Sharks claim revenge with important victory over Olympic


Sutherland Sharks finally broke down a well organised and resilient Sydney Olympic outfit to claim the three-points and put to rest the opening round defeat they suffered at the hands of tonight?s opponent.
On the whole, the visiting Blues? play, many thought, should have given them a point but for a Ben Vidaic strike 10? minutes from time.
Sydney Olympic started the brighter and created the better chances and might have taken an early lead after 3? minutes when Matthew Mayora found sight of goal but scuffed the shot straight at Nathan Denham in the Sharks goal.
The visitors showed some terrific midfield control, and with a solid back four, reduced Sutherland to long-range efforts that saw Olympic goalkeeper Paul Henderson hold on from Jimmy Bakis, and then watched the ball sail harmlessly wide after Panni Nikas rounded a defender and laid the ball off to Blake Powell to fire in inside the opening 10? minutes.
Sutherland slowly began to gain the ascendancy, in no small part to captain George Souris leading from the back, and Ben Spruce sauntered forward at pace down the left-flank that only a last ditch tackle by Mayora, to concede a corner, avoided greater danger. Moments later, a great Vidaic spin and shot from the edge of the box from a Bakis lay-off thundered just wide with Henderson looking beaten on the line.
The tackles came thick and fast and was only expected in a derby game of this magnitude and Phil Makrys received a stern talking to from referee Ryan Shepherd midway through the opening half, and it appeared to do the trick as everyone calmed down and got on with playing football.
The visitors made the breakthrough on the half-hour, most deserved on the better chances created, as Dimitri Petratos chipped the ball over the defence that James Monie appeared to head over the advancing Denham to loop into the net although there was some conjecture that Souris got the last touch as he contested the ball.
It spurred Sutherland on and when Bakis slipped the ball to Nikas for Nick Stavroulakis to lob toward goal it took all the height and reach of Henderson to tip over the crossbar. Within 30?? seconds, Stavroulakis was again thwarted when his searing shot was cleared off the line for a corner at the near post by Angelo Petratos.
Then came a moment in the match no-one was really expecting as Souris set off on a run from just inside the Sharks half before slipping the ball on to Nikas, who in turn laid it off to Chris Price to cross and pick out George Souris who got a header away. Despite failing to find the back of the net, the Sharks captain showed his passion with an exceptional sweeping move leading his side?s charge.
Sutherland certainly finished the half stronger but couldn?t pull the match level, though following the break, so nearly did inside the first 60?? seconds. A cross from the left found Powell open in the box but his header went wide of the mark before Bakis picked up a caution for a foul on Monie.
Jerry Kalouris went into the book for upending Nikas and from the resultant free-kick the ball eventually fell to Paul Kohler just inside his half and galloped off toward the Olympic box before he let loose a ferocious shot that Henderson got behind and held well.
Another shot came in that Henderson spilt and regathered but what wasn?t seen was a hand from Dimitri Petratos that awarded Sutherland a spot-kick that was duly despatched by Nikas to bring parity back to the game. Henderson guessed correctly and was unlucky not to get his left hand to the ball as he flung himself to his left.
The equaliser spurred the Sharks into action, and it was one-way traffic from that point on.
Petratos (Jnr) and Anthony Doumanis had strong first-halves but began to fade as the game wore on, though Ian Ramsay started to sparkle down the left and led the Sharks defence a merry dance on many an occasion. Sydney Olympic could have perhaps regained the lead when Makrys played Petratos (Jnr) through, who decided to take on a shot from an acute angle, when Monie was in space inside the box and the opening failed to eventuate.
Sutherland, who lost Steve McConologue to injury in the warm-up – to add to a growing casualty list, began to make changes with Nikas, plagued by a stomach bug all week, replaced by Hussein Jasli quickly followed by Misha Hardwick replacing Bakis and Vidaic, making room for Todd Halloran, and it was one of these changes that brought about the eventual winner for the home side.
Hardwick was heavily involved after less than 30?? seconds when he attempted to control a ball with his shoulder that looped over one defender and wrong?footed a second that put him through on goal. After thinking about a shot for a split second he squared it to Vidaic who miss-controlled his first touch but with his marker going the other way a gap opened up for the lanky striker who didn?t need to be asked twice to exploit, and his shot was put into Henderson?s bottom right-hand corner with the custodian left totally exposed.
Sutherland began to eat up the time knowing a win would give them a 7-point gap over their visitors and some reckless, if not overly dangerous, tackles started to fly in, more borne of frustration than malice, though the official did well to control the situation.
Following the final whistle there was a little bit of push and shove between a number of combatants but nothing that warranted further action, and without condoning that sort of thing, it was more or less understandable as Olympic would have felt themselves unlucky not to get something from an entertaining and hard fought game.
An Olympic spokesperson said afterwards: ?We played well and created the better chances but tonight we didn?t get what we deserved but that?s the way it goes sometimes.?
Robbie Stanton was relieved when saying: ?We?ve got a great culture at the club and that is why I had no hesitation in putting some of our young lads on the bench tonight even though three of them had already played 90? minutes in the U/20 game as I thought they wouldn?t let us down and they didn?t.
?I was pleased with our discipline and shape tonight and with the way we held it together when we were put under pressure early on, as I knew with the injuries we have we were never going to go hell for leather at the start of the game.
?I didn?t realise Panni (Nikas) was quite as ill as he is which is why he came off for a brief spell in the opening half.
?He has had a stomach bug all week and has been vomiting and I feel he did well to stay on the pitch for as long as he did but it shows the battling qualities we have here.
?We had another two youngsters on the bench and I would have used them if I needed to as I know they would have handled the situation also but the it was a hard fought win and I?m glad to get the three points as it was a real team effort out there.?
In the Grade-20 match, Sutherland Sharks defeated Sydney Olympic 5-1.
Match Stats
Sutherland Sharks 2 (Panny Nikas (p) 59?, Ben Vidaic 80?)
Sydney Olympic 1 (James Monie 30?)
Seymour Shaw Park, Miranda
Saturday, 15th May 2010
Referee: Ryan Shepherd
Assistant Referees: Paul Faithful and Lance Greenshields
Fourth Official: Brendan Johansen
Sutherland Sharks: 1.Nathan Denham; 2.George Souris, 4.Michael Robinson, 6.Chris Price, 7.Jim Bakis (30.Misha Hardwick 79?), 8.Blake Powell, 9.Ben Vidaic (40.Todd Halloran 84?), 11.Ben Spruce, 14.Nick Stavroulakis, 20.Paul Kohler, 23.Panni Nikas (31.Hussein Jasli 65?)
Substitutes Not Used: 24.Jack Duncan, 25.Brad Disalvo
Yellow Cards: Bakis 46?, Souris 90?
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic: 13.Paul Henderson; 4.Angelo Petratos (30.Aleks Jovovic 86?), 5.Tayfun Devrimol, 7.Dimitri Petratos, 9.James Monie, 10.Anthony Doumanis, 11.Phil Makrys, 15.Matthew Mayora, 17.Ian Ramsay, 18.Jerry Kalouris, 33.Nick Tsattalios
Substitutes Not Used: 1.Zaim Zaneli, 16.Steven Tibbets, 21.Ricky Perinich, 23.Luke Gearin
Yellow Cards: Jerry Kalouris
Red Cards: Nil
-By Micky Brock