The young guns from Sydney FC continued its push for a first NPL NSW Men’s Premiership title defeating fellow high flyers Sydney Olympic 3-0 at Belmore Sports Ground on Saturday.
A goal just prior to the break by the competition’s hottest young talent Jaiden Kucharski sent the home side into a tailspin before Kucharski doubled the lead with a second half penalty and then set up the final goal to substitute Ben Gibson.
Sydney FC were justifiably proud of their win and the young players celebrated with some passion in the dressing rooms after the encounter.
It was a much more sombre mood though in the Sydney Olympic room as they were forced to digest the bitter pill of the loss in front of their home fans.
The first real chance of the encounter arrived in the 3rd minute when Adam Parkhouse fired over the crossbar for the home side from close range.
In the 17th minute there was a spectacular double chance to Sydney Olympic. The ball was fed through to Brendan Cholakian, who seemed to certain to score, but the midfielder was denied by a great save from Adam Pavlesic with his feet and then the ball made its way to Oliver Puflett but his shot too was unsuccessful thanks to another wonderful Pavlesic save.
The Blue and White-striped home side seemed to be creating all the pressure at this stage of the game but the young Sydney FC defence was gallant in thwarting their attacking moves.
In the 41st minute Sydney FC had a half chance when a cross from left reached Oscar Priestman in the middle but he flicked the ball over the intended target. It was their first for the game.
Sydney Olympic replied almost immediately afterwards with a nice flowing move down the left side that ended with Parkhouse’s diagonal shot safely in the arms of Pavlesic.
Right at the death of the first stanza of play though Sydney FC broke the deadlock through Kucharski with a shot from outside the box that seemed innocuous enough, but ended up inside the right-hand side of the post past a diving Nicholas Sorras.
Sydney Olympic coach Ante Juric could only shake his head in both disbelief and disappointment that his side was entering the sheds at the break a goal down.
In the second half the first chance belonged to Sydney Olympic but it didn’t arrive until the 60th minute when Roy O’Donovan received a fortuitous ball close to the goal and his header was just wide of the post.
In the 68th minute Cholakian fired a shot from outside the box that was well saved down low by Pavlesic and once again there was more frustration for the home side.
A few minutes later, Sydney FC managed to double their lead when Jake Girdwood-Reich was brought down in the box and referee Christian Verdicchio jogging on the spot awarded the spot kick.
Up stepped Kucharski who slotted it past a diving Sorras to score his second goal of the evening and his 18th of the NPL NSW Men’s season.
It was to be Sorras’ last involvement of the match as the reliable keeper suffered an unfortunate injury following the penalty which saw him replaced by Chris Parsons.
Captain Michael Glassock pulled the trigger from outside the box in the 80th minute for Olympic but the ball ended up over the goal in what was a clear sign of frustration.
An then, with only a minute left on the clock in regular time, Sydney FC scored their third. Kucharski sprinted down the field on the counter-attack and brilliantly set up Ben Gibson with an across the field pass which the substitute delightfully slotted home in what was the final dagger through the hearts of Sydney Olympic.
After the game Sydney FC coach Jim Van Weeren was very happy to have secured all three points at Belmore against a tough Sydney Olympic side
“Potentially they had good patches of the game with the ball but I thought defensively we were really solid,” he said.
“We showed our quality going forward and scored three nice goals. As a club, in general, we try to promote goal scoring and our philosophy is based around that but tonight it was also pleasing to have kept a clean sheet which we haven’t had in a while.
“Olympic is a good team and this is a very tough place to come, so I thought our boys showed maturity beyond their years tonight playing here.”
His counterpart Ante Juric was clearly disappointed to have lost the game and a slight edge on the 2022 Premiership.
“Disappointing is the word especially at home where we dominated the first half and I don’t think they had a shot,” he said.
“We had some good chances but to concede in the 44th minute is not good. The second half we were not as good and they [Sydney FC] were probably a little bit better than us.
“Their player of the match, especially in the first half, was their goalkeeper so that tells a bit of a story but we are meant to be a mature team and we need to find ways to score against the youngsters who are really a good batch as demonstrated by their position on the table.”
Sydney Olympic 0
Sydney FC 3 (Kucharski, 45′, 70’ Kucharski (pen), Gibson 89′)
Saturday 9th July 2022
Belmore Sports Ground
Referee: Christian Verdicchio
Assistant Referees: Bradley Wright and Cameron Wright
Fourth Official: Chloe Gray
SYDNEY OLYMPIC: 1. Nicholas Sorras (20. Chris Parsons 71’), 3. Nikola Ujdur, 4. Ben Van Meurs, 5. Michael Glassock, 6. Mathieu Cordier, 9. Oliver Puflett (17. Marley Peterson 62’), 10. Brendan Cholakian, 11. Adam Parkhouse, 19. Darcy Burgess (8. Sam McIllhatton 70’), 23. Daniel Dias, 99. Roy O’Donovan
Substitutes not used: 2. Tom Whiteside, 22. Fabio Ferreira, 36. Peter Politis
Yellow Cards: Cholakian 78’
Red Cards: Nil
SYDNEY FC: 30. Adam Pavlesic, 3. Aaron Gurd, 10. Jaiden Kucharski (7. Tiago Quintal 91’), 12. Jake Girdwood-Reich, 13. Clayton Taylor (25. Morrie Kamara 91’), 15. Luka Smyth (9. Ben Gibson 66’), 16. Matthew Scarsella (2. Nathan Grimaldi 82’), 18. Oscar Priestman, 27. Dejan Bakrdanikoski, 28. Louis Agosti, 37. Hayden Matthews.
Substitutes not used: 1. Gus Hoesfloot, 14. Mow Ayouk
Yellow Cards: Gibson 88’
Red Cards: Nil
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo