Monday, 24 April 2017

What was that? – Sydney Olympic 2-3 Blacktown City

The undefeated start to the season for Sydney Olympic is over, after an abysmal first-half display which saw us gift Blacktown City 3 goals to see them take complete control of the match. What made it even worse is that there was a pretty decent turnout of people who rocked up on a Sunday Afternoon at Belmore Sports Ground to watch the team play, and to dish that type of performance up was nothing short of a disgrace.

The match began poorly as barely 3 minutes into the game, we were picking the ball out of our own net after an innocuous looking Blacktown cross was headed into his own net by Yianni Spyrakis when there appeared to be no danger at all. Not even 2 minutes after that, we were picking the ball out of our own net once again, as some more poor defending saw Blacktown get in behind our defence and sneak a second goal passed Paul Henderson to make the score 2-0 with not even 5 minutes gone on the clock, to the disbelief of all the Sydney Olympic Supporters. Goal number 3 eventuated after one of my personal pet hates. After receiving a free-kick in a relatively good position we decided to play a cute short pass, this was followed by another attempted short pass which was then intercepted by Blacktown, who then launched a long ball to their front man and he made no mistake to make it 3-0 for Blacktown after 30 minutes.

What’s wrong with putting in a dangerous cross these days? It seems to have gone out of fashion. Instead passing the ball backwards and sideways seems to be the favoured option. For the rest of the half we had no answers and went to the half-time break 3-0 down.

Usually after a first-half like that, the boos would ring around the ground, but this time there was not a peep as the fans sat there in disbelief at the rubbish they had just witnessed.

The first 15 minutes of the second-half was much of the same, it looked like a bunch of strangers who have never played the sport before, it was a crazy thing to see. It took a goal from the tireless Yu Kuboki, who did not stop running all day, to wake the team up as he chased a through ball and put it passed the Blacktown goalkeeper to give us some faint hope. In the last 20 minutes we stepped up our play and went searching for goals. With around 10 minutes to go Yu Kuboki finished off another great chance to grab his second goal of the day and make the score 3-2, giving us the last 10 minutes to throw everything at getting the equaliser. We did have a good chance late on but we could not take advantage. In the end we left ourselves with just too much to do after our poor first-half and we had suffered our first loss of the season.

The lack of substitutions was also confusing, we were down 3-0 and playing poorly, but not one change was made at half-time. In fact the only change for the whole match was taking Yu Kuboki off with 5 minutes to go which made no sense at all. Sure he would have been tired as he did not stop running all game, but he was our best player yesterday and would have been full of confidence and looking to complete his hat-trick, bewildering to say the least.

For the first 2 months of the season we have been without 3-4 important players due to injury, players who are integral pieces of the squad. As a result we have had to rely on the same 12-13 players for the start of the season and you could tell that it had caught up with most of the players as we looked tired and lacked energy and enthusiasm for the first 60 minutes.

We need bounce back and bounce back fast, as we have a tough run of matches over the next few weeks.

In terms of the Club Championship, the U20’s were trounced 6-1, and the U18’s lost again, this time going down 4-2. A horrible weekend all round.

Our next match is in the FFA Cup this Wednesday Night, April 26 against Picton Rangers at Picton’s Ground, Hume Oval, Kick-Off is at 7.30pm.

Our next match in the League is next Sunday Afternoon, April 30, against old foes APIA Leichhardt at Lambert Park, Kick-Off is at 4.45pm. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Back to Winning Ways – Manly United 0-1 Sydney Olympic

Sydney Olympic remains undefeated in 2017 and is back to winning ways after 2 draws in a row, travelling to Manly United on Good Friday Evening and coming away with a magnificent victory away to one of the competition’s heavy hitters and one of this season’s title favourites.

In a high-octane first-half, both sides went at each other with an impressive ferocity akin to 2 heavyweight boxers trading blows, with Sydney Olympic more than holding their own. We were close to taking the lead within the first 5 minutes but the attempt did not find its mark, instead flying over the crossbar. Manly were playing well also and creating their own chances, but nothing could get passed Paul Henderson. Around halfway through that first-half we had another good chance, but we could not put the headed chance away, missing the target completely. We were playing well and with a bit more luck, composure and some more clinical finishing, we could and should have been leading. In the last 10 or so minutes of the first-half, Manly hit back and stepped it up a notch in a bid to find the breakthrough just before half-time, but on each occasion they were thwarted by Paul Henderson, who was once again having another fantastic game in the Sydney Olympic goal. At the half-time break, neither team could find that all-important goal and both teams headed to the sheds scoreless.

