The Blues were ruthless in their assault on Ilinden Sports Centre, securing a 2-0 win over Rockdale City Suns with Phil Makrys and David Gullo sealing the win with first-half goals.
All present at the venue paid their respects during a one minute of silence following the tragic passing of Blacktown City FC defender Tyler Simpson late last week. The family, friends and teammates of Tyler remain in the prayers of all the football community.
Dominic Hudap opened proceedings in the opening minutes of play with a rather ambitious attempt from distance. The Suns central midfielder sent his looping effort wide of the mark, though 3? minutes later, Hudap did force Paul Henderson into an uncomfortable save, again with an effort from long-range.
Sydney Olympic found their first opening in the 8? minute as Mirko Jurlj?s attempted clearance from the backline ricocheted off David Gullo. The power behind Jurlj?s clearance ensured Gullo?s deflection would carry over the goal line, much to the relief of the veteran Suns defender.
Adem Kir sprung into action in the 15? minute as he cleverly created space on the edge of the penalty-area to rifle in an effort with his left peg. The midfielder?s shot hit the target, though lacked any real power to trouble Henderson.
Kir was at his best again moments later as he cleverly turned his marker on the halfway line before sending James Monie free down the right. The burly striker did well to maintain possession, under the watchful eye of Richard Luksic, though the Blues defender closed off any real angle for the Suns striker as the chance amounted to nothing.
Sydney Olympic?s best moments in the attacking third arrived via the feet of Robbie Milseki, though the Blues failed to carve out any real threat on Ben McNamara?s goal as the Reds defensive line stood very strong early on.
The Blues continued to play their way into the match and leading goalscorer Alex Smith got his first look in on goal in the 25? minute as Phil Makrys sent him clear down the left-flank. Smith took a neat touch to position himself, though from a difficult angle could only fire directly at Ben McNamara.
The Blues found their breakthrough in the 28? minute as Phil Makrys? free-kick from the right-flank was floated into the penalty-area. Richard Luksic was the target, though the strong defender was clearly pushed in the back by Askin Oygur, leaving the referee with no choice but to award the spot-kick. The experienced Makrys, as calm as always, sent the Blues into the lead with a cool finish to the left of the goalkeeper.
Suns youngster Giorgio Speranza showed his class in the 35? minute with a beautiful piece of skill to win his side a free-kick down the left-flank. With three players surrounding him, and no teammate in sight, Speranza did well to win his side some metres down the flank and a set-piece.
Sydney Olympic easily dealt with the free-kick and quickly went on the counterattack. A poor bounce for Suns goalkeeper Ben McNamara saw the shot-stopper air-swing his clearance, allowing Smith to pick up possession of the ball. The Blues striker played a square pass into the path of Gullo who saw his first time effort parried by an outstretched McNamara, making amends for his earlier mishap.
The Blues did find their second in the 38? minute, again following a comedy of errors in the Suns penalty-area. With McNamara failing to hold onto a delivery, and the defenders failing to clear the ball away to safety, Gullo drove his effort into the top left-hand corner, out of the goalkeeper?s reach to double his side?s lead.
On the stroke of half-time, Smith nearly added further misery to the Suns side as he rose highest to head Makrys? free-kick delivery from the right inches over the crossbar.
Rockdale City came out of the gates quickly following the re-start with Adem Kir?s free-kick nearly picking out Monie. The striker used all his muscle to gain an advantage, though Luksic & Co. won the battle by clearing the ball away to safety.
The Suns continued to press for a goal to re-open the contest as Hudap and Speranza combined well on the edge of the penalty-area in the 48? minute. Speranza played a neat pass into the path of Adrian Karakolevski though the Blues got defenders behind the ball to thwart any danger.
Despite the Suns dominance of possession in the early second-half exchanges it was Sydney Olympic to produce the first clear chance of the half. Robbie Mileski and Phil Makrys played a tantalising one-two on the edge of the penalty-area as the latter was played through on goal. With the close attention of two Suns defenders and an oncoming Ben McNamara, Makrys failed to beat the Suns shot-stopper with his attempted chip.
At the other end, Suns captain Peter Apolevski picked up the scraps at the back post following a Suns free-kick, though his first-time effort cleared the crossbar.
Sydney Olympic continued to hit the Suns on the counterattack and nearly added a third just after the hour. Some fine play by Peter Triantis in midfield ? another star performer for the League leaders ? made space for Alex Smith on the edge of the penalty-area. With time to shoot, Smith sent his diagonal effort inches wide of McNamara?s right-hand post.
