Spirit v Olympic

Round 2 report by Chris Dunkerley
Northern Spirit v Sydney Olympic

Five goals, 3 penalties, 7 yellow cards and a red - reading that you'd think "what a game"! If you sauntered into Christie Park at the 70th minute you would probably support that. Alas the rest of the game left a lot to be desired. Spirit knew their young side, made up of a mix of last year's YL side and quite a few of the Colts, would need to score early at home against this Olympic side. For 25 minutes they pressed attack - with a great chance to 'Cat' at 16 mins when he hit a sweet free kick from 20m only to see it cannon of the right upright. Early on though an expected 'willing' contest developed into a running battle and referee Spagnol realising how the game was degenerating booked one of each side within 16 mins. Despite the real fouls Frank Arok observed from behind me that Spirit players were diving when in fact both sides were. Catanzaro repeated his free kick only to see the Olympic keeper palm it around the upright. From the 30 min Olympic took the upper hand with McAllister, Doumanis, and Gasper dominating play. Indeed they had a great header past Rex by McAllister disallowed for a push off the play. As the half wore on the tempo dropped and it was 0-0 at the break.

Spirit should have come out with a plan to exploit the 10 men of Olympic but Olympic took the game to them. Within the first 15 min Olympic had 8 shots at goal to Spirit's none. Spirit looked like the one's a man down and the disorganisation lead to a great goal in the 71st min by McAllister receiving free on the right and slotting it home past the advancing Rex. Spirit woke up to themselves and at the 79th min a ball came out to defender Hunter who miss-hit his shot but still saw it loop from 25m over the keeper and Spirit were back on level terms. It is unclear a penalty was granted to Olympic in the 89th min but Gasper stepped up and hit low and hard to the left of Rex. You may have thought that was that but two quick goals came in basically in extra time. From a Schirripa free kick Griffiths rose to head well past the keeper, and right on the whistle the third penalty was awarded and Catanzaro made no mistake in making it 3-2 to Spirit and they were out of gaol.