An 11th minute Jason Madonis penalty was all it took as Sydney Olympic clung on for a hard fought win against rivals Rockdale City Suns in a physical clash at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday.
The win was Olympic’s first win against Rockdale since 2015 and catapults the reigning premiers into the top five for the first time since the opening weeks of the season
Madonis was clinical from the penalty spot early in the contest to give the home team a lead they would be forced to defend for more than 80 minutes in what was a torrid and chippy encounter.
For Rockdale the loss is another heartbreaking result and is sure to heap more pressure on interim boss Nick Porecca.
There was plenty of action between the two sides from the get-go, with the first goal coming just 11 minutes into the match.
Rockdale’s Nic Petrillo brought down Olympic’s Peter Kekeris in the box, leaving Referee Ben Abraham with no choice but to award a penalty.
Madonis stepped up to the spot and sent his shot out of reach of Rockdale custodian David Bradasevic to take the lead for the home side early in the game.
The visitors certainly didn’t let the goal against them get them down, fighting hard in their efforts to find an equaliser, but Olympic stayed robust in defence to keep Rockdale at bay and hit the sheds with a one-goal advantage.
Both teams came back from the break firing on all cylinders, with an already physical game turning into an all-in scuffle after a late tackle from Matthew Lecce saw Nikola Kuleski curled on the ground in pain.
The game held its fire right up to the final whistle, with a nail-biting final quarter of football for fans in the stands, as the game travelled from end to end with both sides creating an abundance of threatening chances.
Rockdale looked poised for an equaliser in the final minutes as they continued to mount pressure on their opposition, but Olympic rallied to maintain their advantage and take all three points from the match.
Olympic coach Abbas Saad was pleased with his team’s effort to secure the win.
“We wanted to make a statement and not concede,” he said.
“We knew it was going to be a battle…it’s a derby.
“Credit to them, they came at us in the second half.
“Defensively we were fantastic…probably the best we’ve played all season.”
Rockdale coach Nick Porreca was disappointed his team wasn’t able to salvage a point out of the tough match.
“I think a draw would have been a fair result,” he explained.
“I think we both battled hard.”
Sydney Olympic FC 1 (Jason Madonis 11’)
Rockdale City Suns 0
Sunday 30th June, 2019
Referee: Ben Abraham
Assistant Referees: L. Greenshields, N. Bavko
Fourth Official: S. Andrews
Sydney Olympic FC: 1. Paul Henderson, 2. Thomas Whiteside, 3. Riley Woodcock, 4. Mitchell Stamatellis, 6. Nikola Kuleski, 8. Jason Madonis (22. Michael Gaitatzis 81’), 10. Harris Gaitatzis (33. Niko Tsattalios 74’), 11. Jinya An, 12. Zachary Mackenzie, 14. Alex Sanchez, 44. Peter Kekeris (17. Jack Stewart 59’)
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Ezequiel Consoni, 25. Dimi Petratos,
Yellow Cards: Thomas Whiteside 42’, Peter Kekeris 46’, Paul Henderson 50’, Zachary Mackenzie 61’, Alex Sanchez 90 + 3’
Red Cards: Nil
Rockdale City Suns FC: 1. David Bradasevic, 2. Daniel Petkovski, 5. Jake Trajkovski, 7. Alec Urosevski, 10. Nikola Taneski, 11. Leigh Egger (19. Patrick Savor 63’), 12. Idriss El Hafiane, 15. Nic Petrillo, 17. Matthew Lecce (8. Aleksander Canak 74’), 18. Sasa Macura, 45. Jordan Figon
Substitutes Not Used: 9. Jonathan Grozdanovski, , 20. Howard Fondyke, 22. Max Rowston
Yellow Cards: Alec Urosevski 17’, Jordan Figon 18’, Matthew Lecce 51’, Jake Trajkovski 90+1’
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings have now been hidden due to the second half of the season commencing.
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Madeline Reilly (@madelineriley23)