Sydney Olympic FC managed a 1-0 victory over the Marconi Stallions at Marconi Stadium on Saturday night in the penultimate round of the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition.
A lone goal to Oliver Puflett was all it took for the boys from Belmore to secure the victory, as Marconi were unable to answer the 28th minute goal.
Both teams went end to end in the opening stages looking to make an early mark on the match.
Marconi looked to Domenic Costanzo and Matthew Hatch in the wings to create chances, but Olympic was clinical in keeping the hosts at bay.
Despite the Stallions creating some early attacking opportunities, it was the visitors who took the lead in the 28th minute.
Roy O’Donovan was quick to pounce on a poor touch from Aleksandar Duricic to take a shot at goal which was kept out by Marconi ‘keeper James Hilton.
Sam McIllhatton then took a second shot at goal for the visitors which was cleared just in front of the line by Duricic.
The ball bounced out at Puflett who was able to convert the opportunity and get the first goal of the match.
Olympic continued to apply pressure in the final stages of the half but weren’t able to take more from the first stanza, hitting the sheds with a one-goal advantage.
Marconi came back from the half-time break with renewed vigor looking to even the score.
Hatch sent a shot towards the target in the 49th minute, but it was easily collected by Olympic ‘keeper Christopher Parsons.
Olympic came close to another goal in the 63rd minute from a Darcy Burgess corner that Hilton got a hand to, before Puflett tried to shoot at close range but Giorgio Speranza managed to clear it off the line.
Will Mutch then made a forward run from the rebound and cut the ball in to O’Donovan who tried to send it over the line, again denied by Hilton.
The ball popped out to O’Donovan who tried to hit a side volley into the goal, but it bounced high over the crossbar.
Ziggy Gordon played a quick free kick around the halfway mark to O’Donovan, who fired over the crossbar from range.
The intensity grew in the final stages as the hosts looked to try and create something to level the score, but Olympic dug in to hold them out.
Substitute Justin Vidic looked poised to score as he received the ball from Nathan Millgate and hammered it towards the target, but it hit the face of Parsons.
Marko Jesic pounced on the rebound but wasn’t able to convert as Parsons collected the ball on the floor.
Marconi earned a free kick from a dangerous area in the dying stages of the game, but Jesic’s shot was defended by Olympic’s wall, leaving the visitors with the victory.
Sydney Olympic FC coach Labinot Haliti was pleased his side was able to put on a strong performance to take the win.
“We’ve been like that all year but patches in a game have cost us, and tonight we had a full 90 minutes,” he explained.
“I said a few months ago that there is a process, it will take time, it’s no excuse, it’s a fact, but you can see the type of football we play.
“It’s not by luck, it’s designed and we’ve been working hard and I don’t look at the table, it is what it is this season.
“To come here to play this type of football, I don’t think anyone will come and do that.
“It’s the whole team, when everyone knows their job becomes easier.”
With the Premiership title out of contention, Marconi Assistant Coach Peter Pathoysis was disappointed with his side’s performance.
“I wasn’t happy with the performance at all,” he said.
“They’ve got to play to finish the season off on a high, as high as possible.
“They’re actually playing for their careers, if they want to be kept at this club, they’ve got to be playing for those last few matches – if we’re going to select the team, here’s their chance.
“In saying that, Olympic showed some good spirit for where they’re sitting on the table.
“They did win the comp last year, so they’ve got a good side – I don’t understand why they’re sitting that far down on the table.
“They deserved the win today, we were second best today.
“I can’t put my finger on it exactly, I guess having seven players unavailable, five all year, it’s been a tough season.
“It gives a chance to young blokes to show themselves and they get a chance.”
Marconi Stallions FC 0
Sydney Olympic FC 1 (Puflett 28’)
Saturday 19th August, 2023
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Ivica Covic
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields and Amber Morris
Fourth Official: Jackson Tippett
Marconi Stallions FC: 24. James Hilton, 2. Nathan Millgate, 3. Giorgio Speranza, 6. Domenic Costanzo, 9. Jordan Swibel (21. Justin Vidic 72’), 10. Marko Jesic, 11. Daniel Bouman, 12. Samuel Gulisano (41. Jonathan Soares 64’), 13. Aleksandar Duricic (22. Taylor McDonald 75’), 23. Brandon Vella, 39. Matthew Hatch (17. Martin Fernandez 64’)
Substitutes Not Used: 18. Luka Knezevic, 20. Marcus Petrovski
Yellow Cards: Duricic 21’, Millgate 81’
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic FC: 20. Christopher Parsons, 2. Peter Politis, 3. Michael Neill, 5. Zygmunt Gordon, 8. Sam McIllhatton, 9. Oliver Puflett (18. Ruben Sanchez Marcano 74’), 10. Darcy Burgess (7. William Angel 74’), 11. Adam Parkhouse (22. Fabio Ferreira 65’), 15. William Mutch, 23. Jakob Cresnar, 99. Roy O’Donovan (14. Michael Vakis 90+3’)
Substitutes Not Used: 6. Jack Simmons
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Oliver Puflett (SO)
2 – William Mutch (SO)
1 – James Hilton (MS)