IT is all over for Blacktown Spartans after they succumbed to a second half onslaught from Sydney Olympic, who won 3-0 at Lambert Park.
While the first half may have been somewhat even, there was simply no response from the Spartans to what the men in blue threw at them in the second stanza of play.
In the fourteenth minute the opening chance of the game arrived when Jacob Ott tried his luck with a great shot from outside the box that was well saved by Paul Henderson.
A short time later in the 17’ minute Raymond Miller went all the way into the box from the halfway line only to be once again thwarted by the superb goalkeeping from Henderson who made another diving save.
In the 20’ minute Blacktown Spartans continued their assault with Tomislav Cirjak firing from almost point-blank range but Henderson was ever alert and caught the ball brilliantly. At this stage it appeared to be Henderson alone standing between the Spartans and the opening goal.
However, in the 30’ minute Sydney Olympic should really have scored when Taiga Soeda beautifully cut a swathe through the Spartans defence and set up Harris Gaitatzis who fired only marginally wide and across the face of goal.
In the 33’ minute Dimitri Hatzimouratis fired a rocket from outside the box that was well blocked by Carlos Saliadarre between the sticks for the Spartans. After absorbing the early pressure, Sydney Olympic were now dishing it out in equal measure.
In the 38’ minute the last opportunity of the first stanza of play fell to Ott who should really have done a lot better when presented with the ball inside the box, but unfortunately for the Spartans he fired wide of the target. The first half ended scoreless after a tight and well-contested 45 minutes of play.
However, the second half narrative was completely different. In the 49’ minute it was only a whisker that saved the Spartans when a delightful cross from Brayden Sorge from the by-line was met by Michael Gaitatzis who fired just a millimetre wide of the intended target.
Sydney Olympic were now in control and in the 53’ minute Harris Gaitatzis fired a low drive that was nicely turned away by Saliadarre and, a minute later, a Saliadarre miracle prevented Hatzimouratis from opening the scoring. Somehow the goalkeeper appeared to pluck the ball from thin air as it looked certain to end up in the back of the net.
In the 55’ minute a powerful diagonal drive from Will Angel was once again turned away for a corner by Saliadarre but now it was a matter of when, and not if, Sydney Olympic would score.
In the 57’ minute that goal duly arrived. Hatzimouratis scored superbly as the pressure finally was successful when he charged from the left and concluded with a delightful chip that ended up over the goalkeeper’s head. It was no more than Sydney Olympic deserved as the Spartans looked pedestrian and in many ways can thank Saliadarre’s antics for keeping them in the game.
In the 69’ minute a nice shot from Go Shirai was deflected onto the post as the Spartans were holding on by the skin of their teeth. Three minutes later a Go Shirai cross to Hatzimouratis was volleyed but a deflection turned it over the crossbar. From the ensuing corner Brendan Hooper headed straight onto the post. There was little that the Spartans could do except absorb the pressure.
In the 76’ Ryan Keir received a yellow card which will mean that he is suspended for the next match against Bonnyrigg White Eagles in the Elimination Final.
In the 87’ minute Go Shirai pounced on a loose ball to double Sydney Olympic’s lead and it was now all over bar the shouting. He powerful shot was straight into the back of the net. In fact it was almost miraculous that the Spartans managed to hold on for so long such was the difference between the two sides.
In the 91’ minute a cross from Will Angel was played into the path to Harris Gaitatzis who hammered home Olympic’s third goal. Sydney Olympic now survive another week while for the Spartans a gallant season comes to an end.
Blacktown Spartans 0
Sydney Olympic 3
(D Hatzimouratis 57’, Go Shiari 87’, Harris Gaitatzis 91’)
Blacktown Spartans: Saliadarre, Cirjak (Di Leo 89’), Austin, Millgate, Dukic, Kondek, Miller, Ott, Long, Tosi (Freeburn 66’), Evans (Vukovic 77’)
Subs: Nascimben, Di Ruocco
Yellow Cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic: Henderson, Danaskos, H. Gaitatzis, M. Gaitatzis (Angel 51’), Hatzimouratis, Hooper, Keir, Markovic, Go Shirai, Soeda, Sorge.
Subs: Godoy-Bascur, Tomaras, Tsorras,
Yellow Cards: Keir 76’
Ref: Kurt Ams
Venue: Lambert Park, Sunday August 31
– By Joe Russo, National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1 Reporter, at Lambert Park