Saturday, 18 May 2019

Half-Way Point - Sydney Olympic 2-3 Sydney FC NPL

After a good last few weeks, we have returned to the results which we saw and which blighted the early parts of our season. Quite a few should hang their heads after what happened on Friday Night.

No team should have the amount of chances we had and be as dominant as we were and still not come away with the win. It just cannot happen at this level and if you want to be taken seriously in this competition, you just have to beat the lesser teams at home and we have failed to do that during this first-half of the season.

For all the chances we did miss, at least supporters and people watching our matches can sit there and say that we are at least creating them. At the other end of the park it is a totally different story and where our real problems lie this season.

Defensively we have been very very poor. We have one of the worst defensive records in the League this season.

And to compound that fact, at the half-way point of the season (11 rounds) we only have 1 clean sheet in those 11 matches, dreadful reading.

To put this further into numbers, at the half-way point last season we were:

22 goals for and had only 8 goals against in 2018.

At the same point in 2019, we also have scored 22 goals, but we have conceded a whopping 18 goals against.

At the half-way point last season, we were sitting on 9 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss. This season we have 4 wins, 3 draws, 4 losses.

Being realistic, to replicate our first-half of the season performance from 2018, was going to be very difficult to achieve, but the drop off and difference has been huge, and it is not as if we have had a massive turnover of players.

For our defensive efforts to be this bad compared to last year is incomprehensible.

Furthermore, our home record this season so far has also been abysmal. Only 1 win from our first 6 home matches, that is also not good enough, and you can’t expect to be challenging if you do not win most of your home games.

Not sure what can be done to turn this around, the inconsistency is killing our season.

Most supporters would acknowledge that our squad is not as good and not as deep as some other sides in the competition and some even might say, that we just do not have the quality this season.

There is still another 11 matches to go this season, so we will see what is dished up.

For the Club Championship, the U18s drew 2-2 and in the U20s we lost 2-1. A shocking run of results which sees us creep ever closer into a relegation battle that nobody wants.

Some people are scoffing at this possibility, be aware that relegation is calculated not on First Grade standings but via the Club Championship, and if we continue on the road we are on, do not be surprised to see Sydney Olympic in NPL 2 in 2020. Ask Marconi, Melita, Bankstown, St. George, Bonnyrigg, Spartans, Canterbury how fun that experience is.

Our next match is a Round 6 FFA Cup Qualifier against Nepean FC, Tuesday Night May 21, at Cook Park in St. Mary’s. Kick-Off is at 7.30pm.

Our next match in the League is next Saturday Night May 25, against the Sutherland Sharks at Seymour Shaw Park in Miranda, Kick-Off is set for 6.30pm. Hopefully the players are up for it this time and can reverse the embarrassment of the first encounter this season.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Sydney United 1-1 Sydney Olympic

The 116th meeting of Sydney Olympic and Sydney United has ended in a stalemate and should go down in my point of view, as one where we should have added victory number 54 to the wins column. Only some heroics from the opposition goalkeeper, saved them from another defeat.

The first-half can be characterised as a stalemate. We played well during it, kept the ball well, ran hard and looked enthusiastic, but neither us nor they, created any significant goal scoring chances during the first-half.

There were the usual niggling antics from them and they did do their best to try and hack Alejandro Sanchez out of the game. They tried that last season and the great man murdered them. I don’t think they understand that getting him pissed off, doesn’t serve them well.

This should have proven the case once again at the start of the second-half, as we had several absolute golden chances to take the lead. The opposition goalkeeper made a string of crucial saves, while another effort looked destined to go in, but for a last ditch goal-line clearance from them.

Alejandro, Harris Gaitatzis, Jack Stewart, Jinya An all had great chances to open the scoring, but we could not get that all-important goal.

Predictably and only a short time later, the opposition who had nothing up until that point in the second-half, went down the other end via a flukey long range pass and hit us with a sucker-punch of a goal.

