MARCONI hosted Parramatta FC in round one and it was the newly promoted team that upset their more fancied rivals, thanks to two first half free-kicks from David Gullo.
Marconi played much better in the second stanza but it was the visitors who held on for a deserved victory.
In the sixth minute a shot by Luke Austin on the turn for the Stallions was deflected off a defender for a corner. It was the first chance of the game.
However, it was Parramatta FC that opened the scoring at the other end in the 11th minute when Gullo’s free-kick from outside the box ended up in the bottom left hand corner of the net. It was majestically taken by Gullo, who curled the ball around the wall with his left foot.
In the 15th minute Marconi should really have equalised when an almighty strike from Damien Travis was beautifully punched away by Luke Turnbull, and the follow-up shot by Bright Appiah was also well saved by the Parramatta FC custodian.
In the 28th minute Parramatta FC doubled their lead with a carbon copy of their first goal. Once again, Gullo from almost the same spot did the trick but this time he put the ball in the opposite side of the net.
Shortly afterwards, from some distance, Juan Chavez with a very powerful drive almost made it three for the visitors but the ball sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
After the halftime break Marconi came out with more determination and purpose about their play and it was obvious that coach Paul Carter had had a few stern words with his team. They pressed further up the field and scored in the 56th minute.
A wonderful cross from the left was met virtually right on the goal-line by a Robbie Shields volley that was somehow blocked by a back-peddling defender, and then it was left to Christopher Nunes to bring the Stallions right back into this contest.
Matthew Clowes tried his luck for Parramatta FC in the 61st minute when he charged towards the goal and tried to chip the goalkeeper, only to see his shot end up just wide of the mark.
In the 70th minute Marconi replied with a cross from the right by Liam Austin that reached Jared Lum on the far side, but his header into the ground ended up narrowly wide.
A few minutes later the action returned to the other end when Marco Sama, against his former club, didn’t get his shot away with much power from a good position and goalkeeper Sam Nastic got down low to save.
Right at the death Marconi should really have equalised, but David Talevski only hit the crossbar after an enormous phase of scrappy of play. It looked ugly but Marconi certainly wouldn’t have minded if the ball had have gone in.
After the game Parramatta FC coach Franco Cosentino wasn’t getting too carried away despite a great first up victory for his team.
“It’s hard to come here and get points and they are a good side. For us we had something to prove tonight and I thought the boys worked hard, stood up and got the points,” he said.
“David Gullo speaks for himself. He is a wonderful footballer, he knows his way around the park and I’m lucky to have him.”
When pressed to comment on his team’s ambition this year, Cosentino was extremely cautious.
“We’ll be happy to survive this year and hope that we can build on that in the following year. It’s very hard for a team that gets promoted to really be there for a top five spot.”
Marconi’s disappointment was tangible in the expression and body language of coach Paul Carter.
“We have been caught on set pieces through the whole pre-season; I am not happy at all and it was a very bad performance,” he said.
“I don’t think that the game was a very good quality one. It wasn’t good enough at all from us. Parramatta obviously were desperate, so good luck to them but it was a pretty poor game.
“My expectations are high, this is Marconi and the squad is good enough to do damage in this competition and they have to realise it and concentrate for the full 90 minutes.”
Marconi Stallions 1 (Nunes 56’)
Parramatta FC 2 (David Gullo 11’, 28’)
Saturday March 14, 2015
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistant Referees: Kearney Robinson and Jonathan Moore
Fourth Official: David Hasslet
Marconi: Nastic, Appiah (Talevski 73’), Austin, Drewery, Lum, Mijic, Nunes, Shields, Thompson, Travis, Tsovolos (79’ Brown)
Substitutes not used: Bandiera, Sfiligoi, Simonovic
Yellow Cards: Nunes 16’, Lum 24’, Mijic 53’, Thompson 89’
Parramatta FC: Turnbull, Chavez (Sama 73’), Clowes, Gatt, Daniel Gullo, David Gullo (Martey 38’), Speranza, Symons, Tayebi-Derazkala, Tsironis (Cirjak 76’), Wright
Substitutes not used: Matic, Richards
Yellow Cards: Speranza 22’, Gatt 35’, Sama 80’, Turnbull 85’
3 – David Gullo (PFC)
2 – Patt Gatt (PGC)
1 – Chris Nunes (MS)
– by Joe Russo, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Marconi Stadium.