Sydney Olympic score Demons win


The Czech duo might have been disappointed by their first live viewing of the Australian domestic scene, having arrived in the country earlier in the week.

It was a match that lacked quality but delivered in tension and drama, as Ken Schembri?s Blacktown City outfit threatened to cause a massive upset following Tyler Simpson?s second-half equaliser.

A Chris Triantis penalty would ensure Sydney Olympic collected three points in what was technically an away match for the former National Soccer League giants, the fixture having been changed from the Demons? usual home ground Gabbie Stadium and rescheduled for the Saturday rather than the Sunday.

With new Sydney Olympic manager Nick Theodorakopoulos currently overseas, assistant Frank Mikuletic and U20s coach Pat Marando took charge of first-team affairs at Belmore.

It was a match that also saw Chris Cahill ? the brother of Socceroo Tim Cahill ? make an appearance off the bench for the Blues.

Lining up in an unfamiliar 5-3-2 formation to combat a number of injuries to first-team members, Sydney Olympic struggled to retain meaningful possession in the early stages of the match.

Designated midfielder goal-scorer Matthew Mayora was used as an auxiliary centre-back, as if to highlight an injury and suspension list that included the likes of Michael Cindric with respect to the former and goalkeeper, Michael Turnbull, Anthony Hartshorn, Anthony Doumanis and Emmanuel Zunino with in the latter category.

Perhaps sensing uncertainty in their opposition, the Demons began with their characteristic bite in midfield, looking to hit a flat Sydney back-line on the break and almost doing so after Joel Chianese won the ball inside the Olympic half, the ball eventually centred for target man Chris Bedzo, who headed into the ground.

It was a rare opening in what was a rather scrappy affair fought mainly in midfield, Olympic failing to break down their opponents despite breaking with numbers on occasion.

Tolgay Ozbey looked the ?home? side?s biggest threat, whilst Paul Wither?s hold-up play complimented his strike partner?s willingness to dart across the area and run at defenders.

One of Olympic?s best performers under Milan Blagojevic last season, Wither was outstanding for his side and showed a capacity for technique that defies his slightly awkward build.

Meanwhile, former A-League player Tyler Simpson was winning his individual battle with Ozbey, tackling brilliantly and offering a physical presence that was invaluable to his side at the heart of their defence.

There was nothing he could do about a wonderfully flowing move on 31? minutes though ? the first of its kind during the match ? as Paul Wither chested the ball down for Christ Triantis. The midfielder went on a surging run before slipping Ozbey into the area perfectly, though the striker delayed his shot and saw it saved at the near post.

He made no such mistake barely a minute later, finishing superbly after some more good work in the build-up play by Wither. The lanky striker dribbled his way through the centre of the Blacktown midfield before playing in his striker partner, who took the ball in his stride and fired it into the far top corner of the net.

Blacktown almost hit back in sensational fashion through Ante Deur and reminded their opponents of a lingering attacking threat borne out of a relentless work rate.

A perfectly weighted ball from inside the Demons? half cleared Olympic?s last man and was taken down at the far post by Ante Deur, the midfielder opting not to shoot initially but instead reaching the by-line and cutting the ball back for the onrushing Chris Bedzo; whose first-time effort clipped the crossbar on its way out.

For their discipline and willingness to commit numbers forward on the break, it would have been a deserved equalizer for Schembri?s men, though they got their just reward 15? minutes into the second-half.

The irrepressible Simpson it was who appropriately rose above a static Olympic defence at the far post and headed the ball towards goal, goalkeeper Sam Emmanouil slightly out of position and only able to balm it up and into his own net.

Largely uninspired up until that moment, Olympic suddenly began to press forward, lead by attacking talisman Ozbey, who saw a 65? minute effort palmed away well as his side built attacking momentum.

A burst of acceleration by the striker then won his side a penalty just 2? minutes later after he was dragged down inside the penalty-area, midfielder Chris Triantis stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot.

Ozbey was guilty however of missing a wonderful chance to make it 3-1 for Sydney in the 77? minute, slipped in by the lively Ian Ramsay on the left flank before cutting in onto his right foot inside the area and blasting the ball well over the crossbar.

With former Sydney FC man Adam Biddle now offering an attacking output down the right touch-line, the Demons were being stretched as they pushed desperately for an equalizer.

They might have equalised courtesy of some rather unconvincing goalkeeping by Emmanouil with just ten minutes remaining, the shot-stopper coming to punch clear an early ball into the area but almost gifting a goal to the tireless Chris Bedzo, whose header was deflected just wide of an empty net.

From the resulting corner, Emmanouil again tried to punch clear but was knocked off the ball before it was hacked clear off the line.

With three minutes of normal time remaining he stood helplessly as Luke Casserly?s free-kick was curled over the wall and just wide of the left post, as the Demons finished the game strongly.

A frantic end to the match saw Deur have an effort blocked inside the area from close-range, Ozbey the darting into the area and appearing to be hacked down near the by-line as five minutes of stoppage time was announced.

Howls of derision from a partisan fan-base met the decision not to award a penalty, as a match in which neither side played a particularly attractive or consistent brand of football came to a dishevelled end.

In the earlier Grade-20 match Sydney Olympic ran out winners by the same margin as the first-grade, 2-1.
Match Stats
Blacktown City Demons 1 (Tyler Simpson 61?)
Sydney Olympic 2 (Tolgay Ozbey 32?, Chris Triantis (pen. 68?)

Saturday 18th of April, 2009
Belmore Sports Ground, Belmore
Sydney Olympic: Sam Emmanouil, Emmanuel Giannaros, Mirko Jurilj, Matthew Mayora, Adam Biddle, Jordan Simpson (Chris Cahill 72?), Peter Zorbas, Chris Triantis, Ian Ramsay, Tolgay Ozbey, Paul Wither (Ken Chun 82?)  
Blacktown City Demons: Michael Herbet, Tyler Simpson, Paul Karbon, Damian Foxe, Daniel Wilkinson (Gavin Forbes 79?), Luke Casserly, Chris Bedzo, Kain Rastall, Ray Miller (Nick Sama 72?), Ante Deur, Joel Chianese
Yellow Cards:  T Ozbey (SO) 23?, C Triantis (SO) 38?, A Biddle (SO) 59?, M Jurilj (SO) 83?, T Simpson (BCD) 83
Player Ratings:
3 ? Paul Wither (SO)
2 ? Chris Triantis (SO)
1 ? Adam Biddle (SO)
-By Chris Paraskevas