In what was a good sign for Sydney Olympic, we did not drop our heads or mope around, instead we quickly went to work for an equaliser.

We did not have to wait long as only a couple minutes later we drew level. A nice pass found Alejandro free behind the defence, who then crossed into Radovan Pavicevic who was free inside the box and he did the rest to bring the score back to 1-1.

We had chances throughout the back end of the second-half to snatch a winner, but it was not to be and we had to settle for a 1-1 result.

If it wasn’t for the opposition goalkeeper having a good day, we would have collected another vital 3 points, but it was not to be.

Overall, we are playing well and starting to get into a groove. We have some vital must win matches over the next couple of weeks so hopefully, our form holds up and we can get the job done over the next little period.

For the Club Championship, the U18s were smashed 6-2 and in the U20s, we were also well beaten 3-0. Another not so great weekend.

We have discovered our opponents for Round 6 of FFA Cup Qualifying, we were drawn to play away against Nepean FC. The match will take place on Tuesday Night May 21, at Cook Park in St. Mary’s. Kick-Off is at 7.30pm.

Our next match is in the League and it is on this Friday Night May 17, at home at Belmore Sports Ground. In what is a must win match against Sydney FC’s NPL team. Kick-Off is at 8pm.

On the women’s side of things, they suffered a rare home loss, going down 2-0 to the Northern Tigers.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Marconi Stallions 1-3 Sydney Olympic

After last round’s much needed victory over APIA Leichhardt, Sydney Olympic has followed that up with a magnificent performance on Saturday Night, by defeating a very good Marconi side, at Marconi Stadium.

The match did not start off on the right foot for Sydney Olympic. As within a couple of minutes of the kick-off, we went 1-0 behind. Thoughts turned to the match played a few weeks ago at Marconi, between Marconi and Sydney United, when Marconi started off similarly and were up 5-0 inside the first 20-odd minutes.

Thankfully, any fears of a repeat of that were put to bed. As 30 seconds after we had conceded, a long ball from the back, found Alejandro Sanchez in space, who finished off brilliantly to restore parity.

After this fast start by both sides, for most of the rest of the first-half, we dominated the play and we well may have scored another 2 or 3 goals but it was not to be. Marconi came back into the match late on in the first-half, but neither side could add to the score-line and so we went to the half-time break locked at 1-1.

At the start of the second-half we looked the much better side once again, regaining the ascendancy. We did not have to wait long to take the lead, as the ball once again found Alejandro Sanchez free inside the box and he finished off well again for his 2nd of the night and put us 2-1 up.

Marconi tried to come back again, knowing they needed to after falling behind. They had their fair share of chances, but we held firm defensively. In this period of Marconi dominance, we still had chances to kill the game off.

With 10 minutes remaining though, we did ice the game and made it 3-1. Thanks to a spectacular freekick from Nikola Kuleski, a real rocket which gave the Marconi goalkeeper no chance of saving.

At the full-time whistle, it was a happy bunch of Sydney Olympic Supporters who made their way out to Fairfield to support the team, as we recorded another important victory.

Through this tough stretch of fixtures, we have managed to take maximum points now against APIA and Marconi, with Sydney United beckoning next week, making it a trifecta of derby matches.

There has been a vast improvement from how we started the season to how we are playing now and there are some good signs going forward.

For the Club Championship, the U18s lost 1-0 and in the U20s we came away with a 1-1 draw.

Last Wednesday Night we progressed to Round 6 of FFA Cup Qualifying, after coming away with a 2-0 victory over the Stanmore Hawks. There were some nervy moments at times, but we did enough to get passed a tricky and in-form opponent.

We now await on who will be our opponents in the next round.

I will now touch on the situation, that phantom, that has become the Tempe Reserve redevelopment. The Inner West council are dragging their feet and have been for 5 years. Unlike before where some information was available, I personally, have zero idea what is going on, that may not mean much, as who am I, but still.

