However, the Berries were left empty handed after a plethora of squandered chances on a bright but chilly Sunday afternoon
Player-coach Scott Baillie almost gave the lead to the home side when his under-hit back pass was cleared by goalkeeper Hamish McLean, smartly off his line, only to collect a clattering from Paul Wither?s sliding tackle. But it was the only time former Olympic stalwart Baillie put a foot wrong all match.
Indeed, the Berries had the better of the opening exchanges with first Sash Tirovski flicking the ball over the bar followed shortly after when John Fotiadis, who collected a caution in the 36? minute, sent over a delightful in-swinging corner to be met by the head of Giosue Sama and with the goal beckoning large looped the ball over the bar.
Olympic started to claw the game back in their favour in the 10? minute when an out-swinging corner from Iain Ramsay was collected inside the box by Anthony Hartshorn with his back to goal but managing to turn and shoot. His shot, unfortunately for the brave souls in attendance, lacked venom and was straight at McLean.
With Baillie and John Ferguson absorbing the pressure of Olympic in the heart of the Berries defence it brought about an intriguing arm-wrestle for the remainder of the half that saw many a half-chance but no real conviction in-front of the sticks.
Man-of-the-Match Emmanuel Zunino could have been forgiven for thinking someone wasn?t on his side in the 25? minute after yet another in-swinger from Ramsay was met by the head of the Olympic defender only to see his effort cannon back into play off the cross-bar and cleared for a corner in perhaps the best move of the half.
With a stalemate at half-time it was all to change rapidly in the opening moments of the second period when Hartshorn had his header, although on target lacking power, cleared off the line by Baillie and then Anthony Doumanis had his header well saved by McLean in the Berries goal ? the Berries custodian smartly getting his right-hand down to the ball.
Olympic were not to be denied and in the 50? minute their endeavor finally paid off with the only goal of the game as once again a Ramsay cross found Hartshorn, for the first time able to lose his marker, in acres of space to head home.
This Berries side doesn?t know the meaning of the word ?defeat? and came back at the home side when probably they should have had an equaliser in the opening seconds of added time after Thomas crossed for substitute Dimitri Zakilas. Sadly for the visitors the ball again looped over the bar and the chance was gone.
A clearly frustrated and disappointed Berries coach, Scott Baillie commented after the match:
?I am disappointed that we got nothing from the game as I thought it was pretty even overall.
?Hartshorn didn?t do much in the match and I thought we had all their strikers pretty well covered, but he managed to get a couple of yards on our defence and scores the only goal of the game with a free header from a wicked angle.
?What annoys me most is our inconsistency. We cannot go out one week and beat one of the top teams and then let the gains slip the next. We have to stop this trend.?
Milan Blagojevic was pleased with the points for Olympic but had the following to say: ?I?m pleased with the chances we are creating but not happy with the hit/miss ratio of the team at present.
?We obviously still have a few players to come back into the reckoning from injury and the like, but it?s an opportunity for those picked to step-up and make their spot in the side an automatic selection.
?We started the second-half exceptionally well and got the early goal but credit to Scott and the boys, they came back into it and, luckily for us today, squandered a few chances.
?Overall I thought we controlled the majority of the game and I?m happy to take the three points on offer.?
Sydney Olympic 1 (Anthony Hartshorn 50?)
West Sydney Berries 0
Venue: Belmore Sports Ground
Referee: Kris Jones
Assistant Referees: Sarah Ho, Murray Wilson
Fourth Official: Brett Hookham
Sydney Olympic: 1. Michael Herbert; 16. Nathan Sherlock, 4. Mirko Jurilj, 5. Michael Cindric, 3. Emmanuel Zunino, 7. Milorad Simonovic, 18. Chris Triantis, 10. Anthony Doumanis (19. Marino Musumeci 86?), 9. Anthony Hartshorn (15. Matthew Mayora 74?), 17. Iain Ramsay (37. Siraj Al-Tall 64?), 8. Paul Wither.
Substitutes Not Used: 11. Carlo Musumeci, 21. N Tsioustas
Yellow Cards: Anthony Doumanis 80?
Red Cards: Nil
West Sydney Berries: 1. Hamish McLean; 21. John Ferguson (16. Kosta Lagoudakis 78?), 6. Jack Sobczyk, 8. John Fotiadis, 11. Aheleas Kotsopoulos, 10. John Tsironis, 17. Sash Tirovski, 9. Nicolo Sama (19. Dimitri Zakilas 53?), 7. Scott Thomas, 18. Giosue Sama (15. Ryan Jones 54?), 4. Scott Baillie.
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Angelo Petratos, 69. James Webb.
Yellow Cards: John Fotiadis 36?, Aheleas Kotsopoulos 51?
Red Cards: Nil
3 ? Emmanuel Zunino (SO)
2 ? Scott Thomas (WSB)
1 ? John Fotiadis (WSB)
-By Micky Brock