The first 15 minutes of the second-half saw both teams have chances to open the scoring and take the lead, but poor finishing and some fine goalkeeping kept the score at 0-0. The titanic struggle would continue until 20 minutes into the second-half, when a goal would come and it would be Sydney Olympic who got it. Some great work once again by William Angel down the left, saw him burn a few opponents before sending a pinpoint cross to the unmarked Yu Kuboki, who made no mistake from 3m out to put us 1-0 up. After going behind, Manly predictably stepped it up in a bid to find the equaliser, to be fair they did create quite a few opportunities but they could not finish. With them chasing the equaliser, they left plenty of room and space at the back for us to hit them on the counter and with about 5 minutes to go, Yu Kuboki had a chance at a second for the night and a chance to put the game to bed, but he could not find the mark. In the end it did not matter as we hung on for the victory and the all-important 3 points.

The boys put in another excellent shift on Friday Evening, in a match of high stakes and high intensity, in what you could call a “short turn-around” after the tough 2-2 draw we had at Rockdale the previous Sunday. With Paul Henderson putting in another magnificent performance, he could play at this level until he’s 50.

In terms of the Club Championship, the U20’s had a 3-3 draw after coming back from being 3-0 down at half-time and quite remarkably, it ended up a match that they should have won in the end. Whilst the U18’s put in another poor performance and experiencing another disastrous loss, 6-1 this time, after the 6-0 loss from last round. It can’t be a co-incidence that the U18’s have collapsed in a heap only a few weeks after a disagreement which saw U18’s coach and Club Legend Jim Patikas and the Club part ways, a very disappointing situation to say the least.

Our next match is in the League and it is this Sunday Afternoon, April 23, our first home match for 5 weeks, against Blacktown City at Belmore Sports Ground, Kick-Off is set for 3pm.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Rockdale Suns 2-2 Sydney Olympic

In a tough encounter on Sunday Afternoon the boys came away with a 2-2 draw. With a bit of luck and bit more composure, we may well have come away with the all-important 3 points.

The match started off on the right foot for Sydney Olympic as inside the 1st minute of play we took the lead via a fantastic shot from Max Burgess, his long bomb left the opposition goalkeeper with absolutely zero chance of saving it. Of course by scoring so early it gives the opposition plenty of time to recover and work their way back into the match. Even so it was us that should have made it 2-0 a few minutes later, only to see our attempt miss the target. After this the opposition managed to go down the other end get their equaliser and it was certainly game on. For the rest of the first-half both sides traded chances but nobody was able to get their noses in front and at the half-time break the score stayed at 1-1.

The second-half started with high intensity from both teams, but only 5 minutes into it we went behind through a sloppy goal and had to come up with a good last 40 minutes to get something out of the game. Over the next little period there was some good play by us but no real clear cut chances to score until with about 20 minutes to go in the game, when we received a penalty. Yu Kuboki stepped up to take it but unfortunately he missed and it would be a chance we would rue for the rest of the game. Despite that disappointment we continued to push hard in a bid to find an equaliser and it came with about 5 or so minutes remaining, Yu Kuboki made up for his penalty miss, finishing well to make the score 2-2, in the dying minutes we could have snatched victory but Mitchell Stamatellis’ header could only find the crossbar, the score would remain 2-2 as the referee blew for full-time.

It was a very good match, with 2 of the better sides in this year’s competition and 2 sides you’d think would be there at the business end of the season.

It was another good performance and all the boys from back to front were solid and as mentioned earlier, with a bit more luck and composure we could have quite easily won that game.

With the games now coming thick and fast, which now includes midweek Cup matches, the reliance on the same 12-13 players is starting to have a bit of an impact out there. Hopefully the likes of Peter Makrillos, Jake de Marigny and Goran Subara return as soon as possible.

And now a comment on what we seem to have to talk about every time Sydney Olympic comes up against this Foreign Propaganda outlet masking itself as a “football club.”

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the inability of this alleged “football club” to control 30 hate-filled and extremist youths, whether they gang up on 4 Sydney Olympic Supporters in their 60s and threatening them with violence or whether its them jumping on the hoods and bonnets of vehicles belonging to Sydney Olympic Supporters and Officials, the common denominator in all this is that these pieces of shit have the freedom to cause as much damage and destruction as possible, all with the blessing and the protection of their hierarchy.