What I do see, and see it regularly, is countless announcements of other teams getting millions in funding, having pitches built etc. One wonders what is going on, maybe the Club can clear it up?

Our next match is Sunday Night, May 12, in what will be another tough match away at Edensor Park against Sydney United. Kickoff is at 5pm.

On the women’s side of things, they trounced their opponents, the Emerging Jets, 5-0 on Sunday and after 9 rounds are sitting top of the League.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Sydney Olympic 3-1 APIA Leichhardt

Sydney Olympic has recorded its first home victory of 2019, after putting in its best performance of the season so far, in dismantling traditional rivals APIA Leichhardt, on ANZAC Day last Thursday.

In total contrast to most of the beginnings to our matches this season, we came out looking sharp in the first-half against APIA, a very good APIA side too. Although we started brightly with a lot of enthusiasm, we did not create too many great goal scoring opportunities inside the first 20 minutes, the same can be said of APIA.

After witnessing a scrappy opening to the contest, in the last 15 minutes of the first-half, we would go up a couple of gears and alter proceedings.

On the half-hour mark, we were awarded a freekick just outside the box and given a great chance to open the scoring and we did not pass it up. Jinya An curled in a brilliant left-footed effort right into the top corner of the APIA goal, to give us a 1-0 lead.

5 minutes later we doubled our lead, as Alejandro Sanchez was put through on goal and he made no mistake to finish off expertly. APIA had a chance to pull a goal back but we handled the pressure well and subsequently, we went down the other end right on the stroke of half-time and made it 3-0, as Alejandro Sanchez was found free inside the box, to finish and score his 2nd of the game.

As was expected at the start of the second-half, APIA came out strongly looking to get back into the contest, we held them out until 20 minutes into the second-half, when they managed to score a freekick themselves to bring the score back to 3-1.

With APIA piling on the pressure, they left space for us to hit them on the counter-attack and with a bit more composure, we could have extended our lead and killed the game off for good. In truth, APIA had some good moments throughout the second-half, but defensively we held firm right to the end to confirm our 3-1 victory.

So after a shaky start to the season, it was an impressive victory to ease some of the pressure. Of course, it is only 1 game and we need to build on this, keep pushing and string a good sequence of results together to start climbing the ladder.

For the Club Championship, the U18s won 2-1 and the U20s lost 2-0.

Our next match is this Wednesday Night May 1, an FFA Cup 5th Round Qualifier, a derby against NPL 3 side Stanmore Hawks, at Peter Moore Field. Kick-Off is at 7.30pm.

Our next match in the League is Saturday Night May 4, in what will be a tough match away against Marconi, at Marconi Stadium, Kickoff is at 7pm.

On the women’s side of things, after their 2-1 win against Manly on Thursday Night, they sit top of the table after 8 rounds.

Hopefully everybody had a good Easter, whether you celebrated last week or this week.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Sydney Olympic 2-2 Manly United

Despite playing on Sunday, on Wednesday, and then again on Friday, the boys put in a good shift and with a bit more luck and/or composure, we may have and probably should have, walked away from this match with all 3 points against Manly United.

As was expected, we started the match off a bit sluggishly, but as the game went on, we gradually got ourselves into the swing of things.

It was a fairly even first-half as both sides had opportunities to open the scoring in the first 30 minutes. Unfortunately, it would be our opponents who would open the scoring before half-time, with yet another flukey long range strike. We’ve been on the receiving end of way too many of those already this season.

It was definitely a disappointing end to the first-half and at the half-time break we went in 1-0 down.

We looked a lot more sharper at the start of the second-half and it did not take us long to find the equaliser. With Mitch Stamatellis finding the back of the net via a quality header, which beat the Manly goalkeeper.

Although the opposition had their own chances, we were on top from that moment on and had a plethora of chances throughout that second-half to take the lead, but once again as has been the case this season, our finishing let us down.

As expected, Manly went down the other end and took the lead themselves with a sucker-punch of a goal, once again, we have been on the receiving end of a fair few of those as well this season.

