For Olympic it was their first victory over PNU in four starts and for the locals it ended a streak of four consecutive draws. It was a fine performance from Sydney Olympic who proved they are a threat to be reckoned with for the remainder of the season.
The game started well for Olympic as they scored two goals in the opening 18? minutes. Paul Wither cut a ball back from the bye-line in the 3? minute and Matthew Mayora headed home in front of goal.
In the 17? minute it looked as though danger had been averted as a ball cut in from the left and headed towards Paul Wither at the far post was intercepted by William Stuart, who cleared it at the last moment. However a minute later Olympic had doubled their lead after Milorad Simonovic cut the ball back from the bye-line on the right and Emmanuel Zunino flicked the ball off his head into the far corner of the goal.
The first clear chance for Penrith-Nepean came in the 23? minute when Nathan Ralph blocked an attempted clearance and Carl McNaughton pounced on the ball. McNaughton sped around the defence but his shot was well covered by Michael Herbert in the Olympic goal.
A minute later Paul Wither picked up a loose ball in the penalty area, though failed to hit the target, firing over the cross bar. Then Penrith-Nepean lost Ozgur Kanyilmaz from the heart of their defence with a groin strain and Olympic took their opportunity.
In the 31? minute Matthew Mayora scored after the ball came through the middle of the park, went into the area, and three attackers surrounded Chad Taylor in the goal. Mayora was the first to get good contact with the ball and he chipped it over the goalkeeper, who seemed to be entangled with another of the Olympic players, and into the back of the net.
In the 35? minute Nathan Ralph found himself free on the left and he ran through on goal but hit his shot straight at Herbert who saved easily. Then two minutes later Mayora could have completed his hat-trick in the first-half when Paul Wither stole the ball off Ante Juric and laid it back to Mayora.
His shot was intercepted by Stuart on the way to the target. A minute later Anthony Hartshorn completed another one of his fine runs through the Penrith-Nepean defence and laid the ball into the path of Mayora who smashed the ball over the cross bar.
Before the break both Ralph and Mayora had another chance but both players put it the wrong side of the post. Then in the 44? minute Olympic had another chance with a point-blank header but Chad Taylor jumped and collected the ball very well.
Once more in the second-half the away side started strong. In the 53? minute Anthony Hartshorn headed a fourth goal home for Sydney Olympic. Iain Ramsay put the ball in from the right and Hartshorn was the first player to pounce, although there were other Olympic players also lining up to score if he did not get to it.
Five minutes later a good save from Taylor led to a corner where two Olympic shots were cleared off the line by a scrambling Penrith-Nepean defence. Then momentum swung in the 62? minute when Nathan Ralph ran through a static defence and shot away from the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Moments later, Olympic cleared a dangerous cross at the far post, conceding a corner. From that resultant corner the ball was unable to be cleared by the Olympic defence. Panagiotis Nikas hit the post and then the cross bar before Carl McNaughton collected the rebound and fired home. Now Penrith-Nepean were making Olympic nervous, especially considering the visitors had several players who had just come back from injuries and were tiring considerably.
However, Olympic also kept playing some entertaining football and Jurman just volleyed wide fifteen minutes from the end.
In the 80? minute, Paul Wither broke free only for the cover to come across and force his shot well wide of the target.
3? minutes later, Chad Taylor made a good save from a point blank-header by Olympic that really should have given them a fifth goal. The parry was then headed away by Ante Juric although it was very close to going into his own net.
In the end Olympic came away with a hard fought, but deserved, victory. It was an entertaining game with both sides playing some quality football.
Sydney Olympic coach Milan Blagojevic was delighted with the result, and pointed to the performance of Mayora as a key element to the win:
“Matthew should have been one of the leading lights of the competition this season. He has come back from injury and performed very well tonight. In the end they pushed on and we sat back on our four-goal lead. With a few boys coming back form injury we were getting tired. There were plenty of positives out of tonight, we created many chances, enough to win three games, clear chances not half-chances. If we can do that moving forward we will continue to have success.?
Abbas Saad was disappointed in the result but proud of the effort his team put in:
?We started disappointingly with our minds not on the game. However, we competed the whole match and we fought back well in the second-half. We had our chances, as they did, but in the end the difference is they took more of their chances than we did.?
Penrith Nepean United 2 (Nathan Ralph 62?, Carl McNaughton 70?)
Sydney Olympic 4 (Matthew Mayora 3?, 31?, Emmanuel Zunino 18?, Anthony Hartshorn 52?)
Venue: CUA Stadium
Referee: Attila Stibinger
Penrith-Nepean United: 1. Chad TAYLOR, 2. William STUART, 28. Ante JURIC, 17. Ozgur KANYILMAZ (23. Devrim HUSEYIN 29?), 13. Nathan RALPH, 11. ERICK ANABALON, 10. Jason BROWNE (7. Javier MANCINO 76?), 9. Carl MCNAUGHTON, 16. Michael CROMAR (4. Ryan O?SHEA 58?), 29. Panagiotis NIKAS, 5. Luke BOYD
Substitutes Not Used: 42. Daniel SCHWARZER, 3. Christopher GOMEZ
Yellow Cards: Jason Browne 20?, Chad Taylor 32?
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic: 1. Michael HERBERT, 14. Shannon COLE, 8. Paul WITHER (12. James KOVAS 93?), 7. Milorad SIMONOVIC, 15. Matthew MAYORA (6. Rodger Galayini 64?), 4. Mirko JURILJ, 3. Emmanuel ZUNINO, 5. Matthew JURMAN, 18. Chris TRIANTIS, 9. Anthony HARTSHORN, 17. Ian RAMSAY (37. Siraj AL TAL 78?)
Substitutes Not Used: 16. Nathan SHERLOCK, 20. Sam EMMANOUIL
Yellow Cards: Matthew Jurman 45?, Roger Galayini 78?, Anthony Hartshorn 89?, James Kovas 95?
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Matthew Mayora (SO)
2 – Anthony Hartshorn (SO)
1 – Nathan Ralph (PNU)
-By Stuart Jones