Monday, 9 July 2018

Rockdale 1-0 Sydney Olympic

Sydney Olympic has run out of steam for 2018, after recording back-to-back losses for the first time this season, in what is the most crucial part of the year. The poor results of the last several weeks has seen us relinquish top spot and all indications suggest that we have thrown away our chance to finish top.

We started off brightly and we were the better side throughout the first-half in what has to be said, was a half of limited goal-scoring opportunities. When we did find ourselves in good positions, the final pass or cross was poor and on other occasions, we were too scared to actually shoot the ball and tried to play intricate passes basically inside the 6-yard box. The first-half was a battle for the most part, but as we went to the half-time break dead-locked at 0-0, I myself, was at least confident we would put away a chance in the second-half and claim the victory.

The second-half was pretty much more of the same but with the added rise in desperation levels from both teams. Both sides created chances but both goalkeepers were in good form and kept the scores at 0-0. We had 1 unbelievable chance and thought we had scored, only for Rockdale’s goalkeeper to pull off a ridiculous save from close range. With 15 minutes remaining we went behind, Paul Henderson pulled off a nice save, but a Rockdale player reacted quicker than anyone else to put away the rebound. We pushed in the closing stages for the equaliser, but it was not to be our night and we had gone down 1-0.

Along with the poor run of results, Sydney Olympic has simply stopped scoring, not that we were a free-scoring team in the first place, but the goals and even the chances have certainly dried up.

As mentioned at the top, this team looks to have run its race for season 2018. Despite having plenty of reasons to be motivated yesterday, (Maintaining ladder position, Will Angel’s 200th match, the big Olympic support that turned up and many many others), we just did not want it enough, as sad as it is to say.

In the first 11 rounds of the season we were incredible, but ever since the start of the second-round of matches, our form and results have dipped. The 7 matches from rounds 12-18 has seen us record a frustrating sequence of L-D-W-D-W-L-L, worrying to say the least.

After leading the competition with as much as a 7-point lead over everyone else at one stage, we have slipped to 2nd. Maybe we will be better as hunters than the hunted, but I won’t hold my breath for a remarkable form reversal.

The (once again) thin squad coupled with the long injury list has finally taken its toll, usually this collapse happens much earlier in the season, so we must at least be grateful for that.

Just to put it into a little bit of perspective, along with the season-ending injuries to Hagi Gligor, Jake De Marigny and Paul Katsetis, the likes of George Timotheou, Zac Mackenzie, Jason Madonis were also missing from yesterday’s match and it was obvious.

Next week is a Bye round as the Waratah Cup Final takes precedence. It definitely is a good thing as the break is needed and we do have plenty of injuries, but it is disappointing that we are limping our way into this break on the back of consecutive defeats and are limping towards the end of the season.

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

Our next match is on Saturday Night, July 21, an away match against Sydney FC’s NPL team, at Lambert Park. Kick-Off is at 7.45pm. It simply is must win now.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Blacktown City 1-0 Sydney Olympic

The annual petering out of Sydney Olympic’s season has begun, after witnessing a very lacklustre performance against Blacktown City on Sunday Afternoon. We always seem to save these types of performances at the most important times of the year, we can’t seem to get it done when it matters most and it has been that way for years. We are sliding at the wrong time of the year and it’s going to take something miraculous to halt that slide.

In the first-half we were second-best as Blacktown controlled proceedings and had most of the chances. We needed to be saved on multiple occasions by Paul Henderson who made a series of great saves. Where would we be if he wasn’t with us? And where will we be when he eventually hangs the gloves up? Up shit creek is where. We had a couple of chances as well but we failed to deliver the killer blow, a well-known story for Sydney Olympic this season. At the half-time break the score was dead-locked at 0-0 and we needed to improve in the second-half if we were to get the result.

The second-half was more of the same and within the first few minutes of the re-start we had gone behind and were now down 1-0. After this we reacted well and went in search of an equaliser, but it was not to be. Blacktown countered at pace, knowing full well that there would be space left for them as we pushed forward. Luckily for us they could not extend their lead, leaving us the opportunity to maybe go on and snatch something late on. Unfortunately, we could not manage to find a goal, thus ending a quite frustrating afternoon.

