Almanac Soccer – The Magic of the Cup: Quarter Finals (Green Gully SC)

Continuing my journey through the 2016 FFA Cup from the very beginning. I started off with my local side Backpackers FC and had followed them until they were knocked out by Curtin Uni, who fell to Stirling Lions. The Lions were eliminated by Cockburn City, who in turn were eliminated by the Melbourne Knights and then arch rivals Green Gully. I will now follow that side until they are defeated and will follow that side and so on and so forth.

Who knows where I’ll end up…

ROUND ONE – BACKPACKERS FC 8 v Western United (Sunday Division 5) 0

ROUND TWO – Fremantle Croatia (Sunday Premier League) 4 v BACKPACKERS FC 4 (Backpackers won 4-2 on penalties)

ROUND THREEBACKPACKERS FC 2 v Bunbury Dynamos (South West Premier League) 0

ROUND FOUR – Curtin University (Saturday Division 2) 4 v BACKPACKERS FC 2

ROUND FIVE – CURTIN UNIVERSITY 2 v Canning City (Saturday Division 1) 0



ROUND OF 32 – Melbourne Knights (NPL VIC) 2 COCKBURN CITY 1


QUARTER FINAL – Tuesday September 27

CANBERRA OLYMPIC (ACT Premier League) v GREEN GULLY FC (Victorian National Premier League).

Well I’m now with Green Gully coming into the last eight of the FFA Cup as the adventure continued with still only clubs from WA and Victoria followed thus far. Green Gully in the next round were drawn away to a team from our nation’s capital, Canberra Olympic.

Olympic were like many other teams in post-World War II created by immigrants to serve their local community. The Greek community in Canberra decided on the name ahead of AEK Canberra in 1955 as perhaps being a nod to the upcoming Melbourne Olympics or perhaps not. While in a small league success hadn’t been a given with six league titles including in 2016 so they had found some form. Football in Canberra hadn’t had form over the years though. Canberra Cosmos played in the old NSL and were generally a disaster over the six years they were in the league. 37 wins. 40 draws and 100 losses.

Not much hope was given to this Olympic side either with the gap between ACT and Victorian football being quite significant but they did have their rough diamonds in the side. First off there was the penalty and free kick taking keeper Angelo Konstantinou who had a touch of the Chilaverts about him and had represented the Futsalroos in the Futsal World Cup coming home from his Vegas vacation early to play in the competition. There was also Celtic and Socceroos star Tommy Rogic’s older and rather less talented brother Adam along with Victorian and NSW Premier League journeyman Robert Cattanach still plugging away at 32.

After playing the Knights off the pitch in the previous round Green Gully were just as vicious from the get go in this game with a few of their fans in attendance and their clubrooms packed at home with the big screen showing the match. Matty Reid, a dangerous player in the previous round, had a glancing header go wide after 10 minutes for Green Gully as Olympic were kept in their own half. After a rash foul the resulting free kick by Green Gully’s Liam Boland was saved thanks to a wonderful Konstantinou who pushed it on to the woodwork. Olympic were barely surviving against the side from Western Melbourne.

Boland was everywhere against the home side being the source to which Green Gully launched their attacks but, while the lead up work was good, chances were snuffed out by Konstantinou standing tall or wasteful delivery. Still 0-0 at half time in a 45 minutes that hadn’t been that remarkable.

Early in the second half Boland had another top free kick go inches wide as Olympic still managed to keep at 0-0 as the time ticked away. There was finally a booking when at the 50 minute mark Rogic put in a rash challenge that saw him with a yellow while his team mate Tim Bobolas and Green Gully’s Mathew Reid had a minor handbag like disagreement that saw both of them get yellows. Then on the hour mark it would seem Olympic’s dream was going to snuff out when Rogic again went in hard trying to stop the flow of the Green Gully midfield and was sent off. Tommy would be rather disappointed with that but probably sees challenges like that in Scotland every week.

With 30 minutes left Olympic retreated even more in to their shell but encouraged by a crowd that was around the average of what Cosmos used to get on the main stage at Bruce Stadium. Habtemariam replaced Reeve to solidify the midfield as the bookings now came Green Gully’s way mainly through frustration at the 10 man wall they were up against. This was anti-football but it seemed Olympic had no real option relying on quick passing to wingers cutting in the key on the break whenever they could get the ball.

Time ticked towards the end of 90 minutes and probable extra time with sheep stations on the table and being played for. An agonising four minutes ticked past 90 minutes as it seemed Green Gully would have to make the breakthrough in extra time after being the far better side. With the referee almost ready to blow the whistle the sub for Olympic Jeremy Habtemariam received the ball on the edge of the area in a rare time of continued possession for Olympic. Habtemariam passed off to Bobolas on the right who gave it back with a nice 1-2 before the most experienced player on the pitch, former Victory captain Roddy Vargas, put in a clumsy challenge on the Habtemariam and a penalty was given. SCENES! Vargas protested so vehemently that he was booked.

Cruel for the dominant Green Gully but Olympic fans were delirious. Who would take the penalty? Cattanach was still on the pitch but after repelling the visitors and waves of attacks for 95 minutes it had to be big Angelo Konstantinou to take the spot kick. With his harry highpants trackydacks and cap that made him look like a competition winner on at half time he hit the ball with such ferocity it was like the ball had been shot out of a howitzer smashing again the underside of the crossbar and in with the keeper nowhere. 1-0!!! Incredible drama as the game kicked off again for a nano-second before full time was blown and Olympic had remarkably defeated their Victorian rivals to go through to the semi-finals of the FFA Cup. Of all the non A-League sides no one expected a team from the ACT amongst some giant clubs in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia would be the last ones standing against the professionals.

In the semi-finals they will host Sydney FC in a game that may well get moved to Bruce Stadium where the ghosts of the Canberra Cosmos still lay. Should be a big night for the club. Down to the last four and I’m still not following an A-League side!


CROWD – 2039. A huge crowd for a game in Canberra. The Cosmos in the NSL averaged just over 2500.

ATMOPSHERE – N/A through online watching.



Olympic are at home to Sydney FC in the semi finals on 19 October.

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About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.

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