The first-half wasn’t exactly a spectacle to enthral the crowd. Both sides were playing it tight within the confines of arguably one of the NSW Premier League’s smallest grounds.
The match offered little in the way of goal mouth action and, in fact, it could be argued that the main reason for such caution was the value attached to the three points for both teams.
Most chances in the first stanza of play can be best described as half chances. A free-kick by Sydney Olympic in the 34’ minute could really have been a lot more dangerous but Ethan Galbraith headed back to his own goalkeeper to prevent any further danger.
A few minutes later Chris Triantis won the ball on the edge of the box and then sent the ball into the middle for his captain Phil Makrys, but in the end his weak shot proved to be no danger for Anthony Costa.
Late in the opening half APIA-Leichhardt tried their luck with a Franco Parisi free-kick from just outside the box but, after a deflection, the ball ended up in the hands of Paul Henderson without much hassle.
The second-half started off with a bang. Matthew Mayora, who had only just come on as a replacement at the interval, was brought down in the penalty box by Mark Byrnes as both were attempting to head the ball. Referee Khodr Yaghi immediately indicated that it was a penalty. Phil Makrys stepped up to the mark and slotted the ball home despite Anthony Costa diving correctly and almost getting a hand to the ball.
“Matthew Mayora has made a difference for us in the last couple of weeks when he has come on,” Peter Tsekenis said. “He has come into the squad late in the piece and he has had to bide his time. He is now doing himself justice and is giving himself every opportunity to play week in and week out.”
In the 62’ minute APIA-Leichhardt should really have equalised when a delightfully accurate free-kick from Parisi made its way over to Bradley Bartels who, despite being unmarked, just missed the ball with his head.
Football is certainly a game of inches as Sydney Olympic found out a few minutes later when Will Angel had a clear shot on goal after receiving a nice through ball, but somehow he missed the intended target with only the goalkeeper to beat.
In the 81’ minute Sydney Olympic all but sealed victory when the Tigers made a meal of clearing the ball and Chris Triantis, with a shot that he will long remember, beat the goalkeeper with what can only be described as a screamer of a goal.
“When you win a championship – and I have won a couple now – you probably need players like Chris,” Tsekenis said. “To be a champion team you need players to score goals like that. “Last year we had Alex Smith but now we have Chris Triantis who is stepping up to the plate and scoring really important goals for us.”
Right at the death Brett Studman was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area and this time it was a penalty for APIA-Leichhardt. Up stepped Adam Casey to dispatch it away into the back of the net; however, it was all too late for the Tigers.
Match report courtesy of FNSW
Don't forget that SOFC will be in action on Wednesday night against Manly United at Cromer Park, kick off is at 7.30 pm.