The Marconi Stallions pulled on a late show to a record a memorable 2-1 victory over the Sutherland Sharks at Seymour Shaw under the new coaching director of Jeff Suzor.
Suzor replaced Paul Carter who was given the news earlier in the week and the new manager got off to a belting start in his first grade managerial debut as goals to Robbie Shields and the winner from Milorad Simonovic sealed the victory over the Sharks.
The match was a lacklustre affair for the opening fifteen minutes as both sides tried to gain the upper hand in midfield with the experience of Sharks midfielder Steve Hayes and work-horse Stallions player Chris Nunes leading the way.
The sides tried width and length but both long balls and crosses were easily taken care of by the respective defences.
Hayes and Sean O’Connell did play a good one-two in the 17th minute with Hayes’ curling effort from the by-line smashing the side netting.
For Marconi, Bright Appiah was a constant menace on the left flank with many of his efforts being rewarded with Marconi corners.
In the 20th minute Robbie Shields fired the ball over the crossbar which was about the closest the Stallions came to a goal in the first half.
Five minutes later it was Sutherland who spurned a golden chance to take the lead.
Hayes had played a perfect ball into Seongjin Park’s feet only for Park, who was one on one with Sam Nastic, to smash the ball over the crossbar.
On the half hour it seemed Alex Jovovic was to put Sutherland ahead but he was deemed offside.
It was to be Jovovic’s last contribution as he eventually went off injured after a clash with Nastic in the same play.
In the 37th minute Appiah gave away a foul for a hand ball and from the resultant free kick Sean O’Connell played the ball to James McKenzie on the left.
He fired the ball into the mix for Jordan Figon to turn on the ball and shoot. His effort was half blocked by Nastic but fell into the path of defender Jacob Tratt who continued his recent rich form of scoring to put his side a goal up.
It was to be his fourth goal in successive matches.
Despite Sutherland continuing to give the ball away, Marconi were unable to capitalise and went into the break a goal behind.
The second half began as the first, with little goal mouth action but plenty of fervour in the middle of the park.
Sutherland keeper Nathan Denham dealt expertly with anything that came his way but the danger of the crosses and general play from Marconi was a warning to the home side that the visitors were still in this match.
Sharks’ promising young midfielder Lukas Stergiou fought well in the middle of the park for the locals, helping his side win the midfield battle overall.
Two clear cut chances came in two minutes in the 67th and 68th minute.
First substitute Bai Antoniou ran through the middle of the park and shot from thirty metres which seemed to make the world stop as it just curled around the post.
It would have been a world class goal.
Then Jacob Ott on the left played it into Ryan Peterson who stepped past the defence but shot straight at Denham who stopped the ball well. It was to be a warning of more to come though.
The match then reverted to form with much play in the middle of the park, both defences dealing with any dangers.
As much as the home side battled it was the visitors who remained switched on for the entire ninety and got their rewards in the latter stages of the match.
In the 88th minute, Nunes fought for the ball in the middle of the park and won it. He slid the ball through to Shields who capped off a great game by stepping past his marker and slotting the ball into the back of the net.
That wasn’t to be the last talking point of the match however as in the 90th minute Milorad Simonovic broke through the middle of the park to expertly chip keeper Denham and hand Marconi the vital win.
Marconi captain Chris Nunes was delighted with what was a courageous comeback from the Stallions who finally got back to their winning ways.
“This was a crucial victory for us.
“After such a slow start earlier in the season, this victory demonstrated the team’s commitment in never giving up, and we showed that this evening.”
Meanwhile it was a sombre affair in the Sharks dressing shed as coach Steve O’Connor lamented on what could have been after losing out on all three points.
“This game showed that we need to learn how to close out a match rather than just chasing another goal.
“This was a game we really should have taken full advantage of but failed to do so and suffered the consequences.”
Sutherland Sharks 1
Marconi Stallions 2
(Shields 88, Simonovic 90)
Saturday 9th May 2015
Referee: David Bruce
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields & Janush Adabjou
Fourth Official: Adam Naylor
Sutherland Sharks: Denham, Caton, Figon, Hayes, Jovovic (Antoniou 38′), McKenzie, Moustakas, O’Connell, Park, Stergiou, Tratt
Subs Not Used: Depta, Crevani, McStay, Mitwali
Yellow cards: Figon 66′, McKenzie 82′
Marconi Stallions: Nastic, Appiah (Ott 60′), Lum, Mijic, Nunes, Peterson (Press 74′), Rhodes, Schmidt, Shields, Simonovic (Tsovolos 92′), Travis
Yellow cards: Appiah 37′, Lum 77′
3 – Chris Nunes (MF)
2 – Lukas Stergiou (SS)
1 – Robbie Shields (MF)
-by Stuart Jones, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Seymour Shaw Park.