10 April 2012
Wednesday 4th April 2012
Hawkesbury Hawks 2 (Paul Cooper 19', Gavin Hartge 64') Canberra Olympic 3 (Robbie Schroder 20', Liam Carey 25', 42')
Canberra Olympic dug deep and showed plenty of inner resolve to see off the challenge of Hawkesbury Hawks in Round 1 of the Waratah Cup with a Liam Carey double and an outstanding penalty save from Angelo Konstantinou seeing them to a 3-2 win.
After a gruelling four hour bus trip, and this being their third game in a week, it was understandable that fatigue would set in and the performance lacked the sparkle and vigour we have come to associate with this youthful team, especially in the second half when the effects of a trip to Helensburgh last Wednesday and a match in Cooma on Sunday conspired to try and prematurely end Olympic's run.
Early on though it was all one way traffic as Olympic swamped the Hawks with wave after wave of attacks. An overhead kick from Robbie Schroder tested Aaron Kanalay in the Hawks goal as early as the fourth minute and the visitors even had the ball in the net four minutes later. Justin Selkirk, who was heroic throughout, threaded a superb pass behind the Hawkesbury back four for Schroder to beat the advancing goalkeeper only to see the flag raised for a close offside call.
It didn't seem to matter though as a goal appeared inevitable as firstly Schroder, and then Robbie Deeley, saw fierce shots blocked by the busy Kanalay. It was therefore completely against the run of play when Hawkesbury took the lead. A sensational run from winger Zac Watters saw him drift pass half a dozen would be tackles before laying the ball square for Paul Cooper to bend a wicked first-time strike past Konstantinou and in off the far post.
Hawks celebrations were cut short within forty seconds of the restart though. Hristjan Tanoski, a bundle of energy for the full ninety minutes, sent over a delightful cross and, from the resultant scramble in the penalty box, Schroder slammed home from close range.
Buoyed by the goal Olympic poured forward and took the lead in the 25th minute. Deeley was instrumental, picking up a short pass and running in on goal before unleashing a thunderbolt that Kanalay could only parry. Carey was there to pick up the pieces and gleefully rammed the ball into the back of the net from six yards. The Hawks replied as Cooper sent a deep cross to the back post for the influential Watters who met it firmly but couldn't direct his header on target.
The match was being played at an up-beat tempo and, crucially, Olympic found a third goal three minutes before half-time. Deeley again played his part, crossing from the left flank and finding an unmarked Carey, who rose highest to loop a header over the 'keeper and into the top corner to make it 3-1 with his fourth goal in two cup matches.
It was clear in the second half that the travel and stresses of two Waratah Cup fixtures, sandwiching the loop Premier League opener with Cooma Tigers, had taken its toll on the weary Olympic team who lacked the buzz and spring in their step that had been in evidence in the first half. Passes started going astray and the Hawks sensed a shift in momentum.
Hawkesbury surged onto the attack and took the game to their opponents at every opportunity thereafter. However, it took a fluke to get the home team back into the match in the 64th minute. Gavin Hartge intended to whip a right footed cross to the back post but miss-hit his effort that sailed on a perfect trajectory over Konstantinou and into the unguarded goal.
If the Olympic stopper was annoyed by that, he certainly more than made amends for it seven minutes later with a stunning penalty save. The visitors failed to clear a corner and a clumsy challenge in the box resulted in the referee awarding the spot-kick. Mick McCrory must have thought he had scored when he hammered a precise kick high to Konstantinou's left only for the Futsalroo custodian to fling himself the correct way and push the ball round the post for a corner.
That sucked the life out of the Hawks who were lucky not to concede a fourth late on. Nathan Megic watched as his volley was cleared off the line and Deeley and James Field tested Kanalay's concentration with low drives. As it was Olympic needed no more and heroically held on to progress.
And, while it might not have been the prettiest of victories, the grit and determination showed that Canberra Olympic have the heart and desire to go deep into this competition.
Hawkesbury Hawks: 1. Aaron Kanalay, 4. Andrew Stevenson, 13. Paul Cooper (11. John McCrae 64'), 14. Rhyce Alchin, 16. Haas Arnaout (8. Ryan Wilson 55'), 17. Mick McCrory, 18. Ethan Simone, 28. Evan Daglis, 32. Daniel Chircop (30. Ben Charles 55'), 34. Zac Watters, 38. Gavin Hartge (2. Sam Belcastro 64')
Canberra Olympic: 22. Angelo Konstantinou, 2. Hristjan Tanoski, 3. Nathan Megic, 4. Joel Valtonen, 6. Justin Selkirk, 7. Robbie Deeley, 9. Nick Mihailakis (8. Jason Ugrinic 86'), 10. Liam Carey (5. John Karapanagos 72'), 11. James Field, 13. Robbie Schroder, 14. Oliver Wiederkehr
Discipline: YELLOW CARDS: 4. Andrew Stevenson (Hawkesbury Hawks), 5. Justin Selkirk, 7. Robbie Deeley, 8. Jason Ugrinic, 10. Liam Carey (all Canberra Olympic)