If it was not for Paul Henderson in this match we would have conceded more than 1. The continued absence of George Timotheou in defence leaves a big hole in this team and it was quite obvious again today, when he is due back no one is quite sure of. As for our attack, it has stagnated, the signing of James Demetriou was meant to help us in this regard, but he has been unsighted in the team since he re-signed with us nearly a month ago now.

We’ve had a strangle-hold on 1st place for many weeks now, but we have not been able to capitalise on the situation. We have not been able to increase our lead at the top and significantly gap the rest of the competition. When you also consider that our closest competitor APIA Leichhardt have had the handicap of playing several extra midweek matches in the last few weeks and are actually crushing their opposition in the process, it is even more pathetic from us.

Apart from 1 game this year against Wollongong where we put 5 passed them, we have scraped passed teams for the most part, struggling and generally edging them out by the odd-goal. We should be murdering sides and have had chances during matches this year to do so.

In the last few weeks we have lost to a shocking Bonnyrigg team, struggled to a draw with Hakoah, squandered the chance to beat APIA and have now lost to Blacktown City, we are hitting poor form at the wrong time of the season.

And the worst part is we do not have any excuses for it, we were knocked out of the Cup long ago, and that was supposed to be a “good thing” as we re-focused on our 1 mission, and that was to finish 1st. Despite still being 1 point in front, that looks like being a tall order now.

In the Club Championship, the U18s lost 1-0 and the U20s also lost, going down 3-1. So, zero points for the entire weekend. If we are not careful we will be dragged into something we don’t want any part of.

Our next match is next Sunday Evening July 8, a tricky match against Rockdale at their dump. 468 West Botany St. Rockdale. Kick-Off is at 5pm. A win is essential here.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Sydney Olympic 2-1 Marconi Stallions

Sydney Olympic picked up the all-important 3 points on Saturday Night against old foes Marconi, in what was a tight and tough contest. Sydney Olympic did enough to claim what may turn out to be a very important victory in the course of this season.

It was a cagey opening to the match, as both sides tried to take control of proceedings. In terms of chances, they were limited and we didn’t see any real chance at goal until after the first 15 minutes, which involved a nice passing move by Sydney Olympic, with the only thing lacking was the end product. After this early period of the match, we definitely started to take the ascendancy and started to pass it around better and have much more possession and before too long, we had opened the scoring. Alejandro Sanchez picked up the ball just outside the box, before making room for himself to then let off a shot, which managed to beat the Marconi goalkeeper and nestle in the corner of the net, giving us a 1-0 lead. The match was becoming a real battle of wills, with not many clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities being created and as time wound down for the end of the first-half, it looked like we would be going to the break with our 1-0 lead. But the referee had other ideas awarding a controversial penalty to Marconi, as it looked like a clear dive from their player. They missed the ensuing penalty but put in the rebound to make the score 1-1, which was how it remained at the half-time break.

The intensity picked up at the start of the second-half and in the first 10 or so minutes, Marconi looked the more hungry and desperate of the 2 sides and were also looking more dangerous and more likely to score, fortunately for us they weren’t able to do so. After this brief period of Marconi dominance, we composed ourselves and re-asserted ourselves in the match. We soon took control of the contest and 15 minutes into the second-half we carved out several good chances, the first was a snap shot from Sanchez which was well saved by the Marconi goalkeeper, the second chance also fell to Sanchez but his shot was smothered by the Marconi goalkeeper, it was to be 3rd time lucky for Sanchez as shortly after he headed home from a corner to claim his double for the night and put us into a 2-1 lead. The match opened up considerably in the last 20 minutes, as Marconi pushed hard for an equaliser, leaving spaces in behind for us to exploit. We did have quite a few chances to extend our lead but we could not add goal number 3, meanwhile Marconi also had their chances, but our defence held firm to keep the score at 2-1, which was how the match ended as the referee blew for full-time.

So another important win against tough opposition. The last 6 rounds will be torture for all Sydney Olympic Supporters by the looks of it, as the run home looks a particularly difficult one and it is made even more difficult by the fact APIA Leichhardt are keeping pace with us and right on our heels for the Minor Premiership.

On the match being played at Lambert Park in the first place, the Canterbury Bulldogs are playing matches there (last round and again next round) so our home match had to be moved to Lambert Park, a ground we seem to do well at anyway. These are the pitfalls of not controlling your own destiny with facilities.

I wonder if we will hear anything about the Tempe Reserve thing any time soon?

