Monday, 19 March 2018

APIA Leichhardt 2-0 Sydney Olympic

On an unseasonably stifling hot mid-March Sunday afternoon, Sydney Olympic was not able to build on its opening round win, succumbing to APIA Leichhardt at Lambert Park. The Achilles heel of the team over the past few seasons was on show, as we once again struggled in front of goal, missing several good chances, which ultimately cost us from getting something out of the match.

As you would expect, it was a fairly cautious start to the match as both sides eased themselves into the contest in the face of hot conditions and looking to conserve as much energy as possible. Pretty soon though the contest came to life as inside the first 10 minutes we had a decent chance to open the scoring, but it was cleared off the line. APIA hit back and had a couple of half chances of their own, one of which was well saved by Paul Henderson. The first-half was a solid midfield battle, as each tried to get on top of the other, with the odd chance being created. We looked fairly comfortable throughout the first-half and it looked like we would head to the half-time break dead-locked. Unfortunately, a clumsy challenge inside the box late in the first-half, gave APIA the chance to open the scoring and they did just that. With the last kick of the first-half however, we had a chance to pull level but a great save from the APIA goalkeeper denied us the equaliser. We were 1-0 down at half-time.

On the resumption of play, we took control of the match and began to dominate possession and pretty soon we would create several goal-scoring opportunities. We were now pushing hard for an equaliser, which predictably left us exposed to APIA’s counter-attacks and they looked dangerous in doing so. We had 3 very good chances inside the first 20 minutes of the second-half, but we just could not put any of them away, due in large parts to some fine work from the APIA goalkeeper. As is usually the case, we would end up ruing those missed chances, as APIA broke away and they did manage to score, to put us 2-0 down with 20 minutes remaining. To the players credit they did not throw in the towel and Sydney Olympic kept pushing, trying to score and trying get back into the game. But it was to be one of those days where the ball just did not want to go in, and we went down 2-0.

Everyone is pissed off with the result and I don’t want to trivialise it with phrases like “that’s football”, but some days the ball just does not want to go in and the “p***ana” certainly didn’t want to on Sunday.

Overall though, we played well and if we can continue playing like that for the rest of the season, we will win more matches than we lose. The players just need to keep their heads up and focus on next week now.

Our next game is on this Sunday March 25, against the defending Champions, Manly United, which will be another tough assignment. Kick-Off is at 3pm at Belmore Sports Ground. Get down there and support the club.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Sydney Olympic 2-1 Bonnyrigg White Eagles

Sydney Olympic has continued its impressive record in season openers, with a gritty 2-1 win over the Bonnyrigg White Eagles on Sunday afternoon at Belmore Sports Ground. We have now won 7 of our past 8 Round 1 encounters, with the other one being a draw away to APIA Leichhardt in 2016.

Sydney Olympic started the match off brightly and dominated the first 15 minutes. We duly got our reward early on, as new recruit Alejandro Sanchez was put through on goal before he was brought down inside the box by the Bonnyrigg Goalkeeper. Jason Madonis stepped up to take the spot-kick and buried it to put us 1-0 up and we were looking good. We could have easily made it 2-0 during that first half, but for a brilliant point-blank double save from the Bonnyrigg Goalkeeper. After this period of dominance, we seemed to take our foot off the pedal slightly which allowed Bonnyrigg to get back in to the match. They had a series of good opportunities themselves to score and equalise, but Paul Henderson who was celebrating game 200 for the Club stood in their way, making a couple of good saves to keep the score at 1-0. Which was how the score remained at the half-time break.

