are entering territory where we now don’t have matters in our own hands and we start needing “favours” and “results to go our way elsewhere” to even make the Top 5, play Finals and defend our Championship. Which all things considered, is very unlikely to occur anyway.

I will not be going through all the same issues and wasting everybody’s time, especially about things that I have been posting about all season, as it is getting all too repetitive, I’m sure. Most people who have eyes and who have either been to matches or watched the games on the internet throughout the year, know and understand what has been dished up this season.

Offensively, none of our supposed strikers have scored in any of the last 6 rounds. Obviously, relying on your midfielders and defenders to score your goals every match, is going to bring you nothing, and get you nowhere.

Defensively, we haven’t conceded this many goals (31) since season 2010, when we finished a pathetic 2nd last. Bear in mind that there are still 2 rounds to go though, so there is ample time to match the 40 we copped that year.

What a difference 12 months makes, we can’t score and can’t defend now and the doom and gloom times have returned.

We were on a hiding to nothing from the get go. Everybody involved at the club have dropped the ball. I’m not sure what went through their minds at the end of last year, we just rock up in 2019 and everything just happens like magic again?

Did they really think that was how it was going to play out?

Don’t bring in any new faces, don’t replace the talent that left in the off-season, don’t sign anyone of note, then sign players who are duds who were way passed it.

Good plan.

We got what we deserved in 2019 and that’s nothing. Not to mention the Cup run we had this season, where it was as if we were trying very hard to get ourselves knocked out by some random park teams at the earliest point possible.

People at the club instead have been too busy running around discussing frivolous things like alleged National 2nd divisions and chasing agreements concerning some sort of phantom promotion and relegation to the a-league.

I only speak for myself here, others may agree or disagree, but I couldn’t care less about any of it, our focus should be fixing our own problems and getting our own house in order, both on and off the field.

Speaking of which, there has still been no official communication from the club over the Tempe debacle. Where’s the transparency? Whatever happened to those CEO updates?

The official end to the season can’t come quickly enough.

In the Club Championship the 18s won 2-1 and the 20s won 2-0.

Next week is our final home match of the season, our home record in 2019 reads:
4 losses, 3 draws, 3 wins, with 1 of those home wins coming at Lambert Park in the match that was moved against Hakoah in Round 15, so it is 2 wins at home at Belmore this season. Disgraceful.

Next week: Sydney Olympic v Sydney United, Sunday Afternoon, August 4, Kick-Off is at 4pm.

On the women’s side of things, they have done very well in their first season in NPL 1. They are sitting in 2nd place, after a 1-0 win over the Northern Tigers on the weekend. In the final round, they face NWS Koalas at Peter Moore Field this Sunday, Kick-Off is at 3pm. 

Monday, 22 July 2019

APIA Leichhardt 3-1 Sydney Olympic

Sydney Olympic blew a chance to cement a Top 5 position on Sunday Afternoon, falling to what was a fairly unimpressive APIA Leichhardt side at Lambert Park. Sure, APIA have been and are a very good side once again this season, but they did not play in a manner which signified anything close to being levels above us or even dominant against us in the match yesterday.

In the first-half we were the better side, but that isn’t really anything to get excited about, as both sides were not that great. Even still, we managed to create a few openings, but when we did get ourselves in a position to have a shot at goal, our players preferred instead, to try and be cute and lay it off for someone else, instead of having a go themselves, this was all inside the box mind you. This cost us a few times during the first-half yesterday.

As is standard practice in this sport, if you fail to take your chances, the opposition goes down the other end and punishes you and that’s what happened. APIA hit us with a sucker-punch of a goal, when they really didn’t look threatening at all up to that point and at half-time we were down 1-0.

The opening stages of the second-half can only be described as a circus and cost us from getting anything from the match.

Firstly, everybody stood around as APIA walked the play inside our box, their shot was initially well saved but the ball rebounded flukily off the APIA player and nestled in the back of our net. Secondly, the same APIA player decided he was going to try his luck and swan dive inside the box as if he had been bowled over by a hurricane, the referee who was a prick all match decided yep, that’s a penalty. APIA converted the penalty and we were all of the sudden down 3-0 and the match was effectively all over.

We pulled a goal back but the players and the fans, never believed we could perform any miracles and thus ended a disappointing day, a 3-1 loss and a near fatal blow to our season.

The players could not overcome their poor display, especially the period between the last 10 minutes of the first-half and first 10 minutes of the second-half, the lack of concentration in that time killed us, but also they were never going to overcome that cheat of a referee which is what he was.

I’ve seen enough sport personally to notice a Championship let down season when I see one. The 2018 season swelled the heads of several players and many simply do not give a toss this season, which is sad to see.

