- Written by Walter Pless
- Published: 31 March 2012
Photo: Olympia keeper Rob Kay punches clear while under pressure from Kingborough's Joel Schuth [PlessPix]
(Southern Premier League, Warrior Park, Saturday, 31 March 2012)
Olympia Warriors 1 (H Woolley 90+4)
Kingborough Lions United 6 (R Bevan 10, J Schuth 45, D Cowen 52, M Palmer 57, M Marchioli 81, T Pearce 87)
HT: 0-2 Att: 120 Ref: B Kopra
Olympia Warriors: Kay - C McDonald, Kumpulainen (Woolley 78), Y Mohamad, Phillips - S Page (Stockdale 58), Mason, Lapolla, Meredith - Grillas, Walker (Thurley 76) (Sub not used: Maxwell)
Kingborough Lions United: Leamey - Hawkins, Iseli, Cuthbertson, Schuth - Bevan, Palmer, Marchioli, Cowen (T Pearce 64) - Cooper, McDonald (Subs not used: Herweynen, J Otto, Duncan, Braddoch)
Photo: Olympia's Kosta Grillas is beaten to a header by Kingborough's Michael Palmer [PlessPix]
No, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke. Olympia Warriors are bottom of the Southern Premier League ladder.
For the second time in three league matches at home at Warrior Park, they conceded six goals. They have now scored 7 goals but conceded 14 at home. If that doesn’t start ringing the alarm bells, nothing will.
They have changed goalkeepers and Robert Kay has taken over from Jason Voss, who played in the outfield for the reserves and was sent off in the 4-4 draw with the Lions.
Kay was at fault for one of the goals last night when the ball slipped from his grasp and nestled inside the far post, but Olympia’s overall defensive frailties were clearly evident.
To add insult to injury, makeshift centre-back Chris Kumpulainen, who later moved forward after Craig Stockdale came on, suffered a bad ankle injury and had to be replaced. Kumpulainen has only just returned from injury, while Janko Begovic watched the match from the sidelines because of another hamstring injury.
Photo: The orange shoe shuffle as Kingborough's David Cooper (left) tries to elude Olympia's Fabian Lapolla [PlessPix]
The absence through suspension of Josh Fielding, Warren Wadawu and Ali Mohamad just added to Olympia’s problems. Where Omar Shabeneh and Thomas Ubaldi are is anybody’s guess. How the side could have done with the experience of South Melbourne’s Jake Van Der Mey and Josh Colismo, last year’s pair of fly-ins.
As it was, Olympia’s back-four were often caught square and this made them vulnerable to the through-ball. Youssef Mohamad battled bravely against Danny Cowen, who was very physical and earned himself a yellow card for overly robust play.
There were often large gaps between the Olympia midfield and their defenders and strikers, and stray passes made their play disjointed and highlighted the overall technical superiority of the Lions.
And, it wasn’t as if Olympia didn’t create chances. They did, but their finishing was poor, and they were unlucky. Kosta Grillas, Jamie Walker and Nick Meredith (twice) missed sitters, while Lee Mason, Ben Phillips and Chris McDonald shot either high or straight at the keeper when presented with reasonable chances. Grillas and Chris McDonald also rattled the visitors’ crossbar with tremendous long-range pile-drivers.
Photo: Kingborough's Danny Cowen (left) has a dig [PlessPix]
That’s what happens when you’re bottom of the table, as Olympia now are, because of an inferior goal-difference to the Glenorchy Knights. Coach Franco Previdi will need to do more than go back to the drawing board. That’s old technology. He will need a new super computer to come up with a solution, and fast.
Ryan Bevan gave the Lions the lead in the 10th minute from close range after sloppy defending by Olympia, the ball just crossing the line before being hooked clear. An alert Kim Barker on the line had no hesitation in signalling a goal and racing back for the kick-off, and there were no protests.
Grillas rattled David Leamey’s bar in the 14th minute just to remind him there were two teams in this contest, while Cowen saw yellow after 33 minutes after upending Mohamad once too often.
With five minutes of the first half remaining and with the Lions switching attacking roles with ease between David Cooper, Cowen, and Tom McDonald, Marcello Marchioli sent a sizzler over the Olympia bar. Seconds later, Cooper’s astute touch sent McDonald through for what looked like a certain goal, but Kay saved superbly with an outstretched leg.
Photo: Olympia's Kosta Grillas just fails to cut out a pass by Kingborough's Wade Hawkins [PlessPix]
In the 43rd minute, Meredith hammered a good chance wide of the far post after great work in the box by Grillas and Walker.
Walker should have done better than shoot wide in the 44th minute for Olympia as the home side produced a mini revival.
But, that was soon halted as Joel Schuth, playing at left back, ventured forward and scored a soft second to send the visitors in at the break leading 2-0, having just had another effort ruled out for off-side before the whistle.
Cowen made it 3-0 seven minutes after the break, while Nic Cuthbertson headed a free-kick wide in the 55th minute as the Lions resumed where they had left off in the first half.
Olympia showed their vulnerability to the counter-attack in the 57th minute. Grillas had just been dispossessed in the box and left sprawled on the ground when the Lions turned defence into attack and Michael Palmer scored their fourth with a low drive from the right.
Photo: Olympia's Youssef Mohamad cuts out a pass intended for the Lions' Tom McDonald (left) [PlessPix]
Chris McDonald almost shattered the Lions’ crossbar from 35 metres in the 59th minute, but it’s goals that count and that effort rebounded harmlessly into play.
Phillips landed an effort onto the roof of the net in the 73rd minute after Trent Pearce had replaced Cowen for Kingborough and Kumpulainen had moved forward into midfield for Olympia to accommodate Stockdale at centre-back, who had come on for Stuart Page.
It did not stem the Kingborough tide, however, and Marchioli shot just wide of the left-hand upright in the 75th minute as the visitors went in search of more goals.
Marchioli was rewarded for his performance with a goal 9 minutes from the end to make it 5-0, while Trent Pearce made it 6-0 three minutes from the end after a deft pass by Schuth.
It was four minutes into stoppage time when substitute Harry Woolley netted Olympia’s consolation goal, but by that time, Bernie Siggins and Brad Hughes had packed up all their gear on the Kingborough bench and were ready to call it a day. They probably didn’t see a very worried looking Olympia president George Mamacas amble off the pitch and head for the Olympia dressing room.
Photo: Olympia's Lee Mason hits a ball into the danger zone before the Lions' Tom McDonald can intervene [PlessPix]
Olympia Warriors coach, Franco Previdi, said:
“I think in the first 10 or 15 minutes, if we could have put our chances away, the game would have been different.
“Even though we lost 6-1, I think we played very good football at times. We gave away a couple of soft goals, but they’re a good team. There’s no doubt about that.
“But, at the end, if we don’t put our chances away...”
Photo: Lee Mason sprays a pass wide as Kingborough's Tom McDonald tries to prevent the move [PlessPix]
Kingborough Lions United coach, Matthew Rhodes, said:
“A good performance. It’s always hard to get three points and unfortunately we let in a goal at the end. You can’t have everything in life.
“But, no, we played well today. We had a good second half. We stepped up in the second half.
“We got a goal, but I though they controlled the game in the first 20 minutes of the first half. In the second half, we were a lot better. Very happy.”
Photo: Olympia's Youssef Mohamad and Kingborough's Tom McDonald vie for a header [PlessPix]
Photo: Kingborough's Michael Palmer about to release Tom McDonald with a pass [PlessPix]