A workmanlike performance saw Bonnyrigg White Eagles move back to the top of the table courtesy of a hard-fought 2-0 win over Marconi Stallions at Marconi Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The creative freedom Brian Brown encourages from his wing backs proved to be the difference on the day as Jordan Crighton and Chris Tadrosse struck goals in each half to earn the three points.
While the sides were fairly evenly matched in the first-half, Bonnyrigg went on to gain control of the second period to see out the win against the opposition that pipped them to the title in last season’s grand finale.
The win moves Bonnyrigg two points clear of Sutherland Sharks at the summit while Marconi Stallions remain mid-table at the halfway point of the season.
Bonnyrigg looked to assert early pressure on Marconi’s backline as they attacked in numbers in the opening minutes and forced the hosts to defend on the edge of their own 18-yard box.
Having netted a brilliant long rang effort a fortnight earlier Bo Hyun Chun looked to repeat the feat with the first effort on target of the match yet he couldn’t find the connection he needed as his strike was easily gathered by James Chronopoulos.
Marconi looked dangerous on the break as they hit their opponents with pace while the visitors looked to utilise space on the flanks with Tadrosse and Crighton pushing forward from the left and right side of defence respectively to assist in attack.
The first clear chance of the match came to Robbie Younis as Adrian Ucchino fed the ball to his feet in the box; the enigmatic striker was able to turn his marker yet mishit his finish which was well covered by the keeper.
The hosts looked to have split Bonnyrigg open just before the quarter hour mark when Milorad Simonovic smartly played Evan Berger into the box however Matthew Nash was quick off his line to spread his frame and block the winger’s finish at the expense of a corner.
Marconi then looked dangerous from the set piece as Nahuel Arrarte and Berger’s corners both drew vital punches from Nash to clear the dangerous deliveries to safety.
The opportunities seemed to help the hosts grow in confidence as momentum began to swing in their favour.
Simonovic got in on the action midway through the first-half as he chased down a long ball to outpace and outmuscle Alex Mansueto and force his way through on goal; Nash was again on hand to block the striker’s placed finish to keep his side level.
A determined Chronopoulos then produced a brilliant save of his own soon after when Younis beat the offside trap and gracefully rounded the keeper only to see Chronopoulos recover in time to get down and hold the striker’s finish as he looked to place the ball into an open net.
Younis left the Marconi defence in his wake once again minutes later to latch onto Ucchino’s lofted through ball however the striker couldn’t get his finish on target as it drifted harmlessly over the crossbar.
Tadhg Purcell found space on the left flank just after the half hour mark and left the Bonnyrigg defence stranded with a delightful ball that wrong-footed the visiting backline and found Simonovic with time to line up a volley; Simonovic perhaps should have made more of the opportunity as he struck the ball wide of the near post much to the relief of Brian Brown and Co.
Bonnyrigg began to settle down and move the ball around well as they looked to play their own game and regain control of the centre of the park.
While they were successful in doing so they also forced their way into the lead late in the half when Marconi failed to clear a Tadrosse corner and allowed Crighton the space to volley on the turn; the defender’s shot found its way through a cluster of players and into the back of the net to break the deadlock.
Simonovic almost grabbed an equaliser from Marconi’s next attack yet Nash was on hand once again to block the half-chance as Bonnyrigg held their one goal lead going into the interval.
The match tightened back up after the restart as both sides contested a tight midfield duel that saw clear chances in front of goal temporarily dry up.
Sean O’Connell found space on the right flank before delivering a dangerous cross to Arrarte however the Marconi captain failed to hit the target as blasted the ball out of the stadium with a wild attempt.
The hosts were punished for the miss by their opposing captain just before the hour mark when Bonnyrigg doubled their advantage.
Fine lead up play on the right flank culminated with Tadrosse sneaking forward from the left side of defence to pop up unmarked in the Marconi box before driving a low shot past Chronopoulos and inside the near post to give his side some breathing space.
Marconi coach Jean-Paul De Marigny responded immediately by withdrawing Simonovic and injecting Japanese import Kojiro Hori into his attack as he searched for a way to get his side back into the match.
While the hosts pressed forward in the hunt of a goal they almost self-destructed at the back when Ali Haydar’s weak back pass left Chronopoulos in all sorts of trouble; the keeper recovered to race off his line to make a half clearance that required Damian Travis to concede a tactical foul and consequently a yellow card to prevent Bonnyrigg putting the ball into an open goal.
