Olympic defang Wolves in FFA Cup

By Corinthian (Paul Green):


7:30pm, Wednesday 13 May, 2015 – Lambert Park, Leichhardt

SYDNEY OLYMPIC  FC 3 (Dimitri Hatzimouratis 55′, Harris Gaitatzis 76′, Scott Balderson 83′)


Sydney Olympic elected to play their FFA Cup Preliminary Round 7 match against fellow-NPL1 side South Coast Wolves at Lambert Park, home of APIA Leichhardt, rather than their own home base at Belmore Sports Ground.

Belmore’s need to cater to rugby league team Canterbury-Bankstown made staging this game there too difficult and having played on this Lambert Park pitch not many weeks before this, the fact that they’d be on synthetic turf, even if the Wolves would have a similar exposure even more recently at the same ground, would prove to be no major hurdle for them.

The reward for the winners here was not only one of five places among the NSW entries into the national rounds of the FFA Cup, the ‘Round of 32‘, but a potential semi-final spot in NSW’s own Waratah Cup, for which all of these NSW rounds provided a qualifying path.

Olympic ran out winners here, 3-0, over a plucky South Coast side, whose best form has been shown on its own WIN Stadium pitch, thus far, but who look a good side wherever they play.

As it transpired Olympic as of of five NSW winners were not seeded directly into the Waratah Cup semi-finals, but are required to play-off against NSW State League side Balmain Tigers who beat a team from Western NSW Mariners in Bathurst the previous night.

That game will be played on 3rd June and then a fortnight later the winners of the Olympic-Balmain tie will meet Blacktown Cty, while Sydney United will play Rockdale City Suns in the two semi-finals and then on Sunday 5th July the Waratah Cup Final will take place

Olympic winger ,William Angel, was a dynamic presence, especially down the left, in the opening period and looked like giving the hard-working South Coast defence plenty to think about.

He sprinted clear after only seven minutes and sent over a cross for Yianni Spyrakis to try and put away, but the latter succeeded only in sending the ball over the bar.

Angel’s run through in the 16th ended with a swerving shot of his own that keeper, Thomas Hamilton, did well to get to and push away for a corner.

His subsequent flag-kick was headed just wide by Olympic captain, Petar Markovic.

A minute or so later Angel’s cut-back from the by-line was steered inches wide of the right hand upright by the in-form Harris Gaitatzis.

South Coast were doing well to stay in the game, at that stage, but defended stoutly and even got away for a shot on goal of their own in the 25th.

A good passing movement led up to Jordan Murray putting his effort well over the bar.

Remarkably, for all of their territorial advantage and a frequent succession of free-kicks and corners, Olympic had nothing to show for it all before the break.

Massive Olympic pressure in the dying minutes of the half saw Dimitri Hatzimouratis, Gaitatzis and Taiga Soeda all have a go at one loose ball that the Wolves managed to get bodies in the way of, to protect their overworked keeper.

The visitors almost grabbed a shock lead in the 49th when Brett Wilson just failed to reach a decent cross from the left by Brendan Griffin, with Olympic keeper, Paul Henderson, anxiously looking on.

A huge break from the right by Brayden Sorge in the 51st saw another tantalising cross delivered, this time from the opposite flank, but again it was the South Coast side that got there first to clear the danger.

But finally, in the 54th, a swift break down the left by Angel, who cut in menacingly, saw a cross that was to prove decisive with Hatzimouratis finishing well, at last.

The Wolves were unable to regain their composure as well after that setback, but still forged forward as often as practicable.

Peter Simonovski  shot away down the left in the 61st and got close enough to goal to attempt a shot, though even from eight yards out the angle was too tight and his effort slanted across goal and away to safety.

Angel continued to figure prominently and his speed really troubled the Wolves, whose keeper looked ready to race out fruitlessly and avert the danger, but  was eventually rescued by a defender who got in the telling tackle in the 72nd. Olympic doubled their lead in the 76th.

A defensive mix-up saw Gaitatzis capitalise and lift the ball into an empty net, with a looping shot that defenders racing back could do nothing to prevent crossing the line.

Olympic substitute provided some fresh legs in the last 20 minutes and it was he who netted the third in the 83rd. Gaitatsis was the creator, this time, allowing the nimble Balderson to put the chance away after shaking off his markers.

Another Olympic substitute, Michael Gaitatzis, almost scored within minutes of his arrival, but his 89th minute shot just shaved the left hand upright.

Grant Lee, Olympic’s coach, was more than happy with the performance.

“South Coast are not a bad side and we had to work hard for the win, but I’m very happy with going through to the final stages of the Waratah and being in the last five for NSW.

“I’m not sure how we wound up with five teams, rather than four, in the Waratah Cup, but after a play-off it will be the semi-finals and we hope to be there again.

Lee is looking forward to the national rounds of the FFA and hoping for a plum draw against an A League club.

“That’s what we’re looking forward to and what will make our efforts so far in this competition even more worthwhile.

Match details

Crowd: About 250

SYDNEY OLYMPIC FC: 1 Paul Henderson (gk); 2 Brayden Sorge, 4 Brendan Hooper, 14 Petar Markovic (C),  33 Nick Tsattalios; 5 Yianni Spyrakis,  19 Go Shirai, 18 Taiga Soeda; 7 William Angel (22 Michael Gaitatzis 85), 10 Harris Gaitatzis, 9 Dimitri Hatzimouratis (11 Scott Balderson 71),
Subs not used: RGK 12 Daniel Sadaka,  25 Jason Adonis, 6 Ryan Keir

Coach: Grant Lee
Yellow cards: Nil; Red Cards: Nil

SOUTH COAST WOLVES FC:  1. Thomas Hamilton (GK); 14 Shannon Fielding, 17 James O’Rourke, 5 James Baldacchino,  7 Chris Price (C);  6 Zac McKenzie (3 Danny Lazarevski 85), 4 Brendan Griffin, 9 Peter Simonovski, 13 Brett Wilson (19 Jack Lombo 70);   8 David Stojic (16 Ben Zucco 78), 25 Jordan Murray
Subs not used: RGK 20 Thomas Manos, 10 Marcus Rimitie

Coach: Nahuel Arrarte
Yellow cards: David Stojic 50, Jordan Murray 55, Chris Price 83; Red cards: Nil

Points, ratings, etc

Referee: Kurt Ams; Assistants: Lance Greenshields and Danny Horstead
Match 7/10
Pitch: 10/10 (Synthetic)
Weather: Rather cold, dry, little breeze

Players noted: William Angel (SO), Nick Tsattalios (SO), Harris Gaitatzis (SO), Chris Price (SCW), Shannon Fielding (SCW), James O’Rourke (SCW)