The start to the second-half was in total contrast to how we started the first-half, we looked really slow, lacked spark and we were reduced to walking pace. Sure, the conditions would have played their part as it was quite warm on Sunday, but all it did was give Bonnyrigg the impetus to step up their game and step up they did. They dominated the first 20 or so minutes of the second-half, putting us under all sorts of pressure. Paul Henderson made a series of good saves, before Bonnyrigg finally got their equaliser from a corner. It was the conceding of this goal that seemed to wake us up and we started play with a bit more urgency. Both sides were looking for a winner, fortunately for us it would come for Sydney Olympic as Sanchez was once again put through on goal, but this time he avoided the challenge and clipped the ball over the advancing Bonnyrigg Goalkeeper, to put us back into the lead with around 10 minutes to go. There were some nervy moments late on but we managed to hold on for an important victory.

Overall it was a patchy performance from Sydney Olympic, but by the same token you do not want to be playing champagne football and reaching your peak performance in Round 1 of the competition. We got the victory and more importantly we got the 3 points, we now must and can definitely improve from here.

For the Club Championship our U18’s lost 1-0 and our U20’s also lost 1-0.

Next week we have a tough assignment against one of the competition favourites in APIA Leichhardt. It is on Sunday, March 18 at Lambert Park, Kick-Off is at 
5.30pm. Get down there to support the boys.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Sydney Olympic – 2018 Kick-Off

As usual, it has been quite an eventual off-season/pre-season for Sydney Olympic Football Club.

From beating the reigning National NPL Champions, Heidelberg United 4-2 down in Melbourne, to not winning another match for the rest of the pre-season. Which included losses to:
- Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3-0
- Sutherland Sharks 2-1
- Blacktown City 1-0

As well as a 1-1 draw in there against NPL 2 side, Mounties Wanderers.

As a result of maybe this or maybe some other issues, Gorka Etxeberria’s reign as Sydney Olympic coach is over. We can speculate all we want but what is done is done and we all must now move on.

The Club has moved swiftly to appoint a new coach, with that being Sydney Olympic Legend, Abbas Saad. We will have to wait and see what type of an effect this all has on the players.

At this current moment and to the best of my knowledge this is roughly what our First Grade squad is looking like heading into the season:

Paul Henderson, William Angel, Niko Tsattalios, Jake de Marigny, Jinya An, Jason Madonis, Hagi Gligor, Max Burgess, Darcy Burgess, Paul Katsetis, George Timotheou, Tom Whiteside, Radovan Pavicevic, Stephen Athanaseris, Rafa Jimenez, Nicola Kuleski, Riley Woodcock, Alex Sanchez, Callum Fitzpatrick, Luke Watson

It is up to the coaching staff and the players now to work together, to get the best out of each other and to have a successful season.

At the season launch, another Sydney Olympic Legend was added to the Clubs Hall of Fame, Peter Raskopoulos.

A former Socceroo, only 3 players have played more matches for the Club than “Rasko”. A long time Captain, he is synonymous with the Clubs golden period of the mid 1980’s where we played in 4-straight National Finals (’83 & ’85 Cup Finals and ’84 & ’86 Grand Finals) of course he was later Coach and CEO. A more than worthy addition.

So the start of the 2018 season is here and it all begins this Sunday, March 11, as we host the Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Belmore Sports Ground, Kick-Off is at 3pm. Get down to Belmore and support the Club and the players.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Sydney Olympic Off-Season – February

We are a month away from the start of the season and Sydney Olympic is smack bang in the middle of a series of pre-season matches, looking to fine tune things in readiness for Round 1.

So far during this preseason we have played 3 matches:
Manly United 0-2 Sydney Olympic
Sydney United 3-1 Sydney Olympic
Heidelberg United 2-4 Sydney Olympic

Obviously during the preseason you don’t want to be peaking too early and going all out, but in the most recent match against Heidelberg down in Melbourne we looked sharp and picked up a good victory.

Of interest, Tom Whiteside was at Right-Back and Jinya An at Left-Back. Not sure if that is the way we will be setting up this season, or if the Coach was trying a few things out.

This freed up Jason Madonis to push further up the park on the Right where he looks much better and Will Angel operated in his customary role out wide on the Left.

