Sydney Olympic and Wollongong Wolves walked away with a point each after a dire 0-0 draw during their PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash at Lambert Park on Sunday afternoon.
Despite both sides dominating parts of the match with the Wolves Nicholas Bernal and Olympic’s Oliver Green the most dangerous men, they could not create a clear cut chance to break the deadlock.
Sydney Olympic started the match on the back foot and they almost paid for it in the fifth minute.
As the Blues failed to clear a throw in, Wolves midfielder Samuel Matthews crept into the box getting to volley the ball goal bound, only for a defender to deflect the ball over the bar and out for a corner.
Four minutes later Olympic were again thanking their lucky stars when Mitchell Stamatellis’ attempted header back to his keeper fell way short of its mark allowing a flying Nicholas Bernal through on goal. With only the keeper to beat Bernal took his shot early with Paul Henderson easily claiming the ball.
The early nerves settled for Olympic as they started to get into the match and created a chance of their own on the 12 minutes when Green sent an inch-perfect ball into the box from the left finding Adrian Vranic. Unfortunately for the home side the striker’s first touch let him down with the ball going out for a goal kick.
Vranic turned provider in the 17th minute, receiving a ball from Brayden Sorge and laying off to Harris Gaitatzis who dribbled to the edge of the box before a deflected shot was easily saved by Justin Pasfield.
Olympic kept the pressure on the visitors, moving the ball around the park with aplomb leading to an advancing Jason Madonis pulling the trigger in the 24th minute, only for his effort to go wide.
Bernal remained a constant threat in front of goal for Wollongong however and in the 30th minute the striker had another chance to open the scoring from the edge of the box, this time forcing a better save out of Henderson.
James Baldachino found himself almost through on goal just two minutes later as he dribbled through the middle of the park linking up with two teammates before Olympic centre back Anthony Tomelic sped across to clear.
Green started to dictate play for Olympic in the centre of the park again and in the 37th minute sent a fantastic through ball to William Angel on the left hand side. The winger took a touch before his pin point cross found Vranic whose header hit the side of the net.
The midfielder was in the thick of the action just three minutes later, playing a great one-two with an advancing Madonis with the defender’s shot tipped around the post by a diving Pasfield.
Both sides came out of the break at a blistering pace attempting to counter on every occasion possible but unable to get a clear strike on target.
Henderson was called into action in the 61st minute when a Ben Zucco free kick curled goal bound forcing the keeper into a smart save, tapping the ball out for a corner.
Sydney Olympic’s chances became all the more difficult one minute later when they were reduced to 10 men after Oliver Green was shown a straight red card for dissent.
Wollongong smelt blood and could have taken the lead in the 68th minute after Henderson’s poor clearance fell straight to the chest of Darcy Madden. The attacker brought the ball down before switching the ball to the left and an oncoming Peter Simonovski who took a touch before his poor shot was well saved by a thankful Henderson.
Despite the disadvantage the Blues started playing football like they were a man up with 20 minutes remaining.
In the 76th minute they found space on the right with Brayden Sorge dribbling the ball into the box with his rocketing shot fantastically saved by Pasfield.
The onslaught continued four minutes later as a Harris Gaitatzis’ free kick found a free Anthony Tomelic only for his header to float wide.
With six minutes remaining Michael Gaitatzis had a great opportunity to score but his free kick curled over the wall and out for a goal kick.
Kota Kawase was the hero in the final minutes of play as the defender threw himself towards the ball to block a cracking Howard Fondyke volley out for a corner to end the game a stalemate.
Following the match Wollongong Wolves head coach Jacob Timpano said he was disappointed not to take the three points back to the South Coast.
“Away from home I suppose you take a point but in the context of the game, especially in the first half I think we really dominated and really should have taken something into the break,” he said.
“We did have some decent chances, but I said to my staff as the send off happened that it is the worst thing that could have happened for us because mentally the attitude of players changes against 10 men.
“Overall they’re a good side and we will take the point but we are a little bit disappointed not to take the three.”
In the home dressing room Sydney Olympic coach Grant Lee said he was pleased with his side’s effort.
“It took us a while to get into the game, the first half an hour was a bit ordinary,” he said.
“We were very deep and it invited trouble on us, we moved the ball very slowly. But then after that for the last 15 of the first half and the second half we did really well.
“We moved it, pushed it and put them under enormous pressure. We went down to 10 men and still took the game to them and had multiple opportunities.
“So in that sense it is encouraging. We’ve been getting better and better every week with our mentality and today was just another good test.”
Sydney Olympic 0
Wollongong Wolves 0
Venue: Lambert Park
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant referees: Tom Lee and Valerio Bertuccioli
Fourth official: Chris Hughes
Sydney Olympic: 1. Paul Henderson, 7. William Angel, 8. Howard Fondyke ©, 10. Harris Gaitatzis, 22. Michael Gaitatzis (14. Jack Green 89’), 16. Oliver Green, 5. Jason Madonis, 2. Brayden Sorge, 6. Mitchell Stamatellis, 3. Anthony Tomelic, 23. Adrian Vranic (11. Jacob Boutoubia 73’)
Substitutes not used: 20. Denver Crickmore, 26. Conan Morris, 15. Jake De Marigny
Yellow cards: Green 53’
Red cards: Green 62’
Wollongong Wolves: 1. Justin Pasfield, 5. James Baldacchino, 18. Nicholas Bernal (17. Ricky Zucco 89’), 2. Kota Kawase, 15. Danny Lazarevski, 6. Zachary Mackenzie, 3. Darcy Madden, 23. Samuel Matthews (8. Brendan Griffin 80’), 7. Chris Price ©, 10. David Stojic (9. Peter Simonovski 58’), 16. Ben Zucco
Substitutes not used: 20. Steven Hristovski, 12. Daniel Collison
Yellow cards: Baldacchino 56’, Simonovski 66’, Kawase 83’
Red cards: nil
3- Kota Kawase (WW)
2- Jason Madonis (SO)
1- Oliver Green (SO)
-By PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Chris Georges