Marconi Stadium in Bossley Park played host to the round five clash between Marconi Stallions and Sydney Olympic of the National Premier Leagues IGA NSW Mens 1 competition where the visitors Sydney Olympic took all three points after a narrow 2-1 victory.
The first opportunity came in the 13’ minute when a corner from the left reached Shu Sasaki in the box and the classy Japanese import found Paul Henderson waiting to grab his header.
A few minutes later Zakeriya El-Rich went charging into the box and fell down under the challenge of goalkeeper Henderson, but referee James Lewis decided to show a yellow card to the Marconi attacker for simulation rather than a penalty. It was a close call.
In the 22’ minute Harris Gaitatzis down the left made some nice space for himself before cutting back in and firing off a shot that James Chronopoulos did very well to save down low after two attempts. It was Sydney Olympic’s first real attempt on target for the night.
The first goal of the night arrived in the 23’ minute when a cross from the left reached Evan Kostopoulos in the box and the tall Sydney Olympic player scrambled the ball in from close range. It wasn’t the prettiest of goals but it was effective nevertheless.
In the 28’ minute Marconi were awarded a penalty after referee Lewis spotted some pushing from a corner. Up stepped Jared Lum who converted with aplomb, sending goalkeeper Henderson the wrong way.
In truth it was no more than Marconi deserved having missed out on the earlier decision not to receive a penalty.
In the 39’ minute the ball was headed down to Gaitatzis who stabbed his shot just inches wide of the intended target from a great position in the box. It was to be last real chance of the first stanza of play.
In the second half, a 48’ minute corner from Sydney Olympic created havoc in the Marconi box and finally Kostopoulos scrambled a shot that hit the crossbar and trickled just over the line.
In the 70’ minute a swinging corner from the left by Marconi reached Sasaki on the edge of the box but he shot just over the crossbar.
The second half was not offering a lot in the way of entertainment for the hardy souls present on a cold night at Marconi Stadium.
In the 77’ minute Sydney Olympic regained the lead when a ball from the right was flicked on delightfully by Troy Danaskos for Go Shirai who made absolutely no mistake with his clinical finish.
And so it ended 2-1 to Olympic with Shirai’s goal proving to be the winner.
After the game Sydney Olympic’s coach Grant Lee was definitely pleased to secure all three points.
“You are always happy when you get the three points and I was very happy with the effort and commitment,” he said.
“We had a couple of difficult weeks after Kyriakos being here because there was a lot of unrest around it. It’s a lovely thing for the club to have tried to do in the right spirit, but then at times with a very young side it can have an unsettling effect on the boys.
“Tonight was a very important game for us to get back on track and to get our confidence back.
“It was a great team effort; they all worked for each other and they all pressed for each other. I think across the park everyone did their job tonight."
His counterpart Darren Iocca as always was very happy with his team and he certainly stressed that the chances are there but just not being converted.
“We created enough chances to win about five games and goals change games,” he said.
“If you are going to let easy goals in and not score goals from chances that you have created, then it’s going to be hard.
“We are a young team, we had two new central defenders playing tonight and we’ve had to change around a bit. We’ll get better as the season goes on.”
Marconi Stallions 1 (Jared Lum 28’ [PEN])
Sydney Olympic 2 (Evan Kostopoulos 23’, Go Shirai 77’)
Saturday, 12th April, 2014
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: James Lewis
Assistant Referees: Nick Backo and Joon Park
Fourth Official: Karl Davies
Marconi Stallions: 22.James Chronopoulos (C); 2.Mitchell Thompson, 5.Brenton Rhodes, 6.Jared Lum, 7.Sean O’Connell, 9.Marco Sama (16.Bright Appiah 61’), 10.Milorad Simonovic, 15.Tomislav Mijic, 19.Damien Travis (18.Jake McGing 23’), 20.Shu Sasaki, 21.Zakeriya El-Rich
Substitutes not used: 4.Umut Tokdogan, 14.Sam Conway, 40.Aaron Liddell (GK)
Yellow Cards: Zak El-Rich 16’
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic: 1.Paul Henderson (C); 3.Troy Danaskos, 4.Brendan Hooper, 7.William Angel (24.Amaury Gauthier 83’), 10.Harris Gaitatzis, 14.Peter Markovic, 15.Yiannis Spyrakis (19. Go Shirai 46’), 18.Taiga Soeda, 23.Evan Kostopoulos, 33.Christos Tomaras, 39.Michael Gaitatzis (9.Dimitri Hatzimouratis 71’)
Substitutes not used: 5.Bradley Treloar
Yellow Cards: Hooper 51’, Danaskos 81’
Red Cards: Nil
3. Taiga Soeda (Olympic)
2. Harris Gaitatzis (Olympic)
1. Jared Lum (Marconi)
– By Joe Russo, NPL NSW Mens 1 Reporter, at Marconi Stadium