Sydney Olympic made it successive wins under new coach Grant Lee with a 2-0 victory over APIA-Leichhardt Tigers at Lambert Park on Sunday, courtesy of goals to Kingsley Williams and Zak Elrich.
In the 3’ minute William Angel fired in a sharp free-kick to be met by the head of Amaury Gauthier whose touch sent the ball past the post as Olympic mounted the first meaningful attack of the match.
All the early pressure came from the visitors but the choice of final ball or the offside trap negated any progress in the scoring department, although Paul Henderson saw plenty of the ball when receiving a multitude of back passes between the Olympic sticks.
APIA-Leichhardt Tigers didn’t mount a serious challenge until the 10’ minute and even then it was a cross-turn-shot when Jin Sung Lee slipped Jason Oswell in down the right and his cross had Henderson down to stop but a minute later the Tigers number nine possibly should have done better with a header that looped over the bar.
From the 15’ to 25’ minute the play became bogged down in a midfield tussle that didn’t truly excite but then the home side stepped up a gear and created a trio of chances to open the scoring but for tenacious defence and wayward finishing.
A defensive lapse by Olympic paved the way with Jin Sung Lee pouncing on a loose ball to fire goal ward only for Henderson to semi smother and the clearance completed off the line by Marton Vass.
Within a minute Oswell had the chance with a well-placed header down to Henderson’s left the shot stopper was agile enough to reach at full stretch and retain before the Tigers striker broke down the right and unleashed a shot the big Olympic ‘keeper was grateful to see slide wide of the far post.
Lee and Oswell were combining well for the Tigers and should have the home side on the board with the chances they undertook but it was the same old story for the home side that they were not taken, and with Kingsley Williams showing great poise and control on the ball and the ability to play the right pass it was an intriguing passage of the game.
Olympic responded in the 33’ minute when Luke Grima lashed at a chance but skewered it wide of the upright as an end to end battle began to take shape.
Ibrahim Haydar was adjudged to have given away a foul on the edge of the box in the 42’ minute for Olympic that was eventually taken by Franco Parisi from a very promising position, though the shot sailed skyward and well wide of the target in what was one of APIA’s best chances of the opening 45’ minutes.
The break arrived without troubling the scoreboard in a fairly evenly balanced match that hadn’t looked likely early on.
Football is a game of two halves and if ever that were evident it was here when Mark Byrnes, on his return to first team duty for the Tigers, brought down Luke Grima inside the box to concede a penalty on 48’ minutes, duly despatched by Williams to give Olympic the lead.
What followed was a comedy of errors for the visitors second when goalkeeper and defender were involved in a blunder in the six-yard box, allowing Zak Elrich to steal in and appear to get the last touch before the ball trickled over the line.
With the lead now doubled it was left for the Tigers to go for broke and leaving themselves not only vulnerable but short at the back that Olympic looked to exploit with their pace.
APIA-Leichhardt did create several half decent opportunities, the first of which in the 61’ minute was blasted over the bar by Stephen Kayes who hit it first time on the turn and off balance in a decent if somewhat difficult attempt.
Visiting Olympic looked to have extended their lead when Amaury Gauthier broke through the Tigers middle and unleashed a long range shot that had ‘keeper Andrew Bazi magnificently diving full length to palm away for a corner.
And the barrage continued 6’ minutes later when Grima beat the offside trap and held off the strong attentions of Brendan Reilly to let fly a fierce shot that Bazi did well firstly to stop and secondly to hold as the Olympic striker followed in.
Troy Danaskos was able to skip his way down the left and centre however this time the Olympic strikers were slow to assess the play and Reilly was able to clear under pressure when skying the ball for corner that was eventually cleared.
Tigers skipper Michael West was forced to clear off the line from a William Angel attempt as the hosts came under increasing pressure and struggled to get the ball out of their half but managed to keep Olympic at bay somehow.
With neither side leaving anything in the tanks, the expected lull eventually arrived and it wasn’t until Keith Shevlin went down injured in the middle of the pitch – looking likely to be the last victim of the Lambert Park pitch – with a badly twisted knee that the Tigers produced probably their best chances of the match.
Henderson was called into action to keep Apia at bay in the 93’ minute and this was closely followed by an Oswell effort, that would have been little more than scant consolation, but the attempt was wayward.
Olympic rightly had the final word in the 96’ minute when Bazi acrobatically palmed away another Angel shot leaving APIA-Leichhardt Tigers coach Nick Rizzo to say afterwards:
“I thought we were under the pump a little for the first 15’ minutes but I thought overall in the first-half we were pretty decent and should have put away one or two good chances.
“If we had scored those chances it completely changes the complexion of the game but hats off to Olympic because they did very well in the second period.
”They managed to do what we couldn’t and that was take their two quick chances and from there they totally dominated the match.”
On the last ever State League match before the new surface is laid, he added:
“Obviously it wasn’t the way we wanted to sign off and we have played our allotted games here for this season and realistically it hasn’t been good at all.
“It’s a problem as you need to get points at home and now every game for us is away and that will only make it even tougher so we just have to keep on fighting, we all remain committed to getting the club out of the problem we find ourselves in and with Bonnyrigg away next week it isn’t going to get any easier.”
Incumbent Sydney Olympic coach Grant Lee commented:
“We had a little chat about things at half-time because we started off trying to force the issue too much in the opening 45’ minutes and although we were on top of them we had nothing to show for it as the critical ball was wrong or we took too many touches at the wrong time and started to become frustrated with ourselves.
