Sydney Olympic has ended Blacktown City’s unbeaten record with a 1-0 win in a drama filled match at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday.
There was no love lost between both National Premier Leagues NSW Premiership contenders during a fierce contest which featured two red cards.
Sydney Olympic maintained their unbeaten home record with a solitary headed strike from skipper Max Burgess the difference.
It was only the second goal conceded by Blacktown City this season as Mark Crittenden’s side dropped points for the second straight week after they was unable to find an equaliser despite a late flurry.
Olympic pressured Blacktown early but lost key midfielder Hagi Gligor after only five minutes when he succumbed to a knee injury.
Blacktown made the better usage of possession when they had the ball but Olympic were determined in defence. Poor finishing and ill-discipline costing both sides in the first half.
It was the home side who had the first meaningful effort when Burgess tried his luck in the 12th minute firing a shot from the edge of the box which went wide.
An had a volley comfortably saved by City’s Stevan Savicic as Olympic began to find gaps in their opponents defence.
The match turned in the 20th minute when Blacktown City was reduced to 10 men early in the contest.
City captain Matt Lewis was shown a straight red after a robust challenge on Jinya An.
Olympic, had the bulk of possession but failed to truly threaten during a first half that featured everything but a goal.
If the animosity that was brewing during the opening period subsided during the break it was quickly dispelled when Charles Mendy was unceremoniously clattered seconds after the kick-off.
Olympic coach, Abbas Saad, retained the rigid starting formation with a flat back four but they had only to deal with Mendy acting in the lone striking role.
Both Burgess and Jason Madonis had shots from the edge of the 18-yard box with similar results, both going well wide of the target.
Olympic were forced into long range efforts with Blacktown’s defence holding shape despite the earlier send-off.
It all changed when An sent over a curling corner that Burgess cooly headed home after shot stopper Savicic was unable to intercept.
Angel was shown a second yellow card in the 74’ minute when tugging back former Olympic skipper Yianni Spyrakis to earn himself an early send-off and restore parity in playing numbers.
The intensity of Blacktown immediately lifted forcing a good save out of Paul Henderson as the pendulum lurched back and forth.
Joey Gibbs should have equalised when Mallia failed to convert after a sick passing combination with Giorgio Speranza.
Henderson was called into action to deny an accurate Mallia free kick which beat the wall but not the keeper.
Blacktown came home the stronger side but were unable to break down Olympic and suffered their first defeat of the season.
A delighted Abbas Saad was impressed with his side’s performance but felt they are still a work in progress.
“The only thing that disappointed me today was our execution in front of goal,” he said.
“We had a lot of possession and got ourselves into some really good positions but the final pass just let us down.
“Blacktown are a very good team, but I felt some of my players may have taken it for granted when they went down to 10-men.
“We cannot allow ourselves to do that but that comes down to a little lack of experience and naivety.
“Second-half we looked much better and created chances but we’ve got to do better.”
Sydney Olympic 1 (M.Burgess 61’)
Blacktown City 0
Belmore Sports Ground, Belmore
Sunday, 15th March 2018
Referee: Adrian Arndt
Asst. Refs: Ray Osborne & Kearney Robinson
Fourth Official: Brandon Lovric
Sydney Olympic: 1.Paul Henderson, 2.Thomas Whiteside, 4.George Timitheo, 6.Nicola Kuleski, 7.William Angel, 8.Jason Madonis, 9.Radovan Pavicevic (33.Niko Tsattalios 77’), 10.Max Burgess, 14.Alejandro Sanchez, 24.Christopher Gligor (23.Riley Woodcock 5’)
Substitutes not used: 5.Rafael Jimenez, 19.Darcy Burgess, 20.Ezequiel Consoni
Yellow Cards: 10.Max Burgess 35’, (7.William Angel 45 + 74’), 14.Alejandro Sanchez 77’, 6.Nikola Kuleski 90’
Red Cards: 7.William Angel 74’
Blacktown City: 20.Stevan Savicic, 3.Giorgio Speranza, 4.Roberto Speranza (18.Mason Versi), 5.Grant Lynch, 6.Matt Lewis, 7.Devante Clut, 9.Joey Gibbs, 10.Conner Evans, 12.Charles Mendy (19.Zach Cairncross 60’), 14.Mitchell Mallia, 22.Yianni Spyrakis (21.Jack Stewart 90’)
Substitutes not used: 1.Dylan Niski, 16.Mark Rodic,
Yellow Cards: 14.Mitchell Mallia 56’, 18.Mason Versi 90’
Red Cards: 6.Matt Lewis 20’
3 – Max Burgess (SO)
2 – Mitchell Mallia (BC)
1 – Jinya An (SO)
-By National Premier Leagues NSW Reporter Micky Brock