Without the service of six regular first team starters, Mounties overcame all odds to force their more fancied rival into extra-time with the scores locked at 2-2. With the dreaded penalty-shootout looming, Daniel Willoughby scored one of the goals of the season to send his side into the Waratah Cup semi-finals.
Sydney Olympic, without the likes of Brett Studman and Will Angel as well as their ace marksman Alex Smith who may have played his final game for the Blues after potentially moving off to commence his career with the Gold Coast in the A-League, struggled to settle throughout the match and needed two late goals to draw level and send the match into extra-time.
In the early exchanges, it was the visitors at Belmore Sports Ground to take the initiative. Matty Viera opened proceedings with a powerful effort on goal on 2? minutes for the NSW State League 1 outfit. Some fine build up play from Joey Andriano won the side a corner as Viera picked up the loose ball before sending his effort over the crossbar.
Sydney Olympic responded in the 7? minute as Mitchell Stamatellis snuck in behind the Mounties defence. With Ali Akbal closing the angle, and the Mounties defenders closing quickly, the chance went begging for the home side.
Mounties continued to pressure the Blues defensive line on 14? minutes as Eli Squillacioti jumped highest to head inches over the crossbar.
Squillacioti pestered the Blues again moments later as he only just failed to latch onto a loose ball at the back post with the Sydney Olympic defenders scrambling to find their feet.
Mounties made the most of their positive start to the match with the opening goal in the 24? minute. With the Blues failing to deal with the ball inside their own penalty-area, Peter Day hit an exceptional right-foot volley on the turn into the back of the net.
Greg Baldock nearly doubled his side?s lead 2? minutes later as his lunging attempt at the back post from Squillacioti?s centre finished wide of the target.
The Mounties goal saw Sydney Olympic up the ante as Robbie Mileski dropped deep to get on the ball. Peter Triantis nearly carved out an opening for Emmanuel Giannaros on the right though Ali Akbal was quick off his line to thwart any danger.
The Blues had their opponents trembling as Takayumi Omi showed some exceptional skill as he latched onto Phil Makrys? searching ball out of midfield. With Akbal closing the angle, Omi stamped his effort against the crossbar.
Mileski too found some space on the edge of the penalty-area 1? minute later though his effort on target failed to force Akbal into a save.
Sydney Olympic continued to press for an equaliser as Stamatellis tried his luck from distance in the 36? minute. The midfielder?s effort packed a real punch though lacked accuracy as the ball skyrocketed over the crossbar.
Against the run of play, the Blues nearly conceded a second as Paul Henderson?s clearance ricocheted off Baldock. With a loose ball floating inside the penalty-area, the Blues defenders managed to clear the ball away to safety.
Sydney Olympic supporters thought their side had drawn level 2? minutes before the break as Richard Luksic?s powerful header was tipped over the crossbar by Akbal.
Following the break, the Mounties caught the Blues napping as Viera snuck in behind the Sydney Olympic defence to send his header over the crossbar.
Daniel McCann showed some fine trickery to beat his marker in the 50? minute. McCann created the space to unleash a shot from distance, though Henderson was not called upon to make a save with the ball finishing wide.
The Mounties did find their second in the 54? minute as Squillacioti showed strength and perseverance to outmuscle his marker before driving a vicious low effort underneath Henderson?s body.
Sydney Olympic?s frustration was evident on the hour as Peter Triantis? attempted long-range effort finished well over the crossbar as the home side continued to fall short in the final third of the field.
Mounties goalkeeper Akbal was called upon following the hour mark denying Giannaros? shot from the edge of the penalty-area. The Sydney Olympic defender?s effort took a heavy deflection on the way through on goal though the shot-stopper was alert to the danger.
Akbal was again called upon to deny the Blues as he showed some real confidence to deny a leaping Ibrahim Haydar. The Mounties defenders quickly gathered to clear the loose ball away to safety.
The Blues finally found a way back into the match 10? minutes from the end as substitute Anthony Doumanis won his side a free-kick. From the edge of the penalty-area, experienced midfielder Phil Makrys blasted his effort into the bottom left-hand corner.