George Timotheou and Jake de Marigny who is coming back from a long injury lay-off were the starting CB’s, both did well. In the middle Nicola Kuleski and Hagi Gligor dictated the play while Max Burgess was playing in the No.10 position, this midfield combination seemed to work well.

New Striker Alejandro Sanchez looked the goods after putting in an impressive performance, hopefully he can be the difference for us in the final third this season.

Darcy Burgess, Stephen Athanaseris, Radovan Pavicevic, Rafa Jimenez, Yahya Elhindi got game time and Luke Watson came on to replace Paul Henderson too, so quite a few getting a run.

Overall it was a good performance with much to look forward to.

If you want to and you haven’t already done so, sign up to be a Sydney Olympic member this season and support the Club and the Players.

A Full Membership is good value at only $100, it will get you into all 11 home games for 2018, access to the AGM and I’m sure the Club will throw in a scarf and polo and things of that sort, so become a Sydney Olympic Member today.

Click on the links, call the Club Office (02) 9787-7890 or go to the Club Office in person at Belmore Sports Ground between 10am-4pm Monday to Friday.

Information about our final preseason matches are as follows:

Saturday, February 17 vs. Bonnyrigg @ Valentine Sports Park @ 5pm.
Sunday, February 25 vs. Sutherland @ Seymour Shaw Park @ 6.30pm.
Sunday, March 4 vs. Blacktown City @ Lily’s Football Centre @ 6pm.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Sydney Olympic Off-Season – January

Welcome to 2018 and Happy New Year to all Sydney Olympic Supporters, as we continue to count down the days until the start of the new season.

It is fair to say that the optimism and enthusiasm around the team’s chances for 2018 are fairly muted at this point of the off-season/pre-season, and you’d have to say with some good reason.

In the last 5 seasons we have finished 7th, 4th, 4th, 6th, and 5th, with the same issues over depth arising every year. So, we are stuck around that 4th-8th spot, which is where we are realistically at and things don’t look like they will change any time soon. We simply are not on the same level playing field as several other clubs who can pay outrageously inflated wages and fork out hundreds of thousands of dollars every year all for the “honour” of being NSW Champions.

Of course this does not mean we have no chance, it just means we have to be smarter with coaching, recruitment and bringing through our own, having a clear pathway from juniors all the way through to First Grade. Also, a bit of good luck helps and we certainly haven’t had any of that over the past few seasons.

On to some signing news, the Club has confirmed that Max Burgess will be returning for the 2018 NSW NPL season, no doubt a welcome addition and something for all Sydney Olympic Supporters to definitely be excited about.

The Club has also signed a striker from Spain in the form of Alex Sanchez, who last played in the Spanish 3rd division with Tudelano. It will be interesting to see what he can bring to the team.

There are no other signings that I know of as of now and the squad currently looks like this:

Paul Henderson, William Angel, Niko Tsattalios, Jake de Marigny, Jinya An, Jason Madonis, Hagi Gligor, Max Burgess, Darcy Burgess, George Timotheou, Tom Whiteside, Radovan Pavicevic, Stephen Athanaseris, Rafa Jimenez, Nicola Kuleski, Riley Woodcock, Alex Sanchez

As for friendly matches, they are as follows:
Sunday, January 28 vs. Manly United @ Cromer Park @ 6pm.
Sunday, February 4 vs. Sydney United @ Edensor Park @ 7pm.
Saturday, February 10 vs. Heidelberg United @Olympic Village @ 5pm.
Sunday, February 18 vs. Bonnyrigg @ Bonnyrigg Sports Club @ 6.30pm.
Sunday, March 4 vs. Sutherland @ Seymour Shaw @ 6.30pm.
Sunday, March 11 vs. Blacktown City @ Gabbie Stadium @ 6pm.

Sad news from the weekend was the passing of Greek Football Legend, Takis Loukanidis. He was a star for his hometown club Doxa Drama, before being lured to Athens to play for Panathinaikos in 1961, he also played 23 times for the Greek National Team.

