MANLY United reeked five incredible minutes of havoc on the way to a remarkable 5-1 win over Sydney Olympic at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday afternoon in PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 action.
Olympic found themselves with only ten men for the second half after Scott Balderson earned himself a red card before the break.
It was also a bad start to the year for Olympic’s prized new recruit Tolgay Ozbey. The ace marksman all but lasted nine minutes before succumbing to an injury and was replaced by Dimi Hatzimouratis.
Manly dominated the early exchanges as both sides looked to settle into possession and came close to opening the scoring when a deep corner saw the ball run loose in the box.
Olympic’s Troy Danaskos was first to react, clearing the danger comfortably, before Olympic responded with a quick attack of its own as William Angel carried the ball up the left wing before passing inside to Go Shirai, who could only hit a weak shot at Dylan Mitchell in the Manly goal.
Olympic might have broken the deadlock halfway through the first half when a corner was swung in to find an unmarked Leigh Egger on the edge of the six-yard box, but the central defender’s header was tipped around the post by a stretching Mitchell to keep the score at 0-0.
The miss was costly as Manly found itself ahead just minutes later.
Rhys Williams made a charge up the right side and smacked a low pass across the face of the Olympic goal for Dejan Pandurevic, who tapped in a simple finish at the back post to give his side 1-0 lead after 22 minutes.
After watching his side restart the match, it was not long before goalkeeper John Dimitrakis was turning around to pick the ball out of the back of his net again, as Olympic conceded a quick second in the 25th minute.
Manly’s Bradley McDonald picked up a lofted through ball on the fringe of the penalty area and, finding himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper, swept a fine volley under Dimitrakis to double his side’s advantage.
The momentum was now well and truly with the visitors, and they scored again in the 27th minute – their third goal in the space of five minutes – when Daniel Saric drove past two Olympic defenders in front of goal, before swiping his shot back across the goalkeeper and inside the far post to push Manly’s lead out to three.
The stunned Olympic side did not know how to react, and it did not take long for the crisis to worsen.
Saric took further advantage of some sloppy defending to find enough space on the right to rifle a shot across the face of the goal and past Dimitrakis, giving his side a seemingly unassailable 4-0 lead with ten minutes left before half-time.
Olympic’s task was made all the more difficult when Scott Balderson received his second yellow card for a late challenge in the midfield, leaving the home side with ten men for the entirety of the second half.
The second half began much the same as the first, with Manly now determined to hold their four-goal advantage, and Olympic eager make a dent in the score line.
Manly’s Adam Parkhouse was especially lively down the left wing, drawing a solid save from Dimitrakis shortly after the break after cutting inside his defender on the flank.
Manly seemed destined to score a fifth, and nearly had it when Brendan Cholakian drifted in from the left side and whipped a shot high across Dimitrakis, but the ball dropped onto the crossbar and bounced away from danger.
The visitors hit the woodwork again shortly afterwards; Parkhouse’s effort rebounding off the base of the right post to Pandurevic, who couldn’t reposition himself quickly enough to manage a meaningful shot on goal.
Opportunities, when they fell to Olympic players, often went wasted on a bitterly cold and windy afternoon, and William Angel might have pulled one back for his side when played through by Go Shirai on the edge of the Manly penalty area, but Mitchell was quick to rush out and smother the threat.
Manly’s fifth goal eventually came when Christopher Payne sent an 85th minute free kick sailing over the wall and past a bemused Dimitrakis, who saw the ball very late.
With just pride to play for, Olympic rallied in the final minutes of the game to score a goal of its own, when Brayden Sorge got a foot to a loose ball in the penalty area.
The touch was enough to squeeze the ball under Mitchell and score with what was ultimately the last touch of the match.
Olympic’s Grant Lee was largely disappointed with his team’s effort, but saw positives in their performance in the second half.
"We conceded three quick goals – when you’ve got five minutes between the first and the third, heads are going to drop. It went from bad to worse from there,” Lee said.
"What we need in these games is a bit of physicality. Teams that are prepared to work hard get results – that’s something we need to work on, clearly.
“In the second half we only had ten men and we did well to close that out 1-1, with three or four opportunities to do more. Hopefully it’s another lesson for us, and we’ll move on to next week."
Manly’s Daniel Saric was happy to have scored twice to help his side over the line.
"It’s a relief to get on the score sheet after a bit of a drought. We’ve got two wins from two now, so we’re happy with the result,” Saric said.
"It’s hard to keep your head screwed on and keep the momentum going when you’re up by four at halftime.
“We knew that Olympic would come out hard and strong after halftime, so we just wanted to keep the momentum with us. We went through some sloppy patches, but overall I think we dominated, so we’re very happy with how we ended this match."
Sydney Olympic FC 1 (Sorge 90′)
Manly United FC 5 (Pandurevic 22′, McDonald 25′, Saric 28′ 33′, Payne 85′)
Sunday July 12, 2015
Belmore Sports Ground
Referee: James Lewis
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields & Danny Horstead
Fourth Official: Karl Davies
Sydney Olympic FC: Dimitrakis, Williams, Balderson, Danaskos, Egger, Gaitatzis, Hooper, Ozbey (Hatzimouratis), Shirai, Sorge, Spyrakis
Substitutes Not Used: Markovic, Soeda, Gaitatzis, Henderson
Red Card: Scott Balderson
Manly United FC: Mitchell, Bragg (Ferguson), Cholakian (Payne), Gallagher, Lobb, McDonald, Oughtred, Pandurevic, Parkhouse, Saric, Williams (Kuleski)
Substitutes Not Used: Castelnuovo, Catlin
– by Max Grieve, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter
*Subs and Cautions were not recorded at the time of printing