Marconi Stallions hosted Blacktown Spartans in their vibrant orange outfits, but it was not only orange that the Stallions were seeing after their 3-0 home loss on a rainy Saturday evening at Bossley Park.
Red, as the colour of embarrassment, would have been more appropriate as they meekly surrendered the game to the visitors.
Blacktown Spartans played well and credit must be given where it is due but Marconi certainly allowed them to look a lot better.
For a club that proudly represents one of Australia’s greatest football names, coupled with a magnificent tradition, it is not really good enough.
The opening salvo of the game arrived in the first minute when Jordan Crighton shot from just outside the box and the ball narrowly sailed over the crossbar.
In the 13th minute of play Tomislav Mijic hooked the ball away for a corner in his own penalty area and it certainly wasn’t too convincing as the ball skewed just wide of the post and away for a corner.
The visitors continued to put pressure on the home side and in the 16th minute, one of the club’s two Japanese imports Futa Nakamura received the ball from the left and, with great control from outside the box, forced Marconi goalkeeper Sam Nastic into a great diving save to his left.
To prove that the save was no fluke Nastic kept his side’s clean sheet when in the 23rd minute he pulled off a diving save from a lethal Benjamin Tosi free kick which was well applauded by the sparse crowd.
The visitors came close again in the 28th minute when Shu Sasaki, against his former club, had the ball taken off his feet in the penalty area by the brave Nastic who was certainly earning his money between the posts.
There was to be more Nastic magic again in the 35th minute when he pulled off a double save from Sasaki. The Japanese import was first denied as Nastic came out to save his shot when one-on-one with the goalkeeper and then again the Marconi custodian saved the shot by Sasaki from the actual rebound.
Shortly afterwards on a counter-attacking move, Crighton charged dangerously from the halfway line and found Sasaki, but this time his finish was rather weak and Nastic got down well to save.
In the 42nd minute the visitors had their breakthrough which was hardly unexpected when Sasaki was denied from close range and then the rebound was nicely slotted home by Mitchell Long.
Less than a minute later it was the turn of Benjamin Tosi to put the ball in the back of the net after the Spartans had switched play twice from side to side until eventually it was centred to Tosi who, with a powerful shot, drove home from the edge of the box and scored the second goal for the Spartans.
The first half ended shortly afterwards but the narrative was simple: Blacktown Spartans totally dominated and Marconi’s best player was Nastic.
In the second half the rain started teeming down and Marconi may have wished for a torrent of water to sweep them away, such was their non-performance.
In the 61st minute Long’s shot from a good position, on what was by now a heavy ground, was well blocked by the Marconi defence.
However, less than two minutes later the Spartans had put the game beyond reach with a beautiful third goal from Joshua Da Silva who, from long range, found the back of the net with a shot that played tricks in the air and deceived the Marconi custodian.
In the 71st minute Marconi finally had their first real attacking chance when Anthony Flood went charging towards goal but, with only the goalkeeper Carlos Saliadarre to beat, he had the ball taken away from him from behind by a nice tackle from Spiros Agathos. It was a close call and had it gone marginally wrong it may have been a send-off and a penalty to the Stallions but referee Kris Griffith Jones was beautifully positioned to adjudicate on that one.
After the game Blacktown Spartans coach Ben De Haan was pleased with his side’s efforts.
“I think that’s the best we have played in that first half and honestly we should have gone into the break with a three-goal lead,” he said.
“We played some good football tonight in the conditions. I thought our team conversed really well together, played out and created heaps of chances in a pretty free-flowing game. Credit to the Marconi goalkeeper because he did extremely well especially in the first half and he made a lot of saves.
“Tonight there was a bit of a change in our team with players coming back and the leadership was huge especially through the spine of the team; they were some exceptionally good performances from our team out there tonight.”
On the other hand Marconi Stallions coach Paul Carter cut a forlorn figure when commenting on the game.
“There was some poor defending tonight and we conceded two goals in a minute in the first half,” he said.
“If we had have come off at halftime at 0-0 it would have been anybody’s game but we did give away two schoolboy errors and then we were chasing ourselves. A positive is that our goalkeeper was outstanding and I have no doubt that he is going to have a very good career ahead of him.
“We did improve in the second half when we changed a couple of things but we have played all season so far without strikers but when we had two strikers on the pitch tonight it made a difference.”
Marconi Stallions 0
Blacktown Spartans 3
(Long 42’, Tosi 43’, Da Silva 63’)
Saturday 18th April, 2015
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Kris Griffiths Jones
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields and Joon Park
Fourth Official: Sebastien Brennan
MARCONI: Nastic; Austin (56’ Drewery), Lum, Mijic, Nunes, Appiah (46’ Shields), Rhodes, Flood (85’ Tsovolos), Simonovic, Schmidt, Travis.
Substitutes not used: Sekutkoski and Talevski
Yellow Cards: Rhodes 21’, Nunes 68’, Mijic 80’
Red Cards: Nil
Blacktown Spartans: Saliadarre; Agathos, Crighton (61’ Fogarty), Dukic, Da Silva (75’ Douglas), Long (80’ Kondek), Nakamura, Sasaki, Tanner, Tomohiro, Tosi
Substitutes not used: Valastro and Nascimben
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
3. Mitchell Long (BS)
2. Joshua Da Silva (BS)
1. Sam Nastic (MS)
–by Joe Russo, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Marconi Stadium.