Credit where credit is due, the players did not drop their heads and continued to look for goals and 5 minutes from the end, we grabbed our 2nd equaliser of the game, thanks to a wonderful volley from Dimi Petratos.

We had a couple of chances late on to grab a winner, but it was not be and so we had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

As the full-time whistle was blown, it was a mixture of disappointment and pride as the result was not ideal. The players put in a shift and gave it their all but deep down, we felt we deserved more than just a draw.

The injury crisis at the club has widened, with the inclusion of Alex Sanchez and Hagi Gligor to the injury list. The latter appears to have ruptured his ACL for the 2nd year in a row, pretty sure it was at this exact same part of the season as last year. If this is true, it is a devastating blow for the bloke and we wish him all the best in his recovery again.

They both join Zac Mackenzie, Brendan Hooper and now Niko Tsattalios and Radovan Pavicevic, who looked to have picked up knocks as well, during the match with Manly.

This of course, has taken a heavy toll on the team and our results, this current packed schedule we are experiencing is not helping things either.

A rare bright spot for the club during this difficult opening 1/3 of the season, is the emergence of Dimi Petratos who due to injuries, has been given his chance to show us what he’s got in 1st Grade. And he hasn’t disappointed with his performances so far and even scoring in our last 2 matches.

For the Club Championship, the U18s lost 4-0 and the U20s won 3-1.

Last Wednesday we made relatively light work of Lindfield FC in our Round 4 FFA Cup Qualifier, winning the match 3-1.

In the Draw for Round 5 FFA Cup Qualifying, Sydney Olympic has drawn the Stanmore Hawks, a very interesting match-up. Details TBC.

The boys now have a solid break before our next match on ANZAC Day, Thursday Afternoon April 25, against traditional rivals APIA Leichhardt, at Belmore Sports Ground, Kick-Off is at 4.45pm. Will it be 5th time lucky in trying to notch up our first home win of the season?

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Rockdale 2-1 Sydney Olympic

The tailspin this team is experiencing is bewildering to say the least. The players who performed so well last season, have simply not come to terms with the fact that it is a new season and you have to do it all again. Quite a few of them have been woeful.

Max Burgess and Riley Woodcock have been big losses no doubt. But, is anyone going to seriously tell me that should mean that we turn into a putrid, shadow of the side we were last season?

The recruitment in itself to cover those losses was virtually non-existent, not to mention some of the people who were brought in. Whoever was in charge of that side of things, needs a good long hard look in the mirror and probably needs to be doing something else in some other field.

We lost only 4 matches in all of the 2018 season. We’re not even 1/3 of the way into this 2019 season and we have already lost 3 matches and to put that into more context, we have had what some would call a “soft draw” to start the season. We have lost matches against teams we have no business in losing to.

Further to this, we have also yet to play the likes of Manly, APIA, Marconi or Sydney United. Things will only get worse.

As for the Rockdale match, it was a match where we should have come out firing from the get-go, stomp on their throats and kill the game off early, but we pussy footed around for most of it, which is becoming a trait in this side.

Ironically, we managed to score first. Now you would have thought that in doing so, we would shut-up shop and try to hold on, given we were with 10 men. But instead we buckled under the pressure and copped 2 goals in the latter stages of the second-half to send us to another defeat.

Sure there are genuine gripes about the cheat of a referee who officiated the match, but we have to rise above that sort of stuff and not give these types of referees who go on a power-trip when given a whistle, any excuse or opportunity.

In terms of the red card we copped, it is unfortunately exactly what happened. Nikola Kuleski got himself into a situation he was never going to profit from and was given a 2nd yellow for dissent.

We have not beaten this Rockdale team since 2015 now, which is hilarious when you think about it. They are not a traditional heavyweight of the competition, I can’t remember them winning anything in this League, nor are they a great rival of Sydney Olympic’s, but for some reason these clowns are our bogey side.

