Dead Ball Specialist Cole strikes again


His first from a 30-metre free-kick in the 30th minute was worth the entry fee alone as he curled a shot into the ?keepers top right corner right to give Olympic a two-nil lead but the second was even more outstanding.
From a similar distance out but near the right hand touchline, he curled an in-swinger into the box.
Was it an attempt or a cross? No matter. The result was a perfectly placed effort that had the Wollongong’s keeper, Daniel Nash, bamboozled as it found the back of the net to his left.
Nash was in goals as Wollongong’s number one keeper Justin Pasfield was on Olyroo duty in the U.S. with Graham Arnold’s squad. 
If meant it was stunning, if not perhaps he deserved a slice of good fortune for the audacity.
It wasn?t all the Shannon Cole show though as Olympic had to weather a gritty and determined onslaught by the visitors in the opening minutes which knocked the home team out of their pre-season stride.
Slowly but surely Olympic began dismantling an enthusiastic Wollongong FC who, on any other night, could have found themselves in the lead but at best the half-chances they did have just wouldn?t go their way.
Olympic opened the scoring in the 18th minute when the big frame of the number nine, Anthony Hartshorn, slotted the ball home after good build up work on the right when tapping into the empty net.
Wollongong?s night was made no easier when midway through the half they lost Ben Blake to a freakish injury when colliding with Danial Cummins and Nash inside the box with Olympic bearing down again.
On came Chris Price and a few moments of madness ensued within the ranks of the Olympic defence as they all waited for someone else to clear the danger in their area, eventually hacking the ball away.
Sandwiched between the goals of Cole was a powerful header by Matthew Mayora in the 35th minute with a chance harder than the blocked effort he had two minutes earlier which should have troubled the visiting defence but for some terrific last ditch tackling.
As the half ended with Olympic four goals to the good, and Cole placing crosses into the danger area seemingly at will, what could the visitors produce in the second period?
Daniel Aliffi was replaced by Balla Conde as Wollongong battled hard once again but with Olympic so far ahead it was more a case of keeping the ball with the knowledge that the visitors had to attack and make the running.
They tried hard but with no breaks and little going for them it was an uphill battle too strong to surmount and although they could have conceded more, Cole terribly unlucky to not to net a hat-trick, they had few chances and squandered those they did.
Olympic coach Milan Blagojevic was rightly pleased after the match when saying: ?We played within ourselves and took our foot off the peddle in the second-half because we knew they had to come at us and so played keep-ball for long periods.?
?They started brightly but we slowly took control of the game and could have added more goals in the second-half. Overall it was a pleasing result for us.?
Wollongong coach John Turner was unavailable for comment after the match but a spokesman for the side said: ?Olympic are a big side physically and will prove a hard team to beat this season for anyone and apart from a glorious 20-minute spell in the first half I was happy with the way we kept at it and the heads didn?t drop.?
?It wasn?t our night though,? he concluded.
Match Stats
Sydney Olympic 4 (A Hartshorn 18?, M Mayora 35?, S Cole 30?, 37?)
Wollongong FC
Ground: Belmore Sports Ground
Referee: Strebe Delevski
Crowd: 1,121
Sydney Olympic: 1 Michael Herbert, 3 Emmanual Zunino, 4 Mirko Jurilj, 5 Michael Cindric, 14 Shannon Cole, 22 Peter Zorbas, 15 Matthew Mayora (Anthony Doumanis 73), Anthony Hartshorn (Milorad Simonovic 80), 18 Chris Triantis, 6 Roger Galayini (Iain Ramsey 82), Paul Wither.
Subs Not Used: 19 Marino Musumeci, 12 James Kovas
Wollongong FC: 20 Daniel Nash, 2 Alfredo Esteves, 3 Lachlan Cahill, 4 Michael West, 5 Steve Hayes, 6 Ilija Prenzoski, 9 Daniel Aliffi (Balla Conde 46), 13 Tynan Diaz, 14 Danial Cummins, 17 Ben Blake (Chris Price 25?) (Mitchell Long 46?), 18 Osagie Ederaro
Subs Not Used: 1 Adam Rodriguez
Yellow Cards: Matthew Mayora 50 (SO), Michael West 61 (WFC)
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings
3 ? Shannon Cole (SO)
2 ? Anthony Hartshorn (SO)
1 ? Paul Wither (SO)
By Micky Brock