No bore draw at Belmore


Shane Lyons had the visiting Sharks off to a good start in the third minute when his in-swinging corner from the left was spilt by ?keeper Michael Herbert and in the ensuing scramble came back out to him but his shot was coolly taken by the custodian.
As expected, nerves and ferocity played their part in this top-of-the-table clash between the two pre-season favourites for the title and it came as no surprise when Nick Stavroulakis was cautioned in the ninth minute for a crude tackle on Olympic?s Shannon Cole.
Lyons also saw yellow by the 14th minute for a careless tackle from behind but sandwiched between was a trademark Cole effort from all of 35-yards that lacked nothing but direction as it sailed past Phillip Zabaks’ right hand post.
Moments later and Cole again came close when another 30-yarder was cleared off the line in desperate fashion by the Sharks.
A power struggle ensued and the to and fro action could have seen either side value for money if they found the net but a plethora of spurned chances and squandered opportunity eventually saw the teams level at the break although Olympic had another effort cleared from the line and once again it was that man Cole.
A corner swung over from the left this time and but for diligence at the back post would have seen a quite incredible goal added to his impressive tally.
Cole and Lyons battled all evening on the flank with neither really gaining the upper hand but it made for powerful viewing.
The second-half saw much the same as the Sharks came out firing as Lyons, Michael Katz and Ben Spruce all could have begun the scoring with neat interplay but no lethal finish, especially Spruce with a diving header from a Katz cross.
That isn?t to say Olympic were never in a physical match allied to frenetic pace and after 55′ minutes their endeavor paid off handsomely.
Cole took a free-kick very similar to his effort in the last home match, 35-yards out and ten in from the sideline.
Like that effort, this meandered, dipped and curled its way into the box and evaded the attentions of everyone bar Chris Triantis who made the merest of contact to wrong foot the defender on the line but managed to hook clear it seemed.
The linesman on the far side was in perfect position to see that it had crossed the line and Olympic took the lead.
Mirko Jurilj was cautioned for the home side for a body check shortly after as Olympic stoutly defended their lead but with the Sharks pouring forward in numbers, gaps were appearing at the back which, perhaps on any other given night, the locals may have exploited.
Late in the game finally saw parity restored as Jim Bakis floated in a teasing cross for joint TeleChoice Premier League top-goalscorer Bradley Boardman, ghosting in from the edge of the box, to head home and the question must be asked as to who was picking him up and what was the ?keeper doing?
The final whistle couldn?t have come soon enough for these two contenders as they left the pitch with little, if anything, left in the tank.
Olympic coach, Milan Blagojevic, said afterwards: ?To be honest, our first half performance was not the best but we still had two chances cleared off the line.
?The disappointing thing for me was the late goal. It was a soft one to give away and that?s something we will address during the week at training.
?Overall I would have to say it was a fair result against a very good side,? he concluded.
Brian ?Bomber? Brown was reservedly happy with the point when saying: ?I think it was probably a fair result and I have to be happy with the point.
?I feel our younger lads froze a bit today as they were playing on a stage bigger than they are used to. The game was played at such a pace it needed someone to take control, put their foot on the ball and start to dictate play but that is something they will learn from.
?Overall there are plenty of positives from a tough match,? he said.
Match Stats
Sydney Olympic 1 (Chris Triantis 55?)
Sutherland Sharks 1 (Brad Boardman 80?)
Referee: Kurt Ams
Venue: Belmore Sports Ground
Attendance: 1094
Sydney Olympic: 1 Michael Herbert, 3 Emmanuel Zunino (Nathan Sherlock 75?), 5 Michael Cindric, 4 Mirko Jurilj, 14 Shannon Cole, 22 Peter Zorbas, 7 Milorad Simonovic, 10 Anthony Doumanis (James Kovas 61?), 18 Chris Triantis (11 Carlo Musumeci), 6 Roger Galayini, 9 Anthony Hartshorn
Subs not used: 19 Marino Musumeci, 20 Sam Emmanouil
Yellow Cards: 4 Mirko Jurilj
Red cards: Nil
Sutherland Sharks: 99 Phillip Zabaks, 15 Michael Katz, 2 George Souris 4 Predrag Bojic, 11 Ben Spruce, 3 Brendan Gan, 8 David Huxley (20 James Lawrence), 14 Nick Stavroulakis (22 David Reid), 6 Shane Lyons (38 Michael Robinson), 7 Jim Bakis, 9 Bradley Boardman
Subs not used: 5 Dave Abel, 1 Michael Brandalise
Yellow cards: Stavroulakis 9, Lyons 14
Red cards: Nil
Player Ratings:
3 ? Jim Bakis (SS)
2 ? Michael Cindric (SO)
1 ? George Souris (SS)
-By Micky Brock