Year after year there are a number of unsavoury incidents by this same “football club” and year after year Football NSW continues to look the other way, there are never any repercussions for one of Football NSW’s pet teams.

It is nothing short of a disgrace.

In terms of the Club Championship, the U20’s had a 0-0 draw whilst the U18’s had a disastrous 6-0 loss, I’m not sure what is going on there but that cannot be good.

A quick re-cap of our first FFA Cup Qualifier for 2017 where we took on Manly Association outfit Mosman FC:

As with any match against a so-called underdog, you really must come out of the blocks fast and with intent, you have to match their enthusiasm and try to kill the game off early so as not to allow them to gain any confidence, and we did that, getting out to a quick 4-0 lead within the first 20 minutes.

This allowed us to control the rest of the match as well as control the pace of the game as we eased to an eventual 7-1 victory.

That victory sees us progress to Round 5 of FFA Cup Qualifying where we will play Picton Rangers, details of the match are yet to be confirmed.

Our next match is in the League and it is on Good Friday Evening, April 14, against Manly United at Cromer Park, Kick-Off is at 5pm.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Huffing and Puffing – Parramatta FC 0-0 Sydney Olympic

In recent times Parramatta FC or Melita, as they have been known as for most of their history, have always somehow managed to throw a disruptive spanner in the Sydney Olympic machine. Whether it be pipping us in 1980 to the NSW Minor Premiership (we would exact revenge in the Grand Final and earn Promotion back into the NSL) or in 1990/91 and their Houdini act to leapfrog us into a Finals position during that NSL Season and in more recent times.

It is not to say that they have “the wood over us” as we have a superior overall head-to-head record against them (26 Wins to 12 losses with 6 draws) and we did hammer them last year and the year before that, although they did beat Sydney Olympic in both of the reverse fixtures of the last 2 seasons.

Back in the day Parramatta Melita had some excellent players and teams and it would be no surprise or shock to anyone if they got one over us, but in recent times it really hasn’t been the case. Recently their squads have comprised of discards from other clubs and journeymen looking for one last pay day, as well as the odd-younger player, but they still find a way to frustrate us.

So it would prove again, as on an overcast Sunday Afternoon in South Granville, they would once again play the role of spoilers to Sydney Olympic.

As with our first 3 matches we took control of the match early on and dominated proceedings. We started the match off well and our dominance showed by creating a plethora of chances in the first-half, Radovan Pavicevic went close a few times but was unable to put away any of his chances. We had all the possession and we were basically living in their half of the field, but we could not unlock their defence, we were missing that killer final ball. As the whistle for half-time blew the score remained deadlocked at 0-0.

The start of the second-half pretty much went the same way as the first-half and if it were even possible, we had even more possession and we were increasing our domination over proceedings. The difference with the first-half was that Parramatta actually came out and made a couple of forward runs and created the odd chance or two, all the while never really troubling the Sydney Olympic goal. As the second-half progressed we continued to be frustrated by a stubborn defence, we were still dominating possession but apart from a couple of chances late on it looked like we were bereft of any ideas on how to break-down their defence or produce a good final pass to create a legitimate goal-scoring opportunity. The frustrating afternoon ended with a full-time  score of 0-0.

No it is not panic stations, let’s not be stupid, but somewhere down the line it will cost us not having an out-and-out Centre-Forward, especially if the goals on the day do not come from any of our Midfielders, and we did look a little one-dimensional with our play, especially coming up against a team that parked a fleet of double-deckers in front of their goal, we were left scratching our heads.

We still played well and we were never really troubled throughout the match with our defence hardly tested, plus we grabbed our 3rd clean sheet in 4 matches.

In terms of the Club Championship, the U20’s had a 2-0 loss whilst the U18’s had a 0-0 draw.

Our next match is this Wednesday Night, April 5, as we begin our FFA Cup campaign for season 2017 against Mosman FC at Peter Moore Park, Kick-Off is at 7.30pm.

Our next match in the League is this Sunday Evening, April 9, against Rockdale at their ground, Kick-Off is at 5pm. 

Monday, 27 March 2017

3 On The Trot – SFC NPL 0-1 Sydney Olympic

Our good start to the 2017 NSW NPL season has continued, as we recorded our third win in a row to start the season, in a match that was certainly our toughest so far this season. The team showed great composure and resilience to come away with a much deserved victory.