With a number of players lined up to take the ensuing free-kick on the edge of the box Younis curled just over to let the hosts breathe a sigh of relief.
Mansueto came close to becoming Bonnyrigg’s third defender to score on the afternoon when a half chance fell to him from the corner yet a deflection off a Marconi player saw the ball deflect just wide of the far post.
Marconi continued to push numbers forward into the Bonnyrigg half yet couldn’t quite break down their opponent’s backline while often leaving themselves exposed at the back.
Younis appeared to be on his way through on goal to net Bonnyrigg’s third when Howard Fondyke stole possession and played a through ball into the striker’s path yet Haydar did well to track back and block Younis’ route to goal before he knocked a wayward finish well off target under the defender’s pressure.
Younis then snuck his way past Travis and substitute Steven Drewery with a sneaky touch in the dying minutes only for Chronopoulos to deny the striker one final time before Bonnyrigg saw out the final few minutes of their two goal victory.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles coach Brian Brown was pleased with the performance of his side on the afternoon, especially in the second half when they closed out the victory and perhaps could have scored more:
“I’m very happy,” smiled Brown.
“I thought it was a very good workmanlike performance from the team.
“I thought defensive we were strong, that was the base of letting us get forward and I’m very happy with the performance.
“The pitch is very bobbly so we made a couple of little minor changes at half time and I thought in the second-half we were pretty dominant and probably should have scored a few more.”
Brown went on to turn his side’s focus away from their position at the top of the table to keep them focussed on the task at hand next weekend:
“I’m not really too worried about that,” said Brown.
“Obviously you want to stay at the top if you can but we’re halfway through the season and we keep winning and that’s all we want now.
“We’ll look forward to next week and get look to get another winning performance.”
Marconi Stallions coach Jean-Paul De Marigny was disappointed with the result after his side let a number of goal scoring chances slip through their fingers in the first-half:
“I thought we opened the game really well,” said De Marigny.
“We got behind them a few times and combined nicely in the attacking third there.
“To be fair if we can put one of them away it’d be nice but it wasn’t meant to be.”
Now at the midway point of the season De Marigny will look to add numbers to his squad to aid their challenge for a top five finish to qualify for the finals series at the season’s end:
“You’re only as good as your last game so we’re looking forward to the second part of the season,” explained De Marigny.
“Hopefully we’ll get numbers back on the pitch and hopefully it works out for us.
“We’ve got to get into the top five; that’s our major thing you know.
“Hopefully we’ll get a few more players on board which we’re looking like doing and we’ll try keep our players on the pitch so we can have our numbers at around fifteen to sixteen players, then we should be right in the mix of it.”
Marconi Stallions 0
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2 (Jordan Crighton 41’, Chris Tadrosse 57’)
Sunday May 26th, 2013
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields and Scott Edeling
Fourth Official: Brett Lorimer
Marconi Stallions: 22.James Chronopoulos; 2.Mitchell Thompson, 3.Ali Haydar, 4.Umut Tokdogan (29.Steven Drewery 46’), 7.Sean O’Connell, 8.Jared Lum, 10.Milorad Simonovic (25.Kojiro Hori 59’), 14.Evan Berger, 17.Tadhg Purcell, 19.Damian Travis, 26.Nahuel Arrarte
Substitutes Not Used: 12.Anthony Proia, 16.Mark Cindric, 21.Stefan Giglio
Yellow Cards: Damian Travis 69’, Nahuel Arrarte 84’
Red Cards: Nil
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1.Matthew Nash; 2.Alex Mansueto, 5.Chris Tadrosse, 8.Alex Canak (19.Aaron Peterson 66’), 9.Robert Younis, 10.Mitchell Long (7.Tynan Diaz 90’), 14.Jordan Crighton, 15.Steven Hesketh, 16.Howard Fondyke, 18.Adrian Ucchino, 21.Bo Hyun Chun (4.Vuko Tomasevic 87’)
Substitutes Not Used: 23.David Gullo, 33.Nikodin Matic
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Adrian Ucchino (BWE)
2 – Jordan Crighton (BWE)
1 – Damian Travis (MS)
-By Michael Shoolman