The lack of motivation yesterday and all season has been extremely disheartening. One swallow doesn’t make a summer, as they say.

The board must take its share of the blame also, they simply did not rejuvenate the team at all. Other than losing Max Burgess, the squad is pretty much the same as last year. Standing still and resting on our laurels was never going to get us anywhere in 2019, we had to freshen up the squad and the few signings they did make, have been positively horrendous, atrocious, shocking.

We lauded the coach last year and rightly so, but this year he has to take his share of the blame and he showed that he could not adapt to a new season and a change in circumstances.

In the Club Championship, the 18s won for the first time in a long time, 2-0, and in the 20s we lost 2-0.

Next week is absolutely the last roll of the dice, it’s must win now, as we take on Marconi next Sunday Afternoon July 28, at Belmore Sports Ground, Kick-Off is at 4pm.

As for the First Grade women’s team, they smashed the Newcastle Jets 5-0 on Sunday and moved into 2nd spot on the NPL 1 ladder. Next Sunday Afternoon they travel to face the Northern Tigers, Kick-Off at 3.30pm.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Manly United 1-2 Sydney Olympic

Sydney Olympic have kept their season alive for another week, after coming away with a very important and much needed victory, away to an always difficult Manly United side on Sunday Afternoon.

It was an intriguing first-half and had the feeling of a Finals match, given how desperate both sides were. We played OK throughout, but there was not too much to get excited about during that first-half. We did manage to create a few openings but we did not create many clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities. Defensively we were also fairly solid, snuffing out any Manly attacks.

In the second-half it would be a different story, as we witnessed 2 goal of the season contenders from a player in Nikola Kuleski, who just does not do tap-ins.

The first goal was a 30 metre volley giving the Manly goalkeeper no chance. The second goal was a great freekick which once again beat the Manly goalkeeper, who simply had no chance once again.

In between these 2 bombs, Manly equalised, with one of my personally most hated goals to concede. A cross come shot which alluded every player on the field, bounced inside the box, confusing the goalkeeper in the process, to find the back of our net.

There was some nervous moments near the end as Manly aggressively chased an equaliser, but we managed to hold on to record an important victory.

We somehow find ourselves still alive this season by virtue of every other side also being crazily inconsistent, bar the top 3 sides in Wollongong, APIA Leichhardt and Blacktown City.

The win over Hakoah a few weeks ago, which was nothing to write home about performance wise, was a turning point for this team. With 4 rounds remaining we are in with a chance of defending our Championship.

In the Club Championship, the 18s lost 1-0, and in the 20s we won 1-0.

An update on former player George Timotheou, who played with us last season and then was transferred to Schalke in Germany. After spending most of the last season playing for the Schalke reserves, he managed to feature in a few Schalke 1st team matchday squads and even played in the 1st team late in the season. He has recently been sold to Belgian side Zulte Waregem, where he will continue his career and we wish him the best of luck.

Whether Sydney Olympic has inserted any on-sale clauses or anything of that sort, nobody knows and it remains to be seen.

Next week is a bye round as a result of the Waratah Cup Final taking place. So we are next back in action in 2 weeks time, on Sunday Afternoon, July 21, a huge match away to old rivals APIA Leichhardt at Lambert Park, Kick-Off is at 3.30pm.

As for the First Grade women’s team, they beat the Bankstown Lions 2-1 on Sunday Afternoon to remain in 3rd spot on the ladder in NPL 1. Next Sunday Afternoon they themselves head to Cromer Park to face Manly United, this Sunday, Kick-Off at 3pm.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Wollongong Wolves 2-0 Sydney Olympic

The win last week against Hakoah, was merely a momentary blip of hope, on the disaster that has been Sydney Olympic’s 2019 season. The club has not handled the pressure of having to defend a title and everything else is starting to come apart at the seams, even the respect for the supporters. I will get to that later.

In the first-half against Wollongong, we more than held our own and had a couple of really good opportunities to take the lead but once again, as has been the case for us all season, we failed to fire where it matters, in the front third. The opposition for all their huff and puff and reputation, only had 1 good chance in the first-half. So at half-time, we went in with the score at 0-0 and had hopes we could do something special in the second-half.

The second-half though, started in the worst possible fashion, as we copped a cheap soft goal once again almost straight from the kick-off, when there was no danger at all for us defensively. We once again panicked and we were punished.

We picked ourselves up and started to play OK, we once again had chances but it was not to be as at the other end, we conceded another cheap goal near the end of the match to succumb to yet another loss. We have only won once in nearly 2 months now. Shocking stuff.