Maybe them facing Sydney Olympic and it being a sort of World Cup Final for them explains it, they have nothing else, so it has to be it.

To go with that abysmal result in First Grade, it was a clean sweep of failure. The U18s lost 2-0 and the U20s lost 3-0.

If this sort of garbage continues, we will seriously find ourselves in a relegation battle. And as has been seen over the last few years, Marconi, Melita and Bonnyrigg have all been relegated, so there can be none of this, “we’re too big to be relegated” or “it won’t happen to us” rubbish.

I don’t know what they’ve been doing at the Club, but they need to wake the fuck up and fast.

Our next game is against Lindfield FC in a 4th Round FFA Cup Qualifier, This Wednesday Night April 17, who play association football on the North Shore. It will be played at Charles Bean Oval in Lindfield with Kick-Off at 7pm. What odds we lose that one as well?

Our next match in the League is against Manly United on Friday Afternoon April 19, which is a Public Holiday, at Belmore Sports Ground, Kick-Off is at 4.45pm. We have yet to win at home this season and if we don’t win this one, pull the curtain down on 2019.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Sydney Olympic 0-2 Wollongong Wolves

3 matches in 7 days looks to have gotten the better of us, as we could not back-up our victories over Hakoah and Mt Druitt Town, going down 2-0 at home to the league leading Wollongong Wolves on Sunday.

Perhaps feeling the effects of the week, we started the match off a little slowly, with Wollongong pouncing early. They had an early chance to open the scoring but were denied by Paul Henderson.

After this inauspicious start, we got ourselves into the game and started to play well, looking threatening in attack.

It was end-to-end stuff, as both sides went back and forth threatening to score. We nearly did midway through the first-half, as Alex Sanchez was put through on goal, he then rounded the goalkeeper only to miss the opportunity. It must be said that it looked a fairly tight angle.

Literally the next passage of play, Wollongong broke away, counter-attacked and went down the other end to open the scoring.

At half-time we went to the sheds trailing 1-0.

The second-half pretty much went the same way as the first-half. Both sides were adventurous and looking for goals, but given our predicament of being behind, we chased a goal a little harder.

The back and forth struggle continued and on several occasions we found ourselves in great positions to grab an equaliser, but the quality in the final pass or shot was lacking.

As we continued to push late on for a goal, we were exposed by another Wollongong counter-attack and with around 5 minutes to go they scored their 2nd to put the game to bed. As we went down 2-0.

It was a match where with a bit of luck we might have gotten something from, 
but it was not to be. 

We have now not won any of our 3 home matches to start this season, which is always disappointing. We have to win our home games.

It’s been a very hot and cold start to the season for Sydney Olympic, which is evidenced in our results so far this season, twice being held scoreless, another two matches where there were goals galore, sometimes we look like world beaters and at other times bottom feeders. Frustrating to say the least.

In terms of the Club Championship, the U18s picked up a 1-1 draw, and in the U20s, we picked up a 1-0 win.

Last Wednesday, Sydney Olympic ventured out West, for our Round 2 catch-up fixture with Mt Druitt Town.

We were the far better side in the first-half but somehow went into the half-time break with only a slender 3-2 lead. Had we taken our chances, we could have and should have been well out of sight by half-time.

After some nervy moments in the early part of second-half, we put our foot down and took enough of our many chances to run out comfortable 6-2 winners, the score could have easily been double-digits.

We got the all-important 3 points which is what matters.

Sad news during the past week was the passing of Club Legend, Sotiris Patrinos. Brought to Australia from Atromitos in 1960, he helped us win promotion to the NSW 1st Division. He was with us for the next 10 years and will go down as one of the greatest in the Club’s history.

R.I.P. and condolences to his family.

Our next match is away at Rockdale, on Sunday April 14, Kick-Off at 4.30pm.

On the Sydney Olympic Girls side of things, Round 5 saw them draw 1-1 with the Illawarra Stingrays and remain undefeated so far this season. They are sitting in 2nd spot on the ladder at this stage.