Hills United take down Sydney Olympic for second time in 2024 season

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Report by Dominic Criniti

Hills United have taken down Sydney Olympic for the second time in the 2024 season with a 2-1 win at the Landen Stadium on Saturday May 25.

The hosts found the back of the net first after a classy header from their skipper Glen Kelshaw in the first half but Olympic fired back moments after the restart through Roy O’Donovan.

After being behind for the majority of the second half, Hills found a winner through a break of play as Yu Okubo put the finishing pieces on an exceptional team goal in the 81st minute.

It was a back and forth start to the game with both sides pushing plenty of numbers forward in the early stages in search of a crucial opening goal.

The hosts had the first chance of the game through Yu Okubo as his low-driven strike narrowly scrapped past the front post.

After the early scare, Olympic answered back with two crossing chances of their own, forcing the Hills defence into a couple of heroic stops in front of goal.

Okubo was front and centre for the Hills attack once again with his close-range shot making Noah James work his hardest to steer his shot away from the target. The save fell straight into the path of the hosts’ attack but the follow up header from Glen Kelshaw went narrowly over the bar,

Hills finally cracked open the Olympic defence in the 23rd minute as a looping ball from Jordan Lane found the head of Kelshaw as he neatly placed his effort in front of an outstretched James.

Olympic had a golden chance to level the score up moments after conceding but Michael Vakis’ curling effort was comfortably defused by Ryan Wood.

With the minutes ticking away, Hills was presented with the best chance of the half after a defensive clearance fell perfectly into the path of Thomas Lopez. As the ball popped up at the edge of the box, Lopez agonisingly skied his chance, in what would be the last opportunity for either side in the first half.

Both sides started off the second half in a similar fashion to the first, with a free-flowing feel in attack from both outfits dictating the opening stages.

Olympic quickly seized the momentum and would go on to control the majority of proceedings in the second half.

Roy O’Donovan levelled the score for Olympic minutes after the restart courtesy of a perfect pass from Will Mutch. The veteran striker nearly had his side in the lead seconds later but a strong stop from Wood kept the visitors at bay.

O’Donovan began to make his presence felt on the game, as both a poacher and playmaker, and giving the Hills’ defence plenty of headaches in the process.

Hills began to re-find their footing in the game but were unable to make any of their chances in front of goals count for the time being.

Wood was the hero once again for Hills with a sensational double save, denying a strong effort from Jackson Bandiera before denying O’Donovan on the follow-up.

The save meant even more for the hosts who would score from the resulting counterattack, with Cam Philp setting up Okubo with a one-on-one with James, where he made no mistakes.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for Olympic, after looking the likelier of the two sides to score throughout the second half.

Olympic was dealt one last blow as Mutch was shown to quickfire yellow cards for dissent, leaving the visitors with ten men for the final five minutes.

Hills dictated the flow in the final stages of the game and held on for their second win of the season against Olympic who have been one of the let downs of the season following on from their exciting roster that has not fired consistently in 2024.

Source: Football NSW

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