The visitors put on a show for their travelling supporters in the 67? minute as Emmanuel Giannaros played an exceptional one-two with Smith. The neat touches between the two sent Giannaros clear on goal. The Blues defender rounded McNamara with a fine touch though ran out of room on the right byline as the ball finished over the goal line.
The Blues went close again moments later as Smith played a pin-point cross from the left into the path of Mileski. The Sydney Olympic playmaker was at full stretch though could only send his glancing header wide of the target.
Smith was at the centre of attention again in the 74? minute as he, this time from the right, played a tremendous cross behind the Suns defenders and into the path of Hussein Akil who blasted his effort over the crossbar.
Rockdale City got a look in on 75? minutes via Hudap, though the midfielder?s attempt was from distance and lacked precision.
James Naidovski followed up for the Suns with a venomous drive from an acute angle, calling the Suns supporters onto their feet as the net was ruffled. Unfortunately for the Suns faithful, the ball finished in the side netting.
Naidovski should have pulled a goal back for the Suns in the 88? minute when played through on goal. From a slightly decentralised position, Naidovski?s diagonal effort across Paul Henderson was parried with a strong palm by the shot-stopper.
The Suns striker was culprit of another missed opportunity in the final minute of normal time as Monie played a header across goal and into the path of Naidovski. With only a split-second to readjust, Naidovski sent his first-time volley wide of goal.
Following the match, Rockdale City Suns coach Lee Sterrey expressed his disappointment at the result:
?Very disappointed with the result today, definitely.
?The competition is a very tight competition already, you can?t turn up and give away two soft goals like we did today, you just can?t do that.
?The penalty was very disappointing as we were penalised for a soft shove in the area, and that is something that we never get in our favour. The second goal was a mistake by the goalkeeper, he (Ben McNamara) doesn?t make too many mistakes though today he made a few, and in the end the overall inexperience of the side proved the difference.
?At the time of the penalty, we weren?t playing as well as last week, though we were in the game, comfortable and we matched the League leaders. Had the soft penalty not been given, the match would have taken a different turn.
?We?ve started to tough out results and the competition is so close that with one win you can move into fourth spot. We?ll drop back to about ninth this weekend, though we need to look at our next match and look for a result.
?We play Parramatta FC and that is a must win match for us next week,? Sterrey ended.
Winning coach Peter Tsekenis expressed his disappointment at the condition of the playing surface, though praised his players for their efforts in adjusting to secure a great win.
?It is a point we often discuss about the quality of the surface, and that of today was horrible.
?We want spectators to come out and watch matches in this competition, though how can we keep getting them back when the playing surfaces across the competition are so bad? We have yet to play on a good surface this season.
?Our team loves to play a quick passing game, though on this surface it was impossible. I am very pleased that we were able to adjust to the surface and still dominate. In the end, I think we could have scored six with the chances we created, and defensively, I don?t think we were pressured at all until the 88? minute, so we are all very pleased with the results this weekend.
?We do have a busy week with a cup match coming up, though we will continue to take it one match at a time and not look further than the next match,? concluded Tsekenis.
In the Grade-20 division, Rockdale City Suns twice came from behind to draw 2-2 against Sydney Olympic.
Rockdale City Suns 0
Sydney Olympic 2 (Phil Makrys (pen) 29?, David Gullo 38?)
Sunday 29th May, 2011
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Sarah Ho and Bachar Allam
Fourth Official: Tom Klein
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Ben McNamara; 2.Paul Dee, 3.Shay Spitz, 6.Joshua Lawson, 7.Peter Apolevski (C), 23.Askin Oygur (15.Adrian Karakolevski 40?), 21.Mirko Jurilj, 13.Giorgio Speranza, 11.Adem Kir (9.Jason Naidovski 54?), 8.Dominic Hudap, 12.James Monie
Substitutes Not Used: 14.Itsuki Hasegawa, 19.Marino Musumeci, 22.Dion Shaw
Yellow Cards: Shay Spitz 65?
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic: 1.Paul Henderson; 2.Emmanuel Giannaros, 3.Brett Studman, 5.Richard Luksic (C), 7.Phil Makrys, 6.Alex Smith, 14.William Angel (9.Hussein Akil 65?), 11.Robert Mileski (23.Takayami Omi 76?), 16.Peter Triantis, 18.Jerry Kalouris, 19.David Gullo (15.Tod Bamber 87?)
Substitutes Not Used: 4.Ibrahim Haydar, 21.Nenad Vekic
Yellow Cards: Peter Triantis 46?, Emmanuel Giannaros 57?
Red Cards: Nil
3 ? Phil Makrys (SO)
2 ? Peter Triantis (SO)
1 ? Giorgio Speranza (RCS)
-By Joseph Carlucci