In the Club Championship, the U18s got smashed 8-1, but the U20s managed to grab the victory winning 2-1.

Next Sunday Afternoon is possibly our toughest and most important match of the season so far, an away match against 3rd placed Blacktown City at Lily’s Football Centre (Gabbie Stadium), Seven Hills. Kick-Off is at 3pm. 

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Hakoah Sydney City-East 2-2 Sydney Olympic

Sydney Olympic once again paid for not being able to put teams away and in the end, you’d have to say that we were somewhat fortunate to grab a draw with the last kick of the game, to salvage a point from the contest.

The beginning of the match was always going to be a tight and tense affair, as Hakoah are the type of team that do not give much away and are hard in the tackle, to the point of being over-physical during their matches. As witnessed in our first encounter with them earlier in the season, where you would be not be wrong if you thought they were meat proprietors instead of footballers. We had the best chance during the early stages of the first-half through Jason Madonis, a chance which was well saved by the Hakoah goalkeeper. We were on top and it would not be long before we did open the scoring, Alejandro Sanchez was put through on goal and he made no mistake to finish coolly and put us 1-0 up. Sydney Olympic dominated the rest of the first-half, in terms of play, possession, pressure and chances. The opposition goalkeeper was having a good game, keeping his side in it. Despite our ladder position, we have had a problem this season in finishing teams off during matches and it was the same story again on Saturday, we should have put them to the sword and been well out of sight at half-time, but we were not clinical enough in front of goal and at the half-time break we had to settle for a 1-0 lead.

If in the first-half it was total domination from Sydney Olympic, then the second-half would play out a little bit differently, it was a much more even contest. We carved out some half chances during the early stages of the second-half, but we could not add to our 1-0 advantage. After this period, the match would turn on its head as within the space of about 5 minutes, mid-way through that second-half, the complexion of the match had changed and we somehow found ourselves 2-1 behind. Firstly, through a speculative and flukey long rage goal and secondly, from a deflected freekick that found its way into our net. From being comfortably in the lead, we now found ourselves behind and would now have a hard task to turn it around. Credit to the players though, who did not switch off or give up and deep into stoppage time we managed to salvage something from the match. Max Burgess would be the hero, as the ball was fed to him on the edge of the box, he turned his defender inside out and with the last play of the game, he hit his shot, which was too hot to handle for the Hakoah goalkeeper securing us a 2-2 draw.

It is never easy to play Hakoah at their place and it certainly wasn’t on Saturday Evening. We showed great character to keep fighting right until the last minute, for which we were eventually rewarded.

The loss of George Timotheou for this match, who suffered an injury during the week was immense and it was quite obvious that he was not there, hopefully the injury is not too serious and we see him back soon.

As surely all Sydney Olympic Supporters would be aware of by now, Sydney Olympic is leading the competition after 15 rounds and are right in the mix to finish 1st. But there is no such thing as destiny and nothing is ever handed to you in this competition and with APIA challenging us all the way, we will have to work hard in every match, if we are to stay in 1st.

In the Club Championship, the U18s won 3-1 while the U20s lost 1-0.

The matches do not get any easier and our next match is another important one. A home match which has been moved to Lambert Park against the Marconi Stallions, on Saturday Night, June 23. Kick-Off is at 7.45pm.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Manly United 1-2 Sydney Olympic

Sydney Olympic got back to winning ways on Saturday Night, seeing off defending Champions Manly United 2-1 away from home. It was a match we dominated but needed some late heroics to secure the all-important 3 points.

We started the match off very well and very quickly seized control of the contest. We were on the front foot and had a chance to take the lead early on, the chance was saved by the Manly goalkeeper. It did not take long for Sydney Olympic to find the back of the net, as the ball fell into the path of Radovan Pavicevic, who made no mistake by putting the chance away to give us an early 1-0 lead. We had a couple more chances inside the first 20 minutes to really put some space between ourselves and Manly, unfortunately we were unable to put away our chances and add to the 1-0 score-line in this time, we were clearly dominating. Perhaps predictably, not long after this passage of play, Manly went down the other end, and with their first real clear-cut chance of the first-half they equalised. Our heads dropped a little bit and perhaps sensing this, Manly bossed the closing stages of the first-half and even had a few chances late-on to go in front. Thankfully for us the half-time break arrived and we went to the sheds all locked up at 1-1.