Of course, Takis Loukanidis graced us with his presence here in Sydney for the 1968 and 1969 NSW seasons, helping us in the process to reach the NSW 1st Division Grand Final in 1968.


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Sydney Olympic Off-Season – December

I’ll start off with the more interesting and surprising news of the last couple of weeks. After a message that was sent to the Inner West Council Twitter account about the Tempe Project – which I thought would be ignored and not replied to – came an actual reply and then a tweet from the official Inner West Council Twitter account:

While it was too difficult to get any specifics about what is going on, according to the Inner West Council, discussions are on-going, I guess this is good news of sorts, even though we have heard nothing about the particulars, nor heard anything from the club about this in the last 12 months. 

I guess it’s “watch this space” with this one.

Onto on-field matters, and on Sunday Evening we had our first trial/friendly of the off-season/pre-season against the Stanmore Hawks, in what is becoming an annual event.

It is way too early to discuss form or how the players are looking given we are still 3 months out from the start of the season, but no doubt it was a good hit-out for the boys before they go away for the Christmas/New Year break and re-assemble in mid-January.

We secured a comfortable 6-0 victory, Niko Tsattalios scored a double, while Radovan Pavicevic, Jinya An, Darcy Burgess and Hagi Gligor all got on the score-sheet.

There were also a couple of players out there trialling and looking for a gig, we will see what if anything comes of that. As there have been a few whispers that the Club was done for signings and satisfied with the squad for 2018.

I hope this information is incorrect and we see a couple of more signings. As for the last few seasons we have had small squads and been caught with our pants down at the back ends of seasons, as players are too tired having carried too much of a load for the season, and in the big games that matter most we have failed.

That’s it for now and this year. Merry Christmas and we will see what the New Year brings for Sydney Olympic.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Sydney Olympic Off-Season – November

We are coming towards the end of November and another month this off-season has come and gone. It has pretty much been “crickets” from the Club when it comes to any news regarding Sydney Olympic, on various fronts.

What we do know thus far, is that the squad has begun pre-season training as of 2 weeks ago. That squad currently consists of:

Paul Henderson, William Angel, Niko Tsattalios, Jason Madonis, Jinya An, Darcy Burgess, George Timotheou, Tom Whiteside, Jake De Marigny, Stephen Athanaseris, Riley Woodcock, Nicola Kuleski, Rafa Jimenez.

As was announced by the Club a couple of weeks ago Radovan Pavicevic will be re-joining the squad as he was re-signed for another season. Hopefully he can have a better and more productive 2018 in the Sydney Olympic Shirt.

Obviously this squad is not the finished product (you’d hope) as there is no way a squad that thin can compete on all fronts, hopefully we see a few more signings over the coming weeks.

The annoyance that is the “Tempe Project” does not seem like going away any time soon, as no one seems to have heard anything official about its current status. All signs point to it no longer happening, but nobody at the Club has been able to clearly state one way or another.

The lack of acknowledgement by the Club in 2017 of the milestone of 60 years existence for Sydney Olympic has also been disappointing (November 28, 1957 for anyone interested). 2017 was as disappointing on the field as it has been off the field.

You may recall that a couple of years ago the Club started a Hall of Fame, which was a fairly good concept, as Sydney Olympic is worthy of having one.

The Hall of Fame events saw the likes of Gary Meier, Peter Katholos, Graham Jennings, Abbas Saad, Ante Juric, Grant Lee, Jim Patikas, Chris Kalantzis, Pablo Cardozo, Nick Carle, Les Murray, Mark Bosnich be inducted.

I am sure that all Sydney Olympic Supporters wish to see this continue and may I suggest going back to the likes of Comino Omeros, Sotiris Patrinos, Brian Smith for the next inductions.

All this type of stuff ties in with the lack of communication by Sydney Olympic and of course the AGM or lack thereof one, where you’d imagine a lot of these questions would be put to the Board and where you would hope to receive some answers.