Once again, right from the outset we took control of the match and started the brighter. Yu Kuboki had a good chance to open the scoring early on, but failed to really trouble the opposition goalkeeper. Throughout that first-half, the Burgess brothers and Hagi Gligor were controlling things in midfield, Niko Tsattalios and Yu Kuboki were creating havoc up front and Jason Madonis and William Angel were chiming in and making deep runs from the back. As the first-half progressed we continued to have most of the ball and in doing so created quite a few chances to take the lead, but we just could not capitalise on our good build up work. In not being able to trouble the scoreboard, it gave the opposition the impetus to try and open the scoring themselves, and while they did huff and puff a little late in the first-half, they never really looked like scoring, but as it turned out neither team could and so we had to settle for a 0-0 score-line at the half-time break.

With the score being 0-0 to begin the second-half, this of course gave the opposition underdogs a bit of a boost to start off the second-half. During the first 10 minutes of the half they had a couple of chances to open the scoring, but lucky for us they scuffed their chances. After this initially worrying period to start the second-half we regained control of the match. We stepped it up a notch and pushed hard to get the all-important opening goal, but again through some poor finishing along with a combination of desperate defending and solid goalkeeping, we were thwarted time and again, we even had an effort hit the woodwork, the longer the game went on the more it felt that we were destined to finish scoreless. But with 5 minutes remaining, a nice run from Max Burgess saw him make his way into the box, where he delivered a shot which was just too good for the opposition goalkeeper to do anything about, sending the Sydney Olympic Supporters into raptures. The last 5 minutes of the match involved us sitting back and trying to hold onto the lead, which we successfully did to give us a well-deserved victory and continue our winning streak to start the season.
It was another solid display, although not as comfortable as it had been in the opening 2 matches of the season. Everybody once again worked hard and as a solid unit, it was also a good first display from Thomas Whiteside who was making his first start for the club in place of Mitch Stamatellis and did the job which was required.

In terms of the Club Championship, the U20’s had a 2-1 win whilst the U18’s lost 4-0.

The team is in fine form and the boys are putting together some excellent performances week in and week out, so all Sydney Olympic Supporters should make an effort to come down and support the team.

Our next match is this Sunday Afternoon, April 2, against Parramatta FC, at Melita Stadium, Kick-Off is at 3pm. 

Monday, 20 March 2017

2 from 2 – Sydney Olympic 3-1 Wollongong Wolves

Sydney Olympic have carried the good pre-season form over into the season proper, notching up our second win in a row to start the 2017 NPL season. We defeated the Wollongong Wolves 3-1 at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday Afternoon, in what was another clinical performance, where we controlled the match from start to finish.

From the first whistle we dominated proceedings, having all the ball and creating almost all of the chances. With this being the case, it did not take long for us to open the scoring. A nice run down the left from William Angel saw him glide passed a couple of defenders before making his way into the box, cutting onto his right and finishing expertly passed the Wollongong goalkeeper to give us a well-deserved 1-0 lead. It was total domination by Sydney Olympic, as Wollongong looked like a shadow of the side that had looked so good in Round 1. Our general play, passing and movement were top notch and we continued to create goal-scoring opportunities throughout that first-half, but the final shot always seemed to be lacking the power to really trouble the Wollongong goal. Nevertheless we continued to create openings during the first-half, all with little reward as we could not double our lead and had to settle for a 1-0 lead going into the half-time break.

The second-half continued from where the first left off, as we continued to dominate the game, having the lions-share of possession and had the vast majority of the chances. But it was not until midway through the second half that we were finally able to put away that second goal. A lovely ball found a free William Angel down the left flank, he delivered a delightful low cross into the box, inviting someone to smash it home, Niko Tsattalios accepted that invitation finishing from close range to make it 2-0. We continued to boss the game and 10 minutes from time we grabbed our third, effectively killing the game off as a contest. William Angel once again found himself free down the left, he delivered another pin-point cross into the box, this time it was met by Jason Madonis, who tapped in from close range to give us an unassailable 3-0 lead. A lapse in concentration right at the death allowed Wollongong to sneak in and grab a consolation goal, making the score 3-1. Which put a slight dampener on the victory and the day as a whole.

Once again it was another solid display with everyone working extremely hard on the park and everybody played really well. But a specific mention must go to both William Angel who terrorised Wollongong all game down that left flank and Max Burgess who dominated, controlling and orchestrating play from midfield, they were the 2 stand-outs.