In somewhat of a continuation from the second-half, we remained on the backfoot during the opening stages of the second-half and we may well have found ourselves behind, but we survived. After this we got ourselves back into the contest, the introduction midway through the second-half of Nicola Kuleski and Jason Madonis, certainly gave us the injection we needed as we once again re-asserted our dominance. We began to pass it around better and carved out several chances as a result, we had them trapped inside their own half for the final 25 minutes and it seemed only a matter of time before we found the winner. This confidence seemed to diminish as every minute passed by and we began to resign ourselves to the 1-1 result, but up-stepped Max Burgess with only a couple of minutes to go, who did well to control the ball and then shoot quickly passed the Manly goalkeeper and into the net, to put us 2-1 up. There were the usual nervy moments late-on but we held on for the huge victory.

So it was good to get back to winning ways, especially at a venue where it is always difficult to get something from, the players and coaching staff must be commended for how they’ve bounced back, after a tough last couple of weeks.

It is fair to say that if the result didn’t end up being what it was, this blog would have been about something entirely different. Like how do certain people, make it all the way to that level as a referee and not know anything about the game.

After the signings of Brendan Hooper and Zac Mackenzie in the signing window, the Club has also added attacker and former Sydney Olympic player James Demetriou, who played with us in 2013 before heading to Europe where he has played for the last 5 or so years, a good addition to the squad.

In the Club Championship, the U18s lost 3-0 while the U20s lost 4-0. Thank God for First Grade.

Our next match is another important one, this coming Saturday Afternoon June 16, away to Hakoah Sydney City-East, at Hensley Athletic Field in Eastgardens. Kick-Off is set for 4.30pm.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Sydney Olympic 1-1 APIA Leichhardt

It was a much-improved performance from our last 2 matches, where it must be said we were quite ordinary. On Sunday Afternoon we bounced backed to some type of form and Sydney Olympic was very unlucky not to come away with all 3 points against APIA Leichhardt, 4 days after our disappointing Cup elimination to the same opponent.

We started the match off well and had a couple of good chances inside the first 5 minutes, but both shots lacked the power to seriously trouble the opposition goalkeeper. Not long after this we had a header saved off the line, we were well and truly looking the better side. APIA only looked threatening in the first-half via set-pieces and even from those, they really didn’t look like scoring. We continued to dominate proceedings and 10 minutes before the half-time break we got our deserved reward, as Jinya An reacted first to a loose ball inside the APIA box to smash his shot into the back of the net, to give us a 1-0 lead. We were by far the better side in that first-half and we were deserved leaders, we could have easily been 2 or 3 nil up but at the half-time break we had to settle for the 1-0 lead.

We continued our dominance at the start of the second-half, while APIA did step it up, looked threatening and had a couple of chances. The best chance of the opening 15 minutes fell to us through a long-range drive from George Timotheou, which unluckily skimmed the top of the crossbar. We were clearly in the ascendancy but we could not find the 2nd goal which would have killed the game as a contest. APIA remained dangerous going forward, but halfway through the second-half, we were further helped as an APIA player was given his 2nd yellow card and was sent off, meaning we would be up against 10 men for the remaining 20 minutes. We had more chances in the next 10 minutes to put the game to bed but it was sadly not to be. As is usually the case when you let a team off the hook, it comes back to bite you on the backside and it did for us. With 5 minutes to go, APIA levelled the scores via a set piece headed goal, which totally deflated everyone in the ground. Despite this we kept our heads up and continued to push, this time for a winner and right at the death, we had a great chance through Alejandro Sanchez who’s lofted shot unfortunately hit the crossbar, as the full-time whistle was blown, we had to accept the 1-1 result.

It was a good bounce back from the disappointment of FFA Cup elimination. It was a match we absolutely dominated and should have had wrapped up early on, the prize on offer was big, the chance to go 6 points clear of 2nd place heading into the back end of the season, unfortunately we couldn’t get it done.

After signing Brendan Hooper in the window, the club has also signed Zac Mackenzie, previously of APIA. Whether these 2 signings will give us the push we need we will all just have to wait and see. You can’t help but wonder that we need something more.

In the Club Championship, the U18s won 2-0 while the U20s settled for a 0-0 draw.

Last Wednesday Night we had an all-important FFA Cup Round 7 qualifier against APIA Leichhardt. It was a nightmare before a ball was even kicked, with Paul Henderson, Alejandro Sanchez and Radovan Pavicevic all ruled out before the game due to injury, adding to the already long injury list.