The goal spurred the Blues into action as Giannaros got forward down the right-flank before blasting a powerful effort against Akbal?s left-hand post.
The Blues squandered a golden chance off a set-piece 5? minutes from time as Mileski was picked out by Makrys. With his back to goal, the Sydney Olympic playmaker rose highest inside the penalty-area to send his looping header over the crossbar.
Sydney Olympic?s late perseverance paid off as the prayers of the home supporters were answered in the 88? minute. Once more via a set-piece, Haydar rose highest to nod the ball on target as Luksic sent the ball over the goal line, despite the best efforts of two Mounties players on the goal line to clear the ball away.
With the scores level at 90? minutes, both camps prepared for an additional 30? minutes of extra-time, and it was Mileski who created the best chance of the opening period.
The playmaker weaved his way in behind the Mounties defence. From an acute angle, and with only the goalkeeper to beat, Mileski took a heavy touch and saw the ball thwarted by Akbal.
Mounties Wanderers response arrived via the long ball from the backline. Substitute Mark Symington was the target man, though the Blues defensive line proved strong with Henderson marshalling the long ball to perfection.
Daniel Willoughby created the last chance of the opening stanza with a fine half volley from the edge of the penalty-area. With Sydney Olympic supporters in a panic, Willoughby?s dipping effort failed to fall underneath the crossbar.
The Mounties nearly snatched the lead early in the second period as Symington used his pace to go one-on-one with Henderson. With the goal at his mercy, the striker sent his diagonal effort inches wide of Henderson?s post.
The State League One side did find their goal 1? minute later though, as Daniel Willoughby scored a screamer of a goal. The former NSW Premier League player picked up a loose ball inside the penalty-area and unleashed a fine drive into the top left-hand corner.
Sydney Olympic pressed for an equaliser, though a final goalmouth scramble failed to reap any reward as the Mounties held out for a momentous victory.
Following the match, victorious captain Daniel McCann expressed his delight at his side?s perfect performance:
?The boys were great tonight, we really came here with no expectation and we?ve been able to come away with a win,? commented McCann.
?Sydney Olympic is first in the NSW Premier League, they are a great side, though the beauty of the Cup competition is that it is one match, and we stuck to our guns even though we had players out injured, a few of the boys have been sick, and a suspension.
?The boys all stepped up and we continue what has been a wonderful season with our League run as well,? McCann concluded.
Sydney Olympic 2 (Phil Makrys 81?, Richard Luksic 88?)
Mounties Wanderers 3 (Peter Day 24?, Eli Squillacioti 54?, Daniel Willoughby 108?)
Wednesday 22nd June, 2011
Belmore Sports Ground
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshiels and Steven Ngyuen
Sydney Olympic: 1.Paul Henderson; 2.Emmanuel Giannaros (9.Luca Falcone 109?), 4.Ibrahim Haydar, 5.Richard Luksic (C), 7.Phil Makrys, 18.Jerry Kalouris, 11.Robbie Mileski, 17.Mitchell Stamatellis (10.Anthony Doumanis 66?), 16.Peter Triantis, 23.Takayumi Omi, 15.Todd Bamber (31.James Gikas 80?)
Substitutes Not Used: 21.Nenad Vekic, 32. Pat Di Salvo
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Mounties Wanderers: 1.Ali Akbal; 11.Peter Day, 3.T Salvaggio (33.C. Rogers 86?), 18.Mark D?Alessandro, 12.Joel Rodden-Ward, 19.Ian McAndrew, 9.Matty Viera (13.R. Loucos 113?), 17.Daniel McCann (C), 8.Joey Andriano (10.Daniel Willoughby 64?), 2.Eli Squillacioti, 4.Greg Baldock (14.Mark Symington 72?)
Substitutes Not Used: 5.S Tomasich
Yellow Cards: Matty Viera 85?, C. Rogers 89?, Joel Rodden-Ward 119?
Red Cards: Nil
-By Joseph Carlucci