With all the lauding about the Wollongong Wolves this season and the usual clownery of clueless people coming out of the woodwork to proclaim they “should be in the a-league”, after 1 good season in 10 years. The fact is they are very average, they won’t win the Grand Final and are very likely to pull a Blacktown Spartans from a few years ago. Overrated, Big Time.

For Sydney Olympic, we gave away more cheap goals on Sunday and in all honesty, we should never have lost that game. But a certain softness has creeped into this team, which was nowhere to be seen last season, this team is mentally soft.

The less said about what happened at full-time the better. All parties let their emotions get the better of them, but let it be known to those on the board, the coaching staff and those on the playing field, this season has not been good enough, wake up to yourselves and respect the fans who spend their time and hard earned money to drive to places like Wollongong in the rain, to support the team.

Respect the supporters. Telling them to “fuck off”, “do you know who I am” and “I will see you outside”, will only get you what you are after, and that’s a flogging.

The season is as good as over now, this is not about me being a pessimist or whatever, this is a fact. If the club and board had any football nous or smarts, they would be making hard decisions now, getting a jump on the rest of the competition who are still fighting hard this season and start planning for 2020.

Settle on who you want as coach now, leave sentiment out of that decision as it is a big one to make and get all your recruitment done nice and early and dump the players, who have proven to be a) not good enough, b) not playing for the shirt and c) have their best years behind them.

This season has been a total write-off and as disgraceful of an attempt at a defence of a title, as I have seen anywhere in any sport for some time.

I’m not sure what bringing in Riley Woodcock with 5 games to go was meant to achieve either, leave it a bit later why don’t you.

In the Club Championship, the 18s lost 1-0, and in the 20s they drew 1-1.

Our next match is against the Rockdale Kleftes, Sunday June 30 at Belmore Sports Ground. Here’s the players chance to show some balls and do something good for the fans this season. Kick-Off is at 4pm.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Sydney Olympic 1-0 Hakoah Sydney City-East

We all rejoice in the experience and feeling of winning a match for the first time since we beat Marconi away, on May the 4th, 43 days ago for those who are counting. It wasn’t pretty, but the 3 points are what counts and hopefully we can mount some sort of a charge, in the final 7 rounds of the season.

The match, a home match for Sydney Olympic, had to be moved from Belmore Sports Ground after the downpour on Sunday Morning. Meaning we had to go to Lambert Park in Leichhardt on Sunday, a Lambert Park that now has a condemned grandstand, so even less people can actually go there these days.

I don’t think many people minded, as Lambert Park has always been a happy hunting ground for Sydney Olympic and in contrast, our home record at Belmore this season has pretty much been abysmal.

As you would expect from a match featuring 2 teams who are struggling and down on confidence, the first 5-10 minutes of the match didn’t begin with any great tempo or enthusiasm as both sides sussed each other out. Soon enough though, we got ourselves into the match and would from then on dominate proceedings.

Around 15 minutes into the match our quality showed as William Angel made a nice run down the right and then crossed it into the box, where Peter Kekeris made no mistake to finish from close range, to put us 1-0 up.

For the rest of the first-half we were in the ascendancy and had a couple of really good chances to extend our lead, but as has been the case this season, our finishing let us down.

The second-half was a bit more nervy and would be, so long as the score remained only at 1-0. Hakoah who are really struggling this season, didn’t really pose us too many problems defensively. Here and there they would mount an attack but we managed to snuff it out pretty quickly.

Our play was improving compared to recent weeks and we had yet, more chances during the second-half to put the game away for good, but again, the final product was just not there.

There was a massive sigh of relief at the full-time whistle, as we picked up a vital 3 points and finally got back into the winners circle.

That victory puts a significant gap between us and Hakoah in the Club Championship standings now and barring some sort of unmitigated disaster, we should do enough to avoid being relegated.

It was also only our 2nd clean sheet of the season, ironically, the only other one coming in our 1-0 victory over Hakoah earlier in the season. They must really be struggling.

Quickly on what I wrote last week about Tempe, nothing has been refuted by anyone at the club, you can draw your own conclusions from that. Added further intrigue, was the fact that the CEO in an interview he gave last week to NEOS KOSMOS, mentioned nothing of it, I don’t think he was asked, instead the interview focused on Sydney Olympic being interested or involved in some sort of phantom future National 2nd division.

In the Club Championship, the 18s and 20s were postponed for another day.

Our next match is a difficult one, down in Wollongong against the Wollongong Wolves, who have been scoring for fun all season and lead the competition by a good margin. Sunday June 23 at WIN Stadium in Wollongong. Kick-Off is at 3pm.