Marconi v Olympic

Round 6 report by Chris Dunkerley
Marconi-Fairfield v Sydney Olympic

Stories that start 'it was a dark and stormy night' usually have sad endings but not for Sydney Olympic coach Branko Culina and his team plus hundreds of Olympic fans who travelled west into drizzling rain. Fearing the effect a heavy pitch would have on their free flowing game they needn't have worried as they overpowered Marconi in a thriller on Saturday night. A week of rain had been handled well by Marconi's well-drained ground but odd puddles of water and a very greasy surface promised little in the way of entertainment and a fading finish as players tired. In fact the opposite was true and both sides threw their substitutes intelligently into the fray ensuing a good wet weather crowd of 5,011 went away satisfied with the investment in a Saturday night's entertainment. Marconi was surprisingly without fan's favourite Chad Gibson who has signed for an un-named Norwegian club and will leave in a few weeks. They had been lucky in a couple of away games this season but at home they could make their own luck.

Marconi took this home advantage to come at Olympic through sorties down both flanks in the opening minutes but despite crowding the midfield they were potentially outgunned at the back. This was exploited by Olympic when Nick Carle made a great run through the middle and forced the first of 16 corners for his side. Marconi tried a similar move when Norman Tome pushed a ball through the middle to John Masiano who forced Olympic goalkeeper Clint Bolton to push it just past his near post. Olympic gradually opened up the play with Troy Halpin prompting and Nick Carle slipping into dangerous positions. An injury to Raphael Bove in the 17th min brought experienced defender Mark Babic on for the first time this season. Both sides found their attacking moves were breaking down in the final third and it wasn't till Brendan Renaud dropped a long range bomb which landed and fortunately stopped dead at Bolton's feet that one felt the scorer may be troubled. Still speculators were all the rage with Tome, Carle, Halpin, and Owens all resorting to them. As the half wore down the only pieces of excitement were a free kick by Renaud that just went over the bar and a move started by Mass Sarr from which David Acevski forced Greg Owen's shot around the post. Olympic had dominated possession and corner kicks to half-time but there was little in the game and Marconi could go to oranges with some hope.

Marconi coach Eddie Krncevic brought on former Socceroo Kris Trajanovski after the break. The game restarted with a rising tempo as witnessed by Darren McDonald's long range strike which was well taken by Bolton, and Halpin's 5th min free kick which was palmed away confidently by Acevksi. After about 15 mins Krncevic seemed to be recasting his formation to try to find a way through but then disaster. A controversial penalty was awarded when in a penalty areas melee Angelo Costanzo goes down and in so doing handles the ball. The penalty was put away sweetly by Carle giving Acevski no chance. The Olympic lead is greeted by a flare among the Olympic supporters and the crowd number reduced by 5. Marconi push up and McDonald made a diagonal run toward goal and his shot/cross is intercepted by Glenn Moore who forced the ball just a squeak over his own crossbar. In a period of end to end play Olympic try to list under Marconi's attack but even substitute George Goutzioulis cannot repeat his goal of last weekend. In the 76 min another substitute, Marconi's James Afkos, sent a long ball to an unmarked Trajanovski who placed a nice shot past Bolton. Owen's shot wide at the other end and then again Trajanovski was found with a long ball, benefits from a fortunate bounce, turned, and sent Bolton the wrong way. At the other end Renaud fouled substitute Damon Collina and Halpin flighted a ball to substitute Dylan McAllister's head and he made no mistake. A free kick to Olympic in the 87th min saw Acevski parry Goutzioulis's shot and in the goal mouth melee Moore pressed it home for 2-3 to Olympic and that is how it stayed.

After the game Krncevic stated clearly that 'we were outplayed by Olympic', and that there was an error in judgement by his players in believing that they could control Olympic once Marconi went a goal up. Culina was full of praise for his players and both coaches believed that the game was made into an exciting spectacle by the timely injection of substitutes. Marconi's demanding fans may become a problem for Krncevic if he doesn't improve Marconi's top 6 chances in the next few rounds. For the fans, as said before, a good nights' entertainment even if they did get pretty damp.