A chilly but bright morning met the players of APIA-Leichhardt Tigers and Sydney Olympic in the IGA National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1 – 16’s Grand Final at Penrith Stadium for the opening match of the day that saw the Blues crowned Champions after a thrilling 2-0 win.
A tense opening quarter hour produced no efforts on goal as both sides wrestled for control of the midfield; APIA-Leichhardt shading the early exchanges in hotly contested action.
The Tigers created a chance on 14’ minutes when the Blues defence stopped, expecting the whistle to blow for a foul on Nicholas Sullivan, however he played on inside the box and cut the ball back for Lachlan Scott who hurried his shot and scuffed it skyward in the best move of the match to that point.
Olympic responded through Evan Patramanis 3’ minutes later but his effort from distance was way wide of the mark as the game began to open up.
APIA came close again moments later when an angled shot by Scott evaded everyone and slipped narrowly past the upright.
A free-kick floated into the box by Aidan Gray was met by the head of George Blackwood only to see the opportunity go begging as APIA pressed for the opener.
However, it was Sydney Olympic who found the net first when Lachlan Roberts cut through to the byline and chipped the ball over Tigers ‘keeper Nicholas Dimos for Michael Trajkovski to toe-poke home, against the run of play it must be said, in the 30’ minute.
Trajkovski had Dimos at full stretch to save in the dying seconds of the half when hitting on the break and lashing a shot goal-ward from the edge of the box.
The score remained with Olympic leading by the only goal.
Sydney Olympic came out firing for the second period and Trajkovski came close again from a free-kick 25-yards out that Dimos had covered but watched go by the post.
Having applied the early pressure it was APIA now forced to weather the storm as Olympic looked to close out the game with a second goal in a thrilling contest.
Evan Patramanis was put through with a long ball over the top but tremendous covering defence snuffed out the chance to keep APIA in the match who themselves went up the other end for a Nicholas Sullivan strike that had direction but little power that Ezequiel Consoni easily dealt with.
Lachlan Roberts did well to win the ball just outside the box and again played in Trajkovski but it was Dimos who was equal to the challenge with a brilliant save to prevent Olympic going further ahead in the 49’ minute.
APIA were played into the situation whereby they had nothing to lose but had to push on if they were to be able to restore parity but it led to gaps at the back and Olympic were only too willing to exploit them, Dimos truly earning his plaudits on the day in goal.
One such occasion led to a beautiful cross from the right for Trajkovski to side-foot home and double the lead with 63’ minutes on the clock and the Grand Final was surely decided for 2013.
With the minutes ticking down, APIA mounted several desperate raids on the Olympic goal that came to nought after very promising build-up work.
What started as a cat and mouse affair turned into a classic tale of two halves with Sydney Olympic taking the spoils although it takes two teams to create an entertaining final and the gathered throng were treated to that without doubt.
Congratulations Sydney Olympic, commiserations APIA, we look to see some of you playing in the higher leagues in the years to come.
IGA National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1 – 16’s Grand Final
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 0
Sydney Olympic 2 (Trajkovski 30’, 63’ )
CentreBet Stadium, Penrith
Sunday, 15th September 2013
Referee: Nicholas Barrett
Assistant Referees: James Purcell and Kyle Herbert
Fourth Official: Matthew Ellem
APIA-Leichhardt Tigers:1.Nicholas Dimos; 2.Mitchell Di Pietro, 3.Harry Griffin-Colls, 4.Aiden Gray, 5.Brodie Soars, 6.Benjamin McCarron, 7.Julian Van Den Berg, 9.Lachlan Scott, 10.George Blackwood, 11.Alexander Piliotis, 12.Blake March, 13.Stephen Adattini, 15.Ozan Okan, 16.John Benjamin, 17.Nicholas Sullivan, 18.Sean Eve
Yellow Cards: Brodie Soars 37’
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Rod Williams
Sydney Olympic: 1.Ezequiel Consani; 2.Stephen Athanaseris, 4.Qasimi Ayatullah, 5.Steven Katsionis, 6.Amadou Keita, 7.Lachlan Roberts, 8.Daniel Carreno, 9. Michael Trajkovski, 10.Evan Patramanis, 14.Lachlan Everett, 15.Marvin Potrus, 18.Mortaza Safdari, 19.George Mourani, 50.Jonah Caragher, 111.Evan Davis, 114.George Vagirakas
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Marlon Youlley
-By Micky Brock