VETERAN shotstopper James Chronopoulous was the star performer as Bonnyrigg clung on for a 0-0 draw in its PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash against Sydney Olympic FC at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday.
Chronopoulous howed why he is routinely mentioned as one of the top keepers in the competition with save after save to ensure the White Eagles took away a point from the Round 7 clash.
A frenzied opening 10 minutes featured plenty of action but no clear cut chances.
Howard Fondyke, the Olympic skipper, fired the first serious shot of the match but his effort from outside the box was wide of the mark.
In the 23rd minute Aaron Peterson stole the ball in midfield and slipped a pass to Robbie Younis but Peterson miss kicked and wasted the return pass from Younis.
Younis flashed a shot wide four minutes later as the visitors opened up the Olympic midfield and defence.
At the other end of the field Olympic had few opportunities and struggled to make its mark on the match.
To Olympic’s credit, they dug in and James Chronopoulos needed to make a sliding save to deny Harris Gaitatzis.
Olympic went straight up the pitch and thought they had taken the lead when Chronopoulos was well beaten by Jason Madonis .
Madonis’ shot from distance rebounded back into play but came too quickly to Gaitatzis whose secondary effort flew wide.
Tactically and physically it had been a hard half of football but the teams went to the break without troubling the scoreboard.
In the 49th minute Oliver Green was unable to capitalise on a loose ball that trickled agonisingly wide of the post after Chronopoulos fumbled the ball under a heavy challenge.
It was a battle of attrition in the middle of the park with neither capable of breaking the deadlock.
It was Chronopoulos who came to the rescue in the 67th minute when he batted down a Gaitatzis shot.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic and a cheeky Peterson back-heel almost caught Henderson out at his near post.
When Olympic broke in the 84th minute through Boutoubia it took a last ditch tackle from Robinson to save the day.
If the tackle was slightly mistimed it would have been a penalty and likely a red card but Robinson’s effort was a perfect interception.
Boutoubia, a live wire since his inclusion, thought he had secured the points for Olympic.
His shot angled goal-ward only for Chronopoulos to palm it around the upright at full stretch.
Olympic coach Grant Lee said his side need to be more clinical in front of goal.
“It’s been a little bit of our story so far this season. We create chances but cant find the net and that leads to us giving away cheap silly goals,” he said.
“The good thing is we were mentally tough throughout the whole game and didn’t concede so that is pleasing. We’ve done that against teams sides this season but we got a little strung out at times but we stayed strong.
“Bonnyrigg is always a tough team to beat and although we didn’t find the net it was a far better performance”
White Eagles defender Michael Robinson said it was an off day for his side.
“It was just one of those days when we didn’t really turn up and they gave us a tough match through that,” he said.
“The guys put in a good shift but it simply didn’t fall our way. Jimmy (Chronopoulos) kept us in the match and although we didn’t play very well we didn’t lose and credit has to go to everyone for that.”
“It was a tough day at the office today.”
Sydney Olympic 0
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 0
Sunday, 24th April, 2016
Belmore Sports Ground, Belmore
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Nick Backo & Janush Adabjou
Fourth Official: Chris Hughes
Sydney Olympic: 1. HENDERSON Paul, 2. SORGE Brayden, 4. EGGER Leigh, 5. MADONIS Jason, 6. STAMATELLIS Mitchell, 71. ANGEL William, 8. FONDYKE Howard ©, 9. TRIANTIS Chris (11. BOUTOUBIA Jacob 36’), 10. GAITATZIS Harris, 16. GREEN Oliver, 22. GATATZIS Michael (37. MONTFORD Eoin 82’)
Substitutes Not Used: 3. TOMELIC Anthony, 20. CRICKMORE Denver,
Yellow Cards: Madonis 66’, Egger 84’
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1. CHRONOPOULOS James, 3. VRANKOVIC David (2. MANSUETO Alexander 90+4), 4. ROBINSON Michael, 5. JENNER Adam, 6. ZONJIC Nikola, 9. YOUNIS Robert © (7. KONDEK Gregory 71), 10. KOKADO Yuta, 16. GALLAWAY Samuel, 17. GIL Mun-Soo, 19. PETERSON Aaron, 21. CHUN Bo-Hyun (14. McDONALD Taylor 84)
Substitutes Not Used: 13. McKENZIE James,, 20. SAVICIC Stevan
3 – James Chronopoulos BWE
2 – Harris Gaitatzis SO
1 – Michael Robinson BWE
-by Micky Brock, PlayStation®National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter