Cup Dream Ended By NPL QLD Premiers
Centenary Stromers 0 Olympic FC 6 (Frederick 12', 13'; Gray 20'; Mundy 26' pen; Byrne 33'; McLean 79') Half Time: 0-5 Played at Atthows Park. Referee: Joey Lee.
Centenary Stormers: Rathbone (gk), Birt, Mehinagic, Finocchiaro, Harris, La Carta, Johnston, Dann, Parker, Martin, Kilkeary. Subs: Spence, Beale, Brophy, Headrick (rgk). Olympic FC: B. Cuminao (gk), J. Cuminao, M. Byrne, Mundy, Crack, Smits, D. Byrne (capt), Way, Gray, Barbarouses, McLean. Subs: Field, Roderick, Fisk, Meskell (rgk).
In truth, it was always going to be a tough ask for the Capital League 3 ladder leaders to overcome the might of the current NPL QLD Premiers Olympic FC some four tiers above them, but the Atthows Park side can stand proud after a good showing and were it not for Olympic keeper Brandon Cuminao producing a handful of superb saves, the Stormers may well have contributed to a less convincing scoreline in the drizzly rain on Wednesday night.
Already without a suspended Terry Hughes, the visitors were struck an early blow when striker Reuben Way departed after just 7 minutes with what appeared to be a foot injury. But it was his replacement Ryan Roderick who broke the home sides resolve within a couple of minutes of his introduction when he netted twice within the space of two minutes before the quarter hour mark, to set the reigning NPL QLD Premiers on their way to a quarter final berth in the Canale Travel Cup and perhaps more importantly, a step closer to a possible spot in the FFA Cup.
Darren Gray made it three on 20 minutes before Cuminao pulled of two quick fire saves to deny the home side a chance of reducing the deficit and gaining any semblance of ascendancy in the game. It proved to be a key moment as shortly after, Matt Mundy converted a spot kick after Tim Smits had been felled just inside the box, and the result was all but sealed shortly after the half hour mark when Matt Byrne rose highest to head home from a Danny Byrne corner.
Naturally the visitors returned for the second half with the job virtually completed and sat back a little, allowing the hosts to come at them which they did with some ferocity. But Centenary were unable to penetrate despite going close on a handful of occasions. Fedja Mehinagic going closest when finally beating Cuminao with a brave header as the keeper rushed out to challenge, only for his effort to drift just the wrong side of the upright. The Stormer's striker's only reward for his efforts, an injury sustained in the challenge with Cuminao which would see him withdrawn just a few minutes later.
As the half wore on, Stormers were enjoying long periods of possession and Olympic's substitute keeper Ryan Meskell, coming on to give Cuminao a rest, matched his teammate's effort with a fine save at his near post to prevent Luke Martin from scoring and the home supporters having anything to cheer.
With just over 10 minutes left on the clock, Olympic's Jake McLean produced a moment of individual brilliance to net his sides sixth goal on the night, floating a looping strike over Stormer's keeper Tyron Rathbone from some 30 yards out.
The home side continued to search for that one consolation goal that would give their supporters something to celebrate but it was not to be as Referee Joey Lee sounded the final whistle that sees Olympic progress to the quarter finals and a gallant Centenary Stormers bow out and more importantly, not disgraced.
The hosts at times played some neat passing football and despite crashing out of this season's Canale Travel Cup, they'll have gained some valuable experience from this encounter which should see them go all the way to claiming the Capital League 3 title this campaign. It was thought that the small, tight and bumpy Atthows Park pitch would disrupt Olympic's style of play but they handled it relatively easily, with their pace and experience proving to be too much for their opponents.
FB Media - Player of the match Brandon Cuminao - Olympic FC. When called upon after a period of inactivity in the rain, the Olympic stopper produced a handful of superb saves to prevent Stormers finding a way back into the game and subsequently gaining any confidence in doing so.
Report & Photos by: Ian Judd - FB Media