Sydney Olympic ended Manly United’s unbeaten start to the National Premier Leagues NSW men’s season with a professional 2-0 victory at Cromer Park on Friday night.
Goals at either side of the break ensured the former NSL giants took three points away from the Northern Beaches.
Jason Madonis broke the deadlock from the spot in virtually the last action of the opening stanza before Fabian Monge added a second mid-way through the final 45.
It was also a welcome return to ex-Manly United star Brendan Cholakian who returned back to his former stomping ground where he left a winner with his new club.
In a relatively scrappy opening, the first shot on target arrived via Manly United’s Japanese star Seiya Kambayashi twenty minutes in.
On 32 minutes, both sides had a chance at either end as veteran Scott Balderson saw his diving header saved by Christopher Parsons and then Olympic skipper Tom Whiteside bombed forward to nearly finish off a deadly counter-attack.
Inside stoppage time, it was Daniel Dias who made a marauding run forward. The young midfielder did enough to attract contact from Finn Ashton, leading to referee Sam Kelly awarding a penalty.
Madonis sent it straight down the middle, granting Ante Juric’s men a vital lead at the interval.
The second half also took a while to get going until Kieren Paull found himself in beyond on the hour mark, only to be denied by yet another a smart one-on-one stop from Parsons.
Manly were made to rue their wastefulness ten minutes later as substitute Mohammed Adam made an instant impact, advancing to the byline and fizzing in a powerful low cross that Sam Benton could only spill into the path of Fabian Monge.
The former Wanderers academy midfielder tapped home his first goal for Olympic to the delight of the vocal travelling fans.
Manly pushed hard for a way back into the contest but all in all struggled to break down a defensively resolute Olympic unit.
17-year-old livewire Ben Gibson was introduced, and while he went close with a late header, could not replicate his heroics of a week ago.
The result saw Olympic record their third victory of the season, while Manly slipped off top spot on goal differential.
Post-game, Blues manager Ante Juric was pleased with his side’s showing to bounce back from a difficult defeat to take last time out.
“Last week we dominated, we just didn’t score – we lost points there we should have won,” he said.
“Manly were top of the table, playing good football and it was a very interesting game for us to approach.
“I’ve been happy with these guys all year, but today they got a just reward for playing well.”
On the other hand, Adam Griffiths knew his squad had more to show for than their display against Olympic.
“You’re always disappointed when you lose, we were sloppy and the players know that,” he reflected.
“The conditions were gusty and that may have played into their hands but they were a strong side and once they got their noses in front from a sloppy goal tough to break down.
“I didn’t feel overly threatened by them in the first half, there was a little bit of pressure, but to give a goal right on half time on a soft penalty sets that tone and we didn’t really recover from that.”
Manly will look to bounce back against Northbridge Bulls next Saturday, while Olympic will take plenty of contest into a tasty round 8 matchup with Marconi.
Manly United FC: 0
Sydney Olympic: 2 (Madonis 45+1, Monge 68’)
Friday, 9 April 2021
Cromer Park, Dee Why
Referee: Sam Kelly
Assistant Referees: Joon Park, Ivica Covic
Fourth official: Matt Reidy
Manly United FC: 19. Sam Benton, 2. Kieren Paull, 15. Jesse Piriz, 4. Jimmy Oates, 16. Seiya Kambayashi, 5. Sam Gallagher (6. Joe Fox 73’), 24. Finn Ashton (3. James Georgaklis 45’), 7. Jack Fulton , 12. Luca Kmet, (10. Richie Cardozo 58’), 14. Dejan Pandurevic, 13. Scott Balderson (31. Ben Gibson 73’)
Substitutes not used: 1. Dylan Mitchell, 20. Alen Aganovic
Yellow cards: Balderson 42’, Piriz 80’
Red cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic: 70. Christopher Parsons, 2. Thomas Whiteside, 4. Benjamin Van Meurs, 5. Michael Glassock, 8. Jason Madonis, 9. Oliver Puflett, 10. Brendan Cholakian, 11. Adam Parkhouse (35. Mohammed Adam 66’), 18. Yu Hasegawa (17. Marley Peterson 68’), 21. Fabian Monge (6. Nicola Kuleski 75’), 23. Daniel Dias
Unused subs: 7. ANGEL William, 22. FERREIRA Fabio, 30. KAIRIES Luke, 6. KULESKI Nicola
Substitutes Not Used: 30. Luke Kairies, 22. Fabio Ferreira, 14. Peter Kekeris
Yellow cards: Van Meurs 74’, Dias 77’
Red cards: Nil
3 – Fabian Monge (SO)
2 – Daniel Dias (SO)
1 – Jason Madonis (SO)
– By Football NSW reporter and commentator Chris Curulli (Twitter handle @ChrisCurulli)