SYDNEY United 58 FC claimed the silverware eventually, but not without a stern test from Sydney Olympic in the PS4 Preseason Cup Final.
Mark Cindric’s goal in the first half was all that separated the two sides and although United had the better of the first half, it was Sydney Olympic who made the most of the second 45 minutes.
They went close to scoring a number of times but only some desperate defending and wasteful finishing saw United keep a clean sheet.
The opening was, as expected, cagey, and neither side managed to get on top of the other during the opening quarter of an hour.
Both Mark Rudan and Grant Lee started with relatively strong sides and despite the preseason nature of the contest, there was silverware on the line after all.
The heat kept the sting out of the contest early but a 21st minute free kick provided an opportunity for the Reds.
Ante Tomic’s curler looked destined for the top corner, but Paul Henderson showed he hasn’t lost any of his famed athleticism, arching his back to tip away the free kick as it arrowed towards the back of the net.
The goal came ten minutes later.
Henderson came through a crowd to punch away a free kick, but Nick Stavroulakis headed it back into the area. Superb chest control from Robbie Mileski took him around his defender and he showed great composure to square the ball to Mark Cindric, who couldn’t miss.
Olympic struggled to get a foot hold in the match after concending, though Dimitri Hatzimouratis forced a save from Justin Pasfield in the last minute of the half.
Stavroulakis smashed a left footed volley narrowly wide shortly after the interval, before Olympic found themselves.
Lee’s men became to come over the top of United, who suddenly appeared to be clinging on for dear life.
A superb move in the 66th minute ought to have brought an equaliser, but how it didn’t is anyone’s guess.
Go Shirai played in Brayden Sorge, who burst into the area. He cut the ball back to Hatzimouratis, but the Olympic forward mis-kicked when all he had to do was hit the target to score.
Sorge was proving a constant menace. The right back burst forward again in the 75 minute, evading the challenge of Mileski, only to stand a cross up to the back post that nobody could meet.
United clung on and although Proia missed a great one-on-one chance late on, it mattered not as the Reds claimed the first trophy of the season.
Sydney United 58 FC 1 (Cindric 31′)
Sydney Olympic 0
Sunday March 8, 2015
Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park
Referee: Adrian Arndt
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields and Andre Giev
Additional Assistant Referees: Chris Young and Stephen Lucas
Sydney United 58 FC: Pasfield; Camera, Kofina, Haydar (C), Dragicevic; Stavroulakis, Paric, Tomic; Mileski, Cindric, Proia
Interchange: Bilic, Darko, Zuvela, Diacono, Smith
Yellow Cards: Mileski 36′, Kofinas 52′, Stavroulakis 80′, Proia 86′
Sydney Olympic: Henderson; Sorge, Hooper, Egger, Tsattalios; Shirai, Soeda, Fondyke; Balderson, Angel (C), Hatzimouratis
Interchange: Dimitrakis, Spyrakis, Keir, M Gaitatzis, H Gaitatzis
Yellow Cards: Hooper 14′, Fondyke 60′
– By Matthew Lopez, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Editor