“The guys are thinking we should be two or three up but APIA are still in the game and could pinch a goal on the break so at the break we just said let’s go through the usual processes, make sure you know what you are doing out there and be patient and the rest will follow.
“We just needed to tweak a couple of things at the break,” he continued.
“We knew we just had to trust ourselves a little more on this pitch and if we kept moving the ball the opening would appear and we could move forward with more purpose instead of trying to find the slide-rule or impossible pass.
“We did that very well in the second 45’ minutes and the pitch is, of course, what it is but we tried to play good attacking attractive football out there.”
Coach Lee played at this ground many times and with it being the last NSW State League game on the grass pitch he would certainly have to be happy with the result:
“Yes I played here many times over the years and I remember what Lambert Park was like in its prime and to come here now and see it in this condition is a real eye opener.
“It’s not just bumpy and sandy but very slippery on the surface too and that made it difficult but I have fond memories of the venue and of course I am happy to be taking the three points away too.
Footnote: We wish Keith Shevlin a very speedy recovery from what looked a nasty injury.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 0
Sydney Olympic 2 (Williams 48’ (pen), Z. Elrich 51’)
Sunday 26th May, 2013
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Referee: James Lewis
Assistant Referees: Leigh Pigram and Nathan Wotton
Fourth Official: Tim Turner
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 21.Anthony Bazi; 2.Mark Byrnes, 4.Brendan Reilly, 5.Michael West (C), 6.Jin Sung Lee (16.Sean Symons 74’), 7.Stephen Kayes, 8.Keith Shevlin (20.Joshua Symons 90’+3’), 9.Jason Oswell, 10.Franco Parisi (18.Nikola Taneski 71’), 13.David D’Apuzzo, 15.Bradley Bartels
Substitutes Not Used: 1.Simon Jaeger, 11.Nicola Rizzo
Yellow Cards: Reilly 16’, Bartels 54’, Lee 74’
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic: 1.Paul Henderson; 4.Ibrahim Haydar (C), 6.Marton Vass (29.Brayden Sorge 46’), 8.Kingsley Williams, 9.Luke Grima (10.Renato Franco Ramirez 75’), 11.William Angel, 12.Troy Danaskos, 14.Petar Markovic, 15.Zakeriya Elrich, 19.Christopher Godoy-Bascur, 22.Amaury Gauthier
Substitutes Not Used: 23.Luke Kairies, 24.Brendan Hooper
Yellow Cards: Angel 88’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Kingsley Williams (SO)
2 – Jason Oswell (ALT)
1 – Jin Sun
g Lee (ALT)
New Arts and Sports Precinct in Belmore
The Federal Labor Government will contribute $4 million towards the development of a new community arts and sports precinct in Belmore.
The precinct will comprise two new grandstands with capacity for 1,700 seats at Belmore Sports Ground, dedicated performing and visual art spaces and a two kilometre specially designed pathway linking the precinct to the town centre and public transport.
Federal Minister for Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese and local MP for Watson, Tony Burke today joined Bulldogs CEO Todd Greenberg, Chairman Ray Dib and Tony Williams, and Chris Tsioulos, President of Sydney Olympic Football Club at Belmore Sports Ground to announce the funding.
“As the home ground of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Sydney Olympic Football Club, the Belmore Sports Ground is already well known and utilised as a sporting facility,” Mr Albanese said.
“This project will combine two of the community’s great passions – arts and sport – into a single hub in the heart of one of Sydney’s most multicultural areas. It recognises the region’s need for a flagship facility and the lack of dedicated multicultural arts facility.
“The new precinct will attract international events and more visitors to the region, boost the local arts scene and secure the future of the Belmore Sports Ground as key infrastructure for south west Sydney.”
Mr Burke said he was proud to deliver the arts and sports precinct for the Watson community.
“I have worked closely with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Sydney Olympic Football Club and Canterbury City Council over the last 12 months to deliver this new facility for Sydney and our local area,” Mr Burke said.
“This precinct has long been a home for multicultural engagement in sport. Now our diverse area will have a home for art, performance and music.
“This precinct will deliver the first multicultural arts facility for this part of Sydney and deliver jobs for locals engaged in the art scene.
“The project will provide employment primarily for local artists, but also administrators, support staff and technical personnel involved in mounting and staging exhibitions, performances and events.
“The Sydney region and in particular our local area is one of the most culturally diverse in Australia. We will now have a facility right in the heart of Belmore that will enable the sharing of all our different experiences to tell the story of our nation and our region.
“For generations people have travelled the globe to make a home in our part of Sydney. Now the Australian Government has shown a commitment to make this also a home for arts and sport.”
Funding for the Belmore arts and sports precinct is being provided through Round 4 of the Regional Development Australia Fund.
Main photo: At Belmore Sports Ground Today at the announcement for the new Sydney Multicultural Arts and Sports Precinct for which our club is one of the stakeholders.
From the left, Brian Robson – Mayor of Canterbury, Mr Chris Tsioulos – President Sydney Olympic FC, Ray Dibb – Chairman- Bulldogs Football Club, Anthony Albanese – Minister for Regional Development and Local Government, Tony Williams- Player for the Canterbury Bulldogs and Tony Burke – Federal Minister for Watson.
Photo 2: Sydney Olympic President Chris Tsioulos addressing the media at today’s announcement of Federal Government approval towards the two new Arts, Performing Arts and grandstand facilities at Belmore Sports Ground and Peter Moore Field, the Multicultural Centre of Sydney.