Sydney Olympic and Marconi Stallions shared the spoils after a 1-1 draw in the IGA National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1 match at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday.
In a tense affair played between two former National Soccer League powerhouses, Milorad Simonovic opened the scoring in the 16’ minute before Elsid Barkhousir got Sydney Olympic back into the game poking the ball into the net form a goal mouth scramble in the second-half.
The match started as a tight affair with both sides pushing to get an early goal.
2’ minutes in, Shane Webb almost scored a cracking goal with his in-swinging corner just saved by Sydney Olympic goalkeeper Paul Henderson.
Marconi then looked shaky in the back in the 6’ minute, failing to clear a corner with the ball falling to Troy Danaskos whose impending cross was only just cleared.
Sydney Olympic then had the first clear chance on goal in the 14’ minute when Hussein Salameh played a lovely through ball to Barkhousir only for Stallions goalkeeper James Chronopoulos to quickly come off his line to clear.
Despite controlling possession for large spells the home side was caught napping at the back 2’ minutes later. A quick ball over the top from the middle of the park saw Milorad Simonovic bring the ball down, beating the offside trap before burying the ball under Paul Henderson to give Marconi the 1-0 lead.
The Blues saw a great chance go begging in the 25’ minute when Danaskos’ pass was missed by Ali Haydar, letting Barkhousir on goal but Chronopoulos was again out to thwart the chance.
Sydney Olympic captain Phil Makrys’ free-kick almost produced his side’s first goal when Marconi defender Mitchell Thompson’s backwards header went just wide of the post.
The onslaught continued as 5’ minutes later Barkhousir rounded Chronopoulos before seeing his shot bounce off the crossbar and cleared by Marconi.
The Stallions thought they had doubled the lead in the 43’ minute when Webb chipped the ball over the defence with Simonovic putting it into the back of the net, only to be called back for offside.
On the stroke of half-time both teams had a chance each with Simonovic blasting over the top before Barkhousir’s shot again tipped the top of the crossbar.
Marconi came back out for the second-half intent on increasing their lead but could not hit the target.
Makrys tried to get his side back in the game in the 53’ minute but his free-kick from the edge of the box out wide went well over the mark.
But the home fans didn’t have to wait too long for the next chance as Barkhousir finally put the ball into the back of the net. A deep corner was headed on target by Ibrahim Haydar, only for Marconi to fail to clear with Barkhousir pouncing to poke the ball into the net to make it 1-1.
The game quickly opened up after the goal with both sides throwing numbers forward.
Sydney Olympic substitutes Amaury Gauthier and Luke Grima almost made an immediate impact in the 66’ minute when the former played a ball to Grima who dummied before receiving a through ball by Barkhousir, only for the former Parramatta FC striker to shoot over the bar.
3’ minutes later Shane Webb’s free-kick was met by a player on the back post but luckily for Olympic Henderson smothered well to keep the scores level.
Olympic had the best chance to put the game to bed in the 77’ minute. Grima received the ball from a throw-in on the right before easily turning Ali Haydar down the byline and playing a square ball to Petar Markovic. The midfielder’s shot was headed off the line before Barkhousir picked up the scraps only to again fire over.
Despite the chances Olympic’s chances of getting a win became much tougher in the 79’ minute when Emmanuel Giannaros was sent off for dissent.
The Stallions continued to push and had a host of chances late in the match.
In the 81’ minute Simonovic’s on-target shot was deflected out for a corner before Henderson was forced into another save 4’ minutes later.
With 2’ minutes to play Marconi had two sights of goal with Simonovic’s shot and header saved to end the match.
Following the match Sydney Olympic head coach Peter Tsekenis said he expected more from his team:
“I think we didn’t do what we had planned to do and we were disappointing in a lot of areas,’’ Tsekenis said.
“We looked a bit flat. Our second-half was a bit better, we forced the goal but then unfortunately we had a man sent off and it opened up the game.
“We’ll take the result, we could have easily lost it today which is disappointing.’’
In the opposition dressing room Stallions head coach Jean Paul De Marigny was upset not to pick up the three points:
“I enjoyed the way we played, I thought basically there was one team playing out there,’ he said.
“We base our game on possession and they base their game on being direct and it works for them.
“We had plenty of chances to finish the game off in crucial times.
“Both goalkeepers were both very good. To be fair if they weren’t of that quality it would have been 8-6 either way.’’
Sydney Olympic 1 (Elsid Barkhousir 55’)
Marconi Stallions 1 (Milorad Simonovic 16’)
Sunday April 14th, 2013
Venue: Belmore Sports Ground
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Nicholas Backo and Thomas Lee
Fourth Official: Benjamin Abraham
Sydney Olympic: 1.Paul Henderson; 14.Petar Markovic, 7.Phil Makrys (C) (22.Amaury Gauthier 65’), 4.Ibrahim Haydar, 11.William Angel (9.Luke Grima 61’), 2.Emmanuel Giannaros, 16.Elsid Barkhousir, 18.Hussein Salameh (15.Zak Elrich 75’), 12.Troy Danaskos, 8.Kingsley Williams
Substitutes Not Used: 21.James Demetriou. 23.Luke Kairies
Yellow Cards: Elrich 81’
Red Cards: Giannaros 79’
Marconi Stallions: 22.James Chronopoulos; 3.Ali Haydar, 7.Sean O’Connell, 12.Anthony Proia, 17.Tadgh Purcell, 10.Milorad Simonovic, 2.Mitchell Thompson, 19.Damien Travis, 6.Shane Webb, 26.Nahuel Arrarte (8.Jarred Lum), 11.Anthony Proia
Substitutes Not Used: 21.Stefan Giglio, 16.Mark Cindric, 20.Steven Ilic, 28.Grant Lynch
Yellow Cards: Chronopoulos 30’, Gauthier 73’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – James Chronopoulos (MS)
2 – Paul Henderson (SO)
1 – Milorad Simonovic (MS)
-By Chris Georges