Blacktown City Hold Off Gritty Olympic
Article from www.nswpl.com.au
Blacktown City FC retained its top spot on the IGA NPL NSW Mens 1 ladder after defeating Sydney Olympic 2-1 on a chilly Sunday winter's afternoon at Belmore Sports Ground.
Captain Travis Major and influential Japanese import Ryuji Miyazawa shocked Sydney Olympic midway through the first half before Harris Gaitatzis scored from a free kick in the 66th minute.
Sydney Olympic were left rueing a number of missed opportunities late in the match that could have earned them a draw in an entertaining match.
Blacktown City sent an early warning sign to Sydney Olympic in the first minute of the match when Major rose well to head the ball over the bar from a corner.
Both sides settled into the match in the following 10 minutes but were unable to break open each other's defence.
The league leaders started stringing some great phases of play together and opened the scoring in the 17th minute.
Miyazawa threaded a beautiful ball between Bradley Sorge and Yianni Spyrakis to Mitchell Mallia who took a touch before cutting back to an oncoming Major who calmly slotted the ball past Paul Henderson to give the City a 1-0 lead. It was Major's 14th goal of the season.
Olympic's defence was in a shambles following the goal as Blacktown continually got in behind their defence out wide.
Their indecisiveness led to Blacktown's second goal in the 25th minute as Major headed the ball back across the face of goal from a corner with Miyazawa volleying home from the edge of the six yard box as three Sydney Olympic defenders were caught ball watching.
Olympic's day got worse in the 40th minute when recent new signing Nik Tsattalios was forced from the field with a knee injury.
Harris Gaitatzis took it upon himself to try and get his side back into the match in the 44th minute, cleverly beating two players along the by-line before his cut back was deflected out for a corner.
Sydney Olympic came out of the blocks with more intent in the second half, passing the ball around well forcing Blacktown to sit deep in their own half.
In the 55th minute Olympic had a chance to peg one back when a deep corner caught Blacktown keeper Blake Tuxford in no man's land but Evan Kostopoulos was unable to divert his header into the net.
Blacktown were unlucky to not score a third only two minutes later when Treloar was dispossessed leading to a great one-two between Daniel Araujo and Miyazawa only for referee Kurt Ams to call the game back for an offside ruling.
The momentum completely swung from the 60th minute as Sydney Olympic pinned Blacktown into their own half led by Gaitatzis.
The midfielder went close to opening the scoring for his side in the 62nd minute with a clever free kick cleared off the line by Zac Cairncross.
Three minutes later Gaitatzis sent a similar free kick into the box catching the Blacktown defence flat footed again as the ball creped into the far post to make it 2-1.
Olympic had Blacktown rattled and had a great chance to equalise in the 68th minute when Kostopoulos headed wide off a Taiga Soeda free kick.
Blacktown weathered the storm well and started pushing forward late in the match. Araujo went on a weaving run in the 81st minute getting around three defenders only for his imposing shot to be easily saved.
City substitute Danny Choi was next to test the Olympic defence in the 85th minute when Matt Lewis found him in space only for the winger's shot to hit the side netting.
Dimitri Hatzimouratis had a golden opportunity to earn a point for Olympic in injury time as Petar Markovic's long ball caught out Cairncross, but the former A-League striker could not bring the ball down in time as Tuxford came off his line to claim the ball.
Following the match Blacktown City head coach Mark Crittenden was happy with his side's performance.
"It was a solid performance but it wasn't easy," Crittenden said.
"It was quite blustery and I actually said at half time the breeze could have given Olympic another two goals.
"You can never be comfortable against Sydney Olympic, they're a very good side.
"But I thought Posco (Jacob Poscoliero) and Zac (Cairncross) were outstanding at the back again.
"Overall it was one of those days that we needed to get those points."
In the home dressing room Sydney Olympic captain Petar Markovic said giving Blacktown a two goal lead hurt his side.
"You can't give Blacktown City a two goal lead and that's what we did," Markovic said.
"We gave them a little bit too much respect in the first half.
"In the second half I think that changed, we had more possession and dominated. We got that goal but unfortunately we couldn't get a second.
"Blacktown City is one of the best teams in the competition, they are very well structured and play good football.
"If we want to play finals football we have to match that and if not play better."
Sydney Olympic 1 (Gaitatzis 66')
Blacktown City 2 (Major 17', Miyazawa 25')
Venue: Belmore Sports Ground
Referee: Kurt Ams
Sydney Olympic: 1.Paul Henderson, 2.Brayden Sorge, 6.Ryan Keir, 7.William Angel (9.Dimitri Hatzimouratis 63'), 10.Harris Gaitatzis, 14.Petar Markovic (c), 15.Yianni Spyrakis, 18.Taiga Soeda, 19.Go Shirai (17.James Andrew 78'), 23.Evan Kostopoulos, 45.Nik Tsattalios (5.Bradley Treloar 40')
Substitutions not used: 12.Kresimir Kardum
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
Blacktown City: 13.Blake Tuxford, 3.Giorgio Speranza, 5.Jacob Poscoliero, 7.Travis Major (c) (11.Danny Choi 84'), 8.Sasa Macura (6.Matt Lewis 67'), 9.Ryuji Miyazawa, 14.Mitchell Mallia (12.Joel Hardwick 91'), 15.Marco Travaglini, 16.Kearyn Baccus,18.Daniel Araujo, 19.Zac Cairncross
Substitutions not used: 1.Thomas Heward-Belle, 17. Kieran Paul
Yellow cards: Macura 62', Travaglini 66', Baccus 67', Poscoliero 83'
Red cards: nil
-By Chris Georges