Sydney Olympic came from behind to defeat Sutherland Sharks 2-1 in an entertaining PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s final day encounter at Seymour Shaw on Sunday afternoon.
Sutherland Sharks took the lead inside five minutes when Nathan Elasi beat Paul Henderson at the near post but the visitors equalized shortly after the interval when Mitchell Stamatellis converted from the spot following Takuya Murayama’s handball.
Olympic continued their excellent recent run of form and crafted an excellent winner when substitutes Mohammad Rahimi and Nikolas Tsattalios combined for the latter to hand Gorka Etxeberria’s side the three points.
The Blues were winless in their first four matches under the Spaniard but have now won three in a row and enter the finals series with considerable momentum having recovered their early season steel.
Grant Lee’s Sutherland turned in a spirited performance in what was club veteran Nathan Denham’s final match of a superb nine-year spell at Seymour Shaw, but they were unable to crown what was a disappointing campaign with a win.
The hosts received the best possible start when Elasi opened the scoring after racing onto Brad Bartels’ ball and showing great composure before steering an effort past Paul Henderson at the near post.
Having kept Olympic at arm’s length for the opening half Sutherland will lament missing two great opportunities to double the lead after the interval with golden boot winner Tomihiro Kajiyama looping a free header wide before narrowly missing connection on a superb ball in from Stephen Kayes.
The encounter swung when fullback Takuya Murayama was penalised for a handball in the area with Olympic defender Mitchell Stamatellis coolly sending Denham the wrong way and finding the top left hand corner.
And Olympic completed the turnaround twenty minutes later when substitutes Tsattalios and Rahimi interchanged a lovely one two on the edge of the area before the Blues flyer lashed a fierce effort in off the far post.
Olympic manager Etxeberria praised his charges for their continual improvement but said his side will need to improve again to become genuine championship contenders.
“It was a difficult game for us because we needed to put in a strong performance before the finals,” he said.
“The first half I think we did some things really well but too slowly and when you play slowly it doesn’t work. In the second half we were a little faster and busier we scored two goals.
“There are four other teams that have been better than us but every day we are getting better as a team.”
Grant Lee mourned his side’s second half collapse but remained steadfast and optimistic about the Sharks’ chances next campaign and eyed several experienced heads to stabilize Sutherland’s youthful roster.
“You’ve got to contain and frustrate Olympic and I think we did really well for long spells of the game,” he said.
“There’s good young kids who are working really hard to change our position but we’re probably lacking that little bit of experience and therefore continue to make poor decisions at critical moments.
“We need a key number of players that will help lead the younger kids round the park. We’re making a few poor decisions at critical moments and if we have those more experienced players around it will stop those things from happening.”
Sutherland Sharks 1 (Elasi 4’)
Sydney Olympic 2 (Stamatellis 56’, Tsattalios 74’)
Sunday 13th of August 2017
Seymour Shaw, Miranda
Sutherland Sharks: 32. Bradley Bartels, 12. Blair Brown, 13. Jeremy Cox, 10. Joshua Da Silva (4. Stephen Kayes 45’), 1. Nathan Denham, 11. Nathan Elasi, 19. Callum Fitzpatrick (6. Matthew Gordon 72’), 9. Tomihiro Kajiyama, 8. Christopher McStay (30. Lachlan Everett 77’), 3.Takuya Murayama, 25. Wade Oostendorp
Substitutes Not Used: 21. Nikolas Loe, 15. Kevin Lopes
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
Sydney Olympic: 11. Jinya An, 7. William Angel (14. Mohammad Rahimi 69’), 19. Darcy Burgess, 1. Paul Henderson, 12. Yu Kuboki (9. Radovan Pavicevic 81’), 8. Jason Madonis, 5. Yianni Spyrakis, 6. Mitchell Stamatellis, 16. George Timotheou (33. Nikolas Tsattalios 62’), 4. Thomas Whiteside, 24. Christopher Gligor
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Ezequiel Consoni, 99. Paul Katsetis
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
-By PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Jacob Windon