Wollongong and Olympic Share the Spoils


The result was a fitting end to a game that was played by two very fit outfits who would be pleased with their first ?competitive? hit out for season 2008.

Wollongong FC had the first chance of the match in the 3rd minute when Striker Daniel Aliffi was fouled on the edge of the area, and the ensuing free kick-fired in by winger Tynan Diaz was glanced wide by the Wolves captain Ben Blake. Sydney Olympic came a bit closer minutes later when midfielder Matthew Mayora fired off a shot which just shaved the crossbar. 

In an open affair the Wolves were almost caught out twice in the space of minutes, firstly striker Anthony Hartshorn and then defender Emmanuel Zunino were allowed free headers when they were left unmarked on the Wolves’ far posts, luckily for rookie keeper Daniel Nash both chances failed to test him, spraying wide and over the bar.

Nash was a surprise starter for the Wolves when star signing Justin Pasfield was called into the Queensland Roar camp for the Roar’s A-League finals campaign last week. 

The best chance of the first-half fell for Wollongong FC’s Nigerian striker Osagie Ederaro who had a one on one chance with Michael Herbet who stood tall near the edge of his box to block the pacey striker and force the ball away to safety. Ederaro had broken through the Olympic defence with a burst of speed only to be denied by Herbet.

Wollongong FC introduced two replacements in the second-half, with the Illawarra Football Association’s (Local League) 2007 player of the year Matthew Bailey (Bulli FC) and new recruit Alfredo (Minnesota Thunder).

Alfredo’s introduction almost paid immediate dividends with the defender (placed in a defensive midfield role) strolling through the midfield on a run that put Michael West away down the left – West?s neat cross was audaciously flicked by new recruit, and former Canberra Cosmos (NSL) striker,  Illja Prenzoski at Olympic’s keeper Herbet, who saved well from point-blank range.

It was then Olympic’s turn to pile on the pressure and in the 53rd minute some great lead-up work by their standout Anthony Doumanis saw his deft diagonal through ball fired over the bar by their ?big man? up front Paul Wither.

Doumanis was in the thick of every Olympic attack and just minutes later he had a chance to score but his header was sent sailing over the bar.Persistence paid off for Olympic and they were rewarded with the opening goal in the 59th minute through their young under 20’s striker Emmanuel Giannaros who replaced Hartshorn just before half-time.

Giannaros rose above the scrambling pack in front of goal to place home a header from a wide cross.

The header was almost saved off the line in desperation by Diaz for the Wolves but his goal line clearance was a little late and the ball had crossed the line to give Olympic the lead. 

The Wolves wanted to hit back quickly, and following a solo run and shot by Prenzoski his thrust into Olympic’s final third paid dividends when in the 69th minute he headed a perfect cross from West, diagonally across to a diving Daniel Aliffi, who fired his header past the helpless Herbet to score. 1-1.

Both sides tested each other for the remaining 20 minutes with attractive open play, not normally seen in a first up pre-season cup match, but they were unable to break the deadlock. 

Wollongong FC’s coach – John Turner said after the game: ?I am very pleased with the hit out, it was pleasing to see in such early stages of the pre-season that my players are producing movement on the paddock that we have practiced at training.?

Turner also mentioned that the team has worked hard on their fitness in the off season and the early signs are pleasing. Wollongong FC’s captain ? Ben Blake re-iterated Turner’s comments: ?I was pleased with the formation and the way we held it strong throughout the game?. 

Wollongong now head to Lidcome Oval on Wednesday night (8.30pm) for a meeting with the NSW Premier League’s new addition, the West Sydney Berries, whilst Sydney Olympic have a battle with Marconi at Seymour Shaw on the same night (6.45pm).

Match Stats
Wollongong FC 1 (Daniel Aliffi 69′)
Sydney Olympic 1 (Emmanuel Giannaros 59′)
Saturday, 26th January 2008John Crehan Park, Cringila (Wollongong)Referee: Peter Chapman
Assistant Referees: Daniel Dewhurst, Mark Mitchell
Crowd: 350

Wollongong FC: 1.Daniel NASH (gk), 4. Michael WEST, 5. Steven HAYES, 7. Illja PRENZOSKI, 12. Chris PRICE, 13. Daniel ALIFFI, 14. Danial CUMMINS, 15. Ballamadou CONDE, 16. Tynan DIAZ, 17. Ben BLAKE (Captain), 18. Osagie EDERARO
Please Note: Interchange Rule allowing substitutes to return to the field of play was used
Substitutes Used: 3. ALFREDO, 8 Matthew BAILEY, 29. Josh PRICE, 32. Samet KAYNAK
Substitutes Not Used: Adam RODRIGUEZ (gk)
Yellow Cards: NilRed Cards: Nil

Sydney Olympic: 1. Michael HERBET, 3. Emmanuel ZUNINO, 6. Roger GALAYINI, 8. Paul WITHER, 9. Anthony HARTSHORN, 11. Anthony DOUMANIS, 14. Shannon COLE, 15. Matthew MAYORA, 16. Mirko JURILJ, 18. Chris TRIANTIS, 19. Marino MUSUMECI
Please Note: Interchange Rule allowing substitutes to return to the field of play was used
Substitutes Used: 5. Lee MIOT, 7. Siraj AL-TALL, 12. Iain RAMSAY, 13. Emmanuel GIANNAROS, 17. Phillip  PYLIOTIS
Substitutes Not Used: Nil
Yellow Cards: Mirko Jurilj 16′, Shannon Cole 27′, Paul Wither 80′
Red Cards: Nil

Player Ratings
3 points ? Illja Prenzoski ? Wollongong FC
2 points ? Anthony Doumanis ? Sydney Olympic
1 point ? Paul Wither ? Sydney Olympic