MARCONI Stallions returned to the top of the Grade 20s competition ladder at the conclusion of the weekend’s round thirteen matches, with two games played on Saturday and four on Sunday.
The weekend’s match of the round saw Sydney Olympic claim a point after coming back from a goal down to Parramatta FC at Belmore Sports Ground late on Sunday afternoon.
Match of the Round
Sydney Olympic FC 1-1 Parramatta FC, 3pm Sunday at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic made a second half comeback to draw 1-1 with Parramatta FC at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday afternoon, with both sides missing out on the opportunity to make up ground on the four sides at the top of the ladder. Frank Hartey scored for the visitors within five minutes of the kickoff before James Andrew equalised for Olympic midway through the second period, making amends for a missed penalty earlier in the half.
Olympic controlled the early exchanges and probed well in the first few minutes through Andrew and the Bonomy brothers, but before either side could begin to make sense of the flow of the match, Parramatta found themselves ahead: Hartey picked up possession on the left side of the box and took the ball inside past two defenders to open up the space for a shot, which he sent curling over Daniel Sadaka in the Olympic goal to give his side a 1-0 lead.
Moments later, Hartey almost had a second when he charged at Sadaka and won the ball on the edge of the six-yard box, but the goalkeeper fell quickly to smother the shot. Andrew continued to be Olympic’s focal point going forward, taking on his fullback and finding room to cross on a number of occasions, but he was rarely supported by teammates waiting in the box.
Olympic were again nearly made to pay for a lapse in concentration in defence when Hartey rolled a ball across the face of the goal for Andreas Vais and Adrian Vranic, but Vais couldn’t reach the pass, and Vranic was only able to stretch to angle his shot wide. Hartey kept up the pressure on the home side with a series of shots halfway through the first half, but Sadaka was in inspired form to hold the deficit to just one goal.
Andre Schroeder came closest to giving Parramatta a 2-0 lead ten minutes before the break when a deep cross found him unmarked in the Olympic area, but he headed the ball against the post to leave the home side with hope of equalising in the first half. Andrew might have wriggled through the Parramatta back line for a one-on-one with opposition goalkeeper Jayden Diacono with a few seconds remaining, but Parramatta’s Domenico Tripodi handled the ball to break up the play on the halfway line, earning himself a yellow card but leaving Parramatta with the lead at halftime.
Olympic opened the second half determined to pull back the goal early, and were presented with a golden opportunity only a few minutes
after the restart when Andrew rounded the goalkeeper to give himself a tight angle for a shot, but Diacono recovered well to close the striker down, and the danger was cleared by a covering defender. They should have equalised on the hour mark when Andrew won a penalty after being brought down by Tripodi on the left side of the area, but his spot kick was saved by Diacono in the Parramatta goal, as was the follow-up shot on the rebound.
From there, the home side’s heads might have dropped, but Olympic appeared galvanised by the missed opportunity, and they eventually found an equaliser when James Andrew diverted a low cross from Daniel Bonomy past Diacono in the 70th minute. They might have gone on to win, too; Bonomy and Dushaun Youlley presented with decent chances to put their side ahead late in the game, but Diacomo stood up to deny Olympic a second, and the match ended 1-1.
Olympic coach Harry Paras was disappointed that his players were unable to make the most of their opportunities after halftime: "In the second half, we definitely created enough chances to win the game. We only woke up in the second half, but we should’ve finished the game off.
"We’re trying to make a run for the top four, and Parramatta are competing with us. It was essentially a six-pointer, so it really feels like we dropped more than a few points today."
"I think we probably gave the game away in the first half," said Parramatta coach Andrew Prentice. "We could’ve been two or three up at halftime but we didn’t take our chances and to their credit, they overran us in the last twenty minutes, and we were probably lucky to hang on in the end.
"Our goalkeeper made a fantastic double save from the penalty – from there we probably should’ve held on, but we were a bit naive – we played like we were 3-0 down despite being 1-0 up, bombing fullbacks forward and exposing ourselves at the back – it’s enthusiasm gone wrong to a certain extent. At the end of the day we’ll take the draw and try to rectify those things for next week."
Sydney Olympic FC 1
Parramatta FC 1
Sunday June 7, 2015
Belmore Sports Ground, Belmore
Sydney Olympic FC: Andrew, D. Bonomy, T. Bonomy, Dunca, Everett, Green, Keir, C. Morris, S. Morris, Nicolis, Sadaka
Substitutes: Dimitrakas, Hatzon, Karimi, Patramanis, Youlley
Parramatta FC: Bereveskos, Chung, Di Ruocco, Diacono, Lo, Momohara, Schroeder, Tripodi, Vais, Vranic, Hartey
Substitutes: Awad, Da Silva Santos, Valjak, Jung, Williamson
Marconi Stallions FC 2-1 Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC, at Marconi Stadium
Goals from Bright Appiah and Jack Press helped Marconi Stallions to a 2-1 win over the lowly Bonnyrigg White Eagles on Saturday afternoon; the win ensuring they would return to the top of the ladder after Sutherland’s draw at Seymour Shaw. Marconi scored in the second half after both sides went into the break locked at 1-1, something of a surprise given the gulf in class between the two: Marconi now sit two points ahead of the Sharks in first, while Bonnyrigg round out the competition ladder with only one win in 13 games.
Sutherland Sharks FC 2-2 Sydney United 58 FC, at Seymour Shaw
Sutherland missed the opportunity to hold Marconi back in second place after drawing 2-2 with Sydney United 58 at Seymour Shaw on Saturday afternoon, the second game in three in which the Sharks have dropped points. Trailing 1-0 at halftime, Jeremy Cox and Daniel Loe scored for the home side in the second half but the match ultimately finished 2-2; the Sharks unable to keep United, who are unbeaten since mid-April, from finding an equalising goal.
Manly United 3-1 APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC, at Cromer Park
Manly rebounded well from a disappointing draw to Bonnyrigg last weekend with a solid 3-1 win over APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Cromer Park on Sunday afternoon, going up 3-0 before halftime in a dominant display which sees them move back to fourth on the ladder after two weeks in fifth. Dylan Whitlock, Christopher Arditti and Lachlan McLean all scored for United in the first half before Lachlan Scott scored a consolation goal for APIA in the second; the Tigers remaining ninth at the end of round thirteen after having picked up only one point in their last three games.
Rockdale City Suns FC 0-1 Blacktown Spartans FC, at Ilinden Sports Centre
Alessandro Tolomeo’s goal proved to be the difference at Illinden Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon as Blacktown Spartans beat Rockdale City Suns 1-0, the Spartans’ third win in five weeks. Tolomeo put Blacktown ahead in the first half to leave Rockdale chasing the game in the second, but the Spartans held out to put three points between themselves and Rockdale near the bottom of the ladder.
Blacktown City FC 5-2 South Coast Wolves FC, at Lilys Football Centre
Blacktown City FC recorded a resounding win at Lilys Football Centre on Sunday afternoon, beating South Coast Wolves 5-2. Jonathan Grozdanovski scored twice for the home side, with Sam Perre and Juan Zapata adding to a Wolves’ own goal to stretch the final scoreline to five; Blacktown moving third with the result. Wolves, meanwhile, have now lost four in a row, and face the in-form Sutherland Sharks next week as they look to mount a return to the top four.
– by Max Grieve, PS4 National Premier Leagues Grade 20s Reporter