It did not help that a goalkeeping error gifted APIA an early goal, which meant we were on the backfoot from the get-go. The makeshift line-up just could not create anything substantial in attack, while at the back, we looked uncharacteristically shaky and dis-organised throughout.

2 more second-half goals from APIA sealed our fate and once again, we were knocked out early from the FFA Cup and as a result the Waratah Cup, also for another year. It is disappointing to say the least and it is now 3 years in a row of non-progression.

For such an important match and even with all our injuries, we still did not look interested which was even more disappointing. Given the exposure the club and players were likely to receive if we had qualified, it makes it even more disappointing for all Sydney Olympic Supporters.

Our next match is this Saturday Night June 9, away to defending Champions Manly United at Cromer Park, Kick-Off is at 7pm. We need to kick-on now and have a good end to the League season.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1-0 Sydney Olympic

Sydney Olympic has lost its first match in 10 weeks, going down to the Bonnyrigg White Eagles in a torrid affair on Saturday Night. You can’t win every week and at some point, we knew we would have our loss, and it happened to be to a much more desperate team.

Those who have been following this League for a while would know what becomes of the pitch out at Bonnyrigg, especially at this time of the year. If we’re being frank, you wouldn’t let your dog take a dump on it, it’s that bad. But in saying that, we should have known this and prepared for the conditions accordingly. Add to the fact that we’ve always had a tough time of it out there and it was always going to be a slog. Bonnyrigg, being accustomed to playing there, adapted to the conditions easier. It took us a while to get into the match and find our feet, ironically, we had the best chance of the entire first-half but unfortunately, the chance was missed. Not long after this Alejandro Sanchez worryingly hobbled off, after being on the receiving end of one too many rough challenges, we will just have to wait and see how bad it is. At the half-time break there was no change to the 0-0 score-line, but we were well in the fight and we were confident that we could get the job done in the second-half.

At the start of the second-half, the arm-wrestle resumed, with the opening stages being a battle for midfield supremacy, with both sides looking to gain the upper-hand. Midway through the second-half we managed to score and thought we had our breakthrough, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. Sensing they had been let off the hook somewhat, in the last 20 minutes of the match Bonnyrigg went for it. They did have a couple of chances in that time and they somehow managed to bundle the ball into the back of the net to give themselves the lead. We pushed hard in the closing stages for the equaliser but it would not be our night and we suffered a 1-0 loss.

It wasn’t our greatest performance this season by any stretch of the imagination but still we were unlucky to actually come out of it with a loss. So just to wrap up this match, possession-based stuff and passing it around was never going to win us the game on a pitch like that on Saturday Night. The order of the day was route 1 stuff and a wing-based game, putting in cross after cross into the box would have been the way to go.

No doubt we will have some bumps and bruises after playing on the heavy pitch, but the concern is with Sanchez who got taken off in the first-half, we all sincerely hope that it is nothing serious as the next 7 days are massive for the club.

Currently we are in what’s called a “signing window” and as we have discussed a few times, we do need a couple of re-enforcements, due to our injury list. Last week Sydney Olympic did announce the signing of defender Brendan Hooper, who returns after previously playing for the club between 2013-2015. Another midfielder and forward will do nicely.

In the Club Championship, the U18s copped a 2-1 loss and the U20s also had a loss, going down 3-1, no shocks here, we are woeful in these grades. If our first-grade team happens to go through a 3 or 4 match winless run, we will find ourselves in a scrap to avoid relegation, which of course occurs via the Club Championship format, and this season it is particularly close.

Attention now turns to the coming week, the biggest week for Sydney Olympic Football Club in many years.

On Wednesday we have an all-important FFA Cup Round 7 qualifier against old rivals APIA Leichhardt. This is the final qualifying round, before the main FFA Cup Round of 32 begins. The match will be at Belmore Sports Ground, this Wednesday Night, May 30, Kick-Off is at 7.30pm.

Just 4 days later we will face APIA Leichhardt once again, this time in the League on Sunday Afternoon, June 3. Both sides fill the top 2 positions in the standings and after last week’s shock loss against Bonnyrigg, this match takes on extra significance for us as top spot will be up for grabs. Kick-Off is at 3pm at Belmore Sports Ground.

Get out to both matches and support the boys.