The home side played some excellent football but Sydney Olympic had them stuttering at the back at times, which is something the Sharks have not been used to this season – perhaps the sign of a hectic week where they beat Manly United (twice) and then completed the hat-trick against their fourth placed visitors.
As has often been the case this campaign, Olympic went hard from the start and could have secured the lead in only the 2? minute when a Chris Triantis effort was tipped around the post by Sharks goalkeeper Phillip Zabaks, arguably the best custodian in the League this season.
Sutherland drew from this affront and slowly took control of the match resulting in Man-of-the-Match Brendan Gan netting the opener on 15? minutes when a searching long-ball had the Olympic defence in disarray. Gan gathered the ball in well from over his shoulder, twisted one way and then back before unleashing a powerful right-footed shot leaving Michael Herbert in the Sydney Olympic goal with no chance.
Olympic were not out of the match at this stage and probably deserved something for their endeavors, but it was a night when it simply wasn?t to be and they went into the break down by the single strike, although a bit of niggle had crept into the game at this point. Paul Wither and Triantis (Sydney Olympic) and George Souris (Sutherland Sharks) finding their way into referee Kris Griffiths-Jones? notebook.
It was the visitors who took the game to Sharks from the outset of the second-half whistle and should have been level, if not in front, inside of 3? minutes when Peter Zorbas crossed for Siraj All-Tal to head wide and then a penalty box scramble of limbs and bodies saw the ball eventually cleared from the home side?s line. From then on it was nearly all the Sharks. That said, Zorbas also had a header tipped over by Zabaks that clearly looked goal-bound 2? minutes later.
Sutherland secured the match, to all intents and purposes, when another long ball forward saw Gan show his pace to outrun two defenders and lob the goalkeeper with aplomb from outside the box after Herbert came for the ball and appeared to stop in his tracks.
On 69? minutes it was 3-0 to the Sharks after some beautiful lead-up work. Michael Katz, an ever present threat on the night, released Jim Bakis down the right-hand side and his pin-point cross was met by the head of Brad Boardman stooping low to net the his first of the night and finish off the scoring, but it was more about the accuracy of the cross than the finish.
Olympic battled on but the three-nil win for the Sharks was a comprehensive win, although the home side may well have had a helping hand:
?It?s like the guys simply were not up for the match tonight,? an Olympic spokesperson said.
?The reality is that any hope of the Minor Premiership has almost certainly passed.
?Too many individual mistakes have cost us dear yet again and too many of the players didn?t put in. We know it and so do they,? they finished.
Sharks coach Brian Brown was in a better, if somewhat relieved, mood when saying: ?It?s been a tough week with beating Manly United (twice) and now Olympic without conceding a goal, so it?ll be good for the lads to have a bit of a rest this week before we head off to Sydney United in the next round because they could do with a breather.
?It was a comprehensive and very pleasing win at the end of the day but that wasn?t the Sydney Olympic of earlier in the season, they didn?t really play to their potential tonight.
?Take nothing away from our lads though, they did it tough and at times in style, and the three points mean that we remain unbeaten and if other results go our way this weekend, who knows,? he concluded.
Sutherland Sharks 3 (Brendan Gan 15?, 64?, Brad Boardman 69)
Sydney Olympic 0
Venue: Seymour Shaw, Miranda
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referees: Murray Wilson, Allyson Flynn
Fourth Official: Mark Clisdell
Sutherland Sharks: 99. Phillip Zabaks; 15. Michael Katz, 2. George Souris, 4. Pedj Bojic, 11. Ben Spruce, 3. Brendan Gan (14. Nick Stavroulakis 82?), 8. David Huxley (10. Matthew Hall 86?), 22. David Reid (16. Michael Robinson 63?), 37. Neal Jablonski (38. Jim Nikas 75?), 9. Brad Boardman, 7. Jim Bakis.
Substitutes Not Used: 21. Michael Brandalise
Yellow Cards: George Souris 37?
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic: 1. Michael Herbert; 3. Emmanuel Zunino, 4. Michael Jurilj, 5. Michael Cindric, 8. Paul Wither, 9. Anthony Hartshorn, 37. Siraj All-Tal, 16. Nathan Sherlock, 17. Iain Ramsay, 22. Peter Zorbas (12 James Kovas 69′), 18. Chris Triantis.
Subs not used: 10. Anthony Doumanis
Yellow Cards: Paul Wither 28?, Chris Triantis 30?
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Brendan Gan (SS)
2 ? Ben Spurce (SS)
1 – Jim Bakis (SS)
-By Micky Brock