Sydney Olympic have now gone four games without a victory following a pulsating 2-2 draw against a rejuvenated Wollongong Wolves outfit in their Round 13 clash played at Belmore Sports Ground on a rainy Saturday evening.
A brace each to Roy O’Donovan for the home side and Lachlan Scott for the visitors accounted for the four wonderful goals.
It was Wollongong that took the lead very late in the first half through Scott before O’Donovan worked his magic in the second half with his two goals to put the home side in front before the Wolves attacker justifiably equalised for the visitors late in the game.
The opening chance of the encounter arrived in the 10th minute when Alex Masciovecchio dribbled through some very poor defence, but his final shot was well saved by Nicholas Sorras.
Wollongong applied pressure in the 19th minute when Takumi Ofuka fired his free-kick towards goal but it was well turned away for a corner by the Sydney Olympic defence.
Masciovecchio was at it again from just outside the box in the 23rd minute but his shot, even though it had some venom on it, crashed just over the crossbar.
In the 27th minute Chris McStay had a shot from close range for the Wolves but unfortunately for his side it went just wide of the mark.
A minute later and the Wollongong Wolves had a penalty that wasn’t fully capitalised on.
Lachlan Scott was downed by Peter Politis in the box as referee Sam Kelly pointed to the spot. Scott dusted himself off but fired his shot against the post and the fortuitous rebound ended up in the arms of Sorras, much to the cheers of the home fans in the stand.
On the half hour mark Sydney Olympic had their first real chance of the encounter when Adam Parkhouse fed the ball to O’Donovan, but his diagonal shot went across the face of goal and wide of the mark.
In 40th minute McStay had another great shot that was brilliantly saved by Sorras as the Wolves continued to turn the screws.
Wollongong Wolves deservedly opened the scoring right at the death of the first stanza when Scott scored from close range thanks to some great lead-up play by Jake Trew on the left as David Carney’s men went into the sheds 1-0 up.
Sydney Olympic had the opening chance of the second half as a long cross from the right reached Parkhouse in the box but his flying header was just wide of the mark.
Sydney Olympic then equalised in the 58th minute.
A cross by Oliver Puflett was headed away but only as far as O’Donovan on the edge of the box who struck it first time with great power and drilled it into the back of the net.
On the hour mark the heavens opened and the rain bucketed down in what was no ordinary downpour, but luckily it didn’t last long or interfere with proceedings except for making the conditions very slippery indeed.
In the 75th minute O’Donovan struck again from an acute angle after some nice lead up work from Politis who fed him the ball from the by-line and the home fans certainly found their voice to celebrate.
However Olympic’s lead was short-lived as in the 83rd minute Scott struck for his second.
A cross by Samuel Riak was headed back by Nav Darjani at the far post perfectly for Scott to pounce and score on the turn.
Late in the encounter Wollongong almost snatched victory when the ball bobbed up in area perfectly for Scott who volleyed just wide of the goal.
Post-game Sydney Olympic coach Labinot Haliti was satisfied with the result following its 3-0 loss to APIA Leichhardt last weekend.
“We have had three games in five days,” he said.
“We are now starting to get to where we need to be but it’s a long process.
“We showed great character tonight, but we also have to give Wollongong credit because they took their chances when they had them.
“It’s disappointing to lead 2-1 and then draw but we always knew that fatigue was going to kick in with the week that we have had.
“Now we’ll move on because we have a normal week and then we go again with three games in five days but that’s what you want as a footballer to have all these games.”
Wollongong Wolves coach David Carney was disappointed to have only taken home a point but was still very pleased with his young side.
“In the first half we could have been 2-0 up but in the second half we can say that O’Donovan is there for a reason – to score goals – because he is clinical and we knew at half time that we shouldn’t give him an inch,” he stated.
“We changed a few things around in the second half too and started pressing them further upfield.
“However, in all honesty, we would have been very unlucky to have lost that game, so I’ll take a draw, but all the boys feel like they have thrown two points away here.
“Overall, we are a very young team which is full of energy, and I am very proud of them.
“Our players are always improving, getting better and obviously we’ll learn from someone like O’Donovan and the need to shut players down like him.”
Sydney Olympic 2 (O’Donovan 58’ & 75’)
Wollongong Wolves 2 (Scott 45’+2 & 83’)
Saturday 29th April 2023
Belmore Sports Ground
Referee: Sam Kelly
Assistant Referees: Justin Pantich and Thomas Dale
Fourth Official: Ayad Naji
SYDNEY OLYMPIC: 1. Nicholas Sorras, 2. Peter Politis, 3. Michael Neill, 4. Benjamin van Meurs, 5. Zygmunt Gordon, 9. Oliver Puflett (6. Jack Simmons 80’), 10. Darcy Burgess, 11. Adam Parkhouse (12. Matthew Buettner 80’), 24. Hagi Gligor (8. Sammy McIllhatton), 29. John Fitzgerald (22. Fabio Ferreira 66’), 99. Roy O’Donovan.
Substitutes not used: 14. Michael Valkis, 20. Chris Parsons
Yellow Cards: O’Donovan 43’, Burgess 54’
Red Cards: Nil
WOLLONGONG WOLVES: 13. Tomas Butkovic, 3. Harrison Buesnel, 5. Banri Kanaizumi, 7. Marcus Beattie, 8. Samuel Riak, 9. Takumi Ofuka, 14. Jade Trew, 21. Ethan Beavan (11. Nav Darjani 80’), 24. Lachlan Scott, 25. Alex Masciovecchio (6. Senna Stevenson 66’), 88. Chris McStay.
Substitutes not used: 1. Nenad Vekic, 4. Dax Kelly, 17. Sami Benten, 29. Ben Giason.
Yellow Cards: Beattie 70’, Darjani 94’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Lachlan Scott (WW)
2 – Roy O’Donovan (SO)
1 – Samuel Riak (WW)
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo