ROUND two of the Grade 20s saw some more great football played across the competition.
In the Match of the Round, Marconi Stallions travelled the short distance to Bonnyrigg, and came out on top.
MATCH OF THE ROUND
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 0-2 Marconi Stallions, at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre
Marconi Stallions recorded a 2-0 win over Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Bonnyrigg Sports Club in the Match of the Round on Saturday afternoon, in the second week of the Grade 20s competition.
After a scoreless first half in which both sides struck the woodwork, a second yellow card for Bonnyrigg’s Justin Ivanovic just after the hour mark opened the match up for the visitors to strike twice, through Matthew Stewart and Steven Drewery.
Marconi were first to settle on the ball, though Bonnyrigg were sharp in defence from kickoff; Justin Ivanovic and Kay Kamara immediately lively for the home side as they cut out passes to move the ball quickly into attack. The first shot came after five minutes when Noah Chianese twisted free of the Bonnyrigg defenders on the edge of the box, but his shot was deflected and rolled easily for goalkeeper Liam Gobbo.
As Marconi found a rhythm down the left flank through Steven Drewery and Jack Fulton, Bonnyrigg went close after Nikola Krljar hit the the crossbar with a looping shot from outside the 16-yard box, with Reno Zenari sending a follow up volley wide from the rebound.
Perhaps feeling fortunate not to have conceded from Krljar’s shot, the Stallions seemed to lift in midfield, and Bonnyrigg’s Ivanovic earned a yellow card after stopping a quick break high up the field as Marconi looked to assert themselves. The home side, too, increased their tempo, and won a freekick in a dangerous position after Stallions goalkeeper Kristian Sekutkoski handled the ball outside the box, earning himself a yellow card in the process, but Callum Fitzpatrick hit his effort straight into the wall.
Most of the play in the first half hour was concentrated on Marconi’s right wing and Bonnyrigg’s left, through Jack Press and Jack Fulton, and Kamara and Filipovic respectively. Marconi hit the woodwork themselves; David Talevski grazing the bottom of the far post after turning a Bonnyrigg defender when cutting inside after a corner. The match became increasingly physical as halftime approached, with Marconi’s Ryan Peterson and Bonnyrigg’s Bruno Antelmi shown yellow cards for largely innocuous challenges in the midfield.
Both coaches will have been pleased with the work of their defences at halftime – neither kept a clean sheet last week – though equally determined to force the opening goal, and Marconi started the second half on the front foot; winning an early freekick that Fulton sent spinning over the crossbar. Fulton had another chance shortly after when a cross found him free at the far post, but he couldn’t hit his header past an imposing Gobbo.
Chances were wasted at both ends in the first 15 minutes of the second half; Zenari and Filipovic going close for the home side as Jack Press and Drewery continued to put pressure on the Bonnyrigg defenders. Marconi’s Fulton was awarded a yellow card on the hour mark, while Ivanovic was shown his second, and a red, after a foul on Noah Chianese, and the match began to open up for the visitors.
In the 65th minute, Bonnyrigg won a free kick, while Raimond Coletta picked up another yellow card for the Stallions, and the White Eagles very nearly took the lead; Antelmi’s shot saved at pointblank range by Sekutkoski. The goalkeeper released the ball, allowing Marconi to break quickly up the other end, and Matthew Stewart opened the scoring with a fine strike inside the near post from near to the edge of the 16-yard box.
With the advantage of an extra man, and now a goal, Marconi went searching for a second. It came only six minutes after Stewart’s; Steven Drewery finally getting his reward for an impressive performance at right back when a shot rebounded to him at close range in the 72nd minute. The Stallions eased off, and while Bonnyrigg began to control possession, Marconi remained a threat on the counter; Stewart denied his second by a vital clearance after he rounded the goalkeeper shortly after Drewery’s goal.
Jack Press collected a yellow card as Bonnyrigg continued to push for a goal in the final ten minutes. Ninos Eshow came off the bench for the home team and charged down a backpass, but the ball spun kindly out of the tackle for Sekutkoski, who gathered and cleared. While Bonnyrigg were able to work the ball up the wings with relative ease, they struggled to make their opponents pay with their efforts on goal. Their best chance, arguaby, came right at the end, after Eshow’s drilled cross found Antelmi a metre out from goal, but the Bonnyrigg forward hit too far under the bouncing ball and his shot went over the crossbar and out.
Bonnyrigg dominated possession in the final few minutes, but Marconi held out for a deserved 2-0 win.
Visiting coach Jeff Suzor was quick to point out the improvement since last week’s 2-2 draw with Parramatta FC.
"The first game of the season is always difficult, but the boys have been training hard so this is a good win," Suzor said.
"That said, I think we played poorly today – we won 2-0, and the red card changes the game, but I felt we were made to look bad, especially in the first half."
Bonnyrigg’s coach Mark Zecchin was disappointed by the result, which leaves his side with no points after their first two games, but saw potential in their performance.
"I thought we had the better of the game and we hit the crossbar in the first half. The send off changed the game, but we could have gone ahead just before they did," Zecchin said.
"They were smart, we were one man short and they spread the game to create more chances than us – that’s football."
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 0
Marconi Stallions 2 (Stewart 65′, Drewery 72′)
Saturday March 21, 2015,
Bonnyrigg Sports Club, Bonnyrigg
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: Gobbo, Antelmi, Carboni, Filipovic, Ivanovic, Kamara, Krljar, Mcdonald, Rizoski, Zarafetas, Zenari
Substitutes: Boronia, Bradshaw, Eshow, Zecevic, Tucker
Yellow Cards: Ivanovic 14′, 63′, Antelmi 45′
Red Card: Ivanovic 63′
Marconi Stallions: Sekutkoski, Chianese, Coletta, De Marigny, Fitzpatrick, Fulton, Peterson, Press, Schmidt, Talevski, Drewery
Substitutes: Andricopoulos, Donatiello, Sfiligoi, Stewart, Roebuck
Yellow Cards: Sekutkoski 20′, Peterson 44′, Fulton 60′, Coletta 65′, Press 80′
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South Coast Wolves FC 1-1 Blacktown City FC at WIN Stadium
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Sydney United 58 FC 2-3 Sutherland Sharks at Sydney United Sports Centre
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APIA Leichardt Tigers FC 2-3 Manly United FC at Lambert Park
Striker Lachlan Scott scored twice but couldn’t stop his side, APIA Leichardt, falling to a 3-2 defeat against Manly United in the Tigers’ first match at Lambert Park this season.
– by Max Grieve, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Grade 20s Reporter