Olympic v Marconi

Round 18 report by Charles Pickett
Sydney Olympic v Marconi-Fairfield

Five-nil. Five-nil. Five-nil. Sounds good, especially against Marconi. Poor Frankie. His team has now played the three other Sydney clubs in succession, losing all three and conceding twelve goals in the process.

Actually Marconi didn t look too bad for most of game, defensively at least. They pressed for the ball, filled up the spaces in mid-field and their offside trap worked pretty well. However the closest Marconi came to scoring were courtesy of two (almost) Olympic own-goals. The first of these involved a Scott Thomas header back to George Bouhoutsos - George had to scramble back desperately to tip it over the bar. The other was during the second half when a clearing kick was charged down and looped toward the Olympic goal. George was the calmest man at the ground as he trotted casually after it. He seemed to have guessed that the ball had enough back-spin to carry it away from the goal. Pretty cool.

After the losses to the Spirit and to Brisbane, Branko Culina was threatening to make big changes, especially up front. In fact Olympic s line-up was notable mainly for the absence of Peter Tsekenis and Chris Kalantzis. Scott Baillie was given a start, fortunately as a fullback rather than as a striker. And Adrian Cervinsky got his first start and first goal of the season, a well-aimed header from a Brett Emerton cross. He only had to beat Bugsy Maloney for the header.

Frankie made sure everyone knew that Marconi were missing half a dozen regulars, but at least they had Brett Hughes to supply some experience in goal. Hughes did as well as could be expected, but the Olympic barrage got two much for him in the second half. At one stage he saved a header from Tome, then a rebound shot from Emerton before Cardozo beat him with a third shot. Tome also had two one-on-ones with Hughes, scoring from one. After being dragged against Spirit and joining this game from the bench, Norman really enjoyed that goal.

Cardozo scored twice, making him the league s top scorer by some distance. He could have had a third, but chose to set up Eli Augerinos, on as a sub. Pablo seems on the way to stardom - one presumes he d be picked in an Australian team if one was active at the moment. As a player Pablo is very reminiscent of Paul Trimboli, though he s a better finisher than Trimmers ever was.

This was Olympic s second TV game, so the crowd was decidedly smaller than normal for a Marconi game. But it looked bigger than the announced three thousand odd. Could someone be underselling the crowd in protest at the craziness of it being live on TV in Sydney?

If Olympic can starting winning some away games they ll be contenders. The trip to Newcastle should answer some questions.