THE scoreline may not have suggested it, but Sydney Olympic were absolutely dominant, but as it were the points were split against Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
The surprise was that they only scored twice. It could have been five, maybe even more. As it were, goals from Dimitri Hatzimouratis and Go Shirai had the home side 2-0 up.
Bonnyrigg though, are not one to take defeat lying down, and they rallied late, clinching a point thanks to goals from Reece Caira and a spectacular equaliser from substitute Yuta Kokado.
The match started on a sombre note, with a minute of silence held in memory of Olympic’s former youth coach Dominic Coliaguri, who died late last year.
He would have been proud of this performance from Olympic, who were inspired throughout, even if they didn’t take all three points.
The home side started on the front foot and seemed more likely to score, so it was no surprise when they broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute.
Scott Balderson was the architect-in-chief, crossing to the back post where Hatzimouratis was on hand to prod past James Chronopoulos.
Some beautiful play from Nik Tsattalios and Balderson saw the former unleash a shot just wide, while Balderson then had a chance of his own, blazing narrowly over the bar. On the stroke of half time, a superb piece of play from Shirai saw him open the space up, but his shot went over.
Robbie Younis showed similar skill just after the break, juggling his way through the Olympic defence, only to shoot tamely at Paul Henderson.
Two minutes after the hour mark, Olympic scored again and it should have been enough.
Substitute Michael Gaitatzis found Hatzimouratis, who laid off superbly into the path of Shirai. The midfielder lashed an unstoppable shot in for 2-0.
Harris Gaitatzis, also on as a substitute, was looking lively and was involved in plenty as Olympic hunted a third.
But the next goal came at the other end, when Caira was on hand at the near post to turn home a teasing cross from Bonnyrigg’s captain Chris Tadrosse.
Adam Jenner then should have equalised, but could only head tamely at Henderson.
Hatzimouratis had another chance to put the game to bed, but he screwed his shot wide with Chronopoulos bearing down on him.
The missed chances came back to bite Olympic, when, five minutes from time, Kokado lashed a wonderful strike from the edge of the area, the ball ricocheting off both posts before nestling in the back of the net.
They didn’t deserve it, but good sides pull results from the fire when they need them most.
Sydney Olympic 2 (Hatzimouratis 23′, Shirai 62′)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2 (Caira 70′, Kokado 85′)
Sunday March 29, 2015
Belmore Sports Ground, Belmore
Referee: Ryan Shepheard
Assistant Referees: Andre Giev and Daniel Stack
Fourth Official: Adam Naylor
Sydney Olympic: Henderson; Sorge, Egger, Hooper, Spyrakis, Balderson (M Gaitatzis 70′), Fondyke (Madonis 80′), Shirai, Soeda (C), Tsattalios (H Gaitatzis 60′), Hatzimouratis
Substitutes not used: Markovic, Sadaka
Yellow cards: Hooper 45′, Madonis 81′, Spyrakis 81′
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: Chronopoulos; Tadrosse (C), Zonjic, Caira, Spruce, Diaz, Fox, Mansueto (Canak 60′), Miller, Younis (Kokado 60′), Peterson (Jenner 70′)
Substitutes not used: Gin, Gobbo
Yellow cards: Diaz 44′, Younis 50′
3- Go Shirai (OLY)
2- Taiga Soeda (OLY)
1- Chris Tadrosse (BWE)
– By Matthew Lopez, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Belmore Sports Ground.