In terms of the Club Championship, the U20’s had a 4-0 win and the U18’s finished 1-1, giving us a nice haul of points for the weekend.

On a sour note it was disappointing to see so many unhappy faces rocking up to the canteen only to find out that they had already run out of souvlaki before first grade had even started (lol). Hopefully (and seriously) this can be all sorted out by the time of the next home game.

We now have a stretch of 4 away matches in a row, so hopefully, we can get as many Sydney Olympic Supporters to come out and support the boys as we are playing some good football this year.

Our next match is this Saturday Night, March 25, against the Sydney FC NPL team, at Lambert Park, Kick-Off is at 7.45pm.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Solid Start – Bonnyrigg White Eagles 0-2 Sydney Olympic

I must say, usually when we make the trip out to Bonnyrigg its smack bang in the middle of Winter and it is freezing, so it was a nice change to be drawn against them in a match out there in mid-March. Anyway enough of that, we have started the season off well with a 2-0 victory over Bonnyrigg, a great start to the season and a nice base from which to build from for the rest of the year.

The first 10 or so minutes of the first-half, was as expected right at the start of the season, fairly cagey as both sides were feeling each other out. After this initial settling-in period, we took complete control of the game, dominating possession and creating a plethora of chances. Eventually we capitalised on a chance, as new signing Yu Kuboki was set free on goal, he lobbed the on-rushing Bonnyrigg goalkeeper with the ball nestling in the back of the net to give us a well-deserved 1-0 lead. Just before halftime we doubled our lead and Yu Kuboki got his second of the half, this one a much more easier finish as he was presented with a tap-in, he made no mistake giving us a 2-0 lead at half-time. Truth be told we realistically should have been at least 3 or 4 nil up, but as it was we had to settle for 2-0 and hope we went on with the job in the second-half.

As the saying goes “2-0 is the most dangerous score-line in football” so early in the second-half we started off a bit more cautiously, not wanting to concede a goal and give Bonnyrigg some type of sniff of a come-back. In doing so we seemed to sit back too much and invited pressure. Bonnyrigg had a couple of half chances but luckily they never took full advantage. Midway through the second-half we seemed to switch on again as we got back on the attack and looking for the goal that would kill off the game. We created plenty of openings, but not many clear-cut goal scoring opportunities. The longer it remained 2-0, the belief would remain for Bonnyrigg that they could get something out of the match. In the final stages, Bonnyrigg made one last stand and in doing so gave us an opening to extend our lead, we did have a couple of chances, but neither side would trouble the scoreboard as the score remained 2-0 at the full-time whistle.

It is a good start and as already mentioned a good base from which to build on for the rest of the season. Hendo along with Spyrakis and Stamatellis as CB’s were very solid and rarely troubled. It was a little weird to see Madonis and Angel playing at RB and LB respectively but they did well. The Burgess brothers in the middle with Paul Katsetis were very good. Jinya An and Radovan Pavicevic were busy up front and worked hard as was Yu Kuboki who was rewarded with 2 goals for his efforts.

The boys who came on during the match also did their job and helped bring home the 3 points. Considering Jake de Marigny, Hagi Gligor and Peter Makrillos were all unavailable for the match, that is a lot of quality still to come back into the side. Things are looking promising for 2017.

Kudos to the Club and the lady brought in to do the social media, nothing extraordinary is needed, the line-ups, scores, updates etc. So it was good to see the engagement is there and the pre-game and post-game interviews are much appreciated.

Last week at the Club’s season launch, 3 more Sydney Olympic Legends were added into the Club’s Hall of Fame. They were Abbas Saad, Ante Juric and Grant Lee. Congratulations to all 3 as they all served the Club with distinction, over many years.

Given that the Club is celebrating 60 years in 2017, one of the things I will be bringing up every now and again on this blog, is the idea of a “Sydney Olympic 60 Years Team”. I’m not sure if the Club is aware or has anything planned for this come the end of the season but you would hope they would, as it is a great way to show off the Club’s Great History and it may be something to engage the fans with, even giving them a say on who would make this unbelievable side.

Next week is our first home game of the season and I encourage all Sydney Olympic Supporters to make a little time and come down and support the Club. It will be this Sunday March 19, at Belmore Sports Ground against an improved Wollongong Wolves. Kick-Off is at 3pm.