MARCONI Stallions, fresh from an away win at Seymour Shaw Park last weekend, were looking for back-to-back wins but fell short, going down to a hungry Sydney United 58 3-1 at home.
The first chance of the game came in the seventh minute when Ryan Peterson headed against the base of the post for Marconi.
It was short lived for Marconi though, as ‘Birthday boy’ Robbie Milevski netted at the other end in the 11’ minute to give Sydney United 58 the lead. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Marconi, who should have found themselves in the lead just moments earlier.
Chris Triantis followed this up with a shot from the edge of the box which Stallions ‘keeper Sam Nastic did well to get behind, as United began to find their feet.
Panni Nikas caught the roof of the netting from a free-kick around 25-yards out in the 18’ minute, and another Nikas free-kick whipped into the box alluded all, Damien Travis needed to be sharp to put the ball out for a corner.
From the restart the ball eventually fell to Richie Cardozo to finish in the 25’ minute as United extended their lead to two goals.
A little needle crept into the game as a flurry of cautions were handed out. Mileski for United was the latest, but it didn’t bother him as he went straight up the Marconi end and netted his second and United’s third of the night. A slight deflection appeared to wrong foot Nastic and United’s lead was three.
Marconi ‘keeper Nastic was replaced after the break after he picked up a knock in stoppage time, and he was replaced by Jacopo D’Antimo.
Marconi reduced the deficit when, from a corner the ball fell to Robbie Shields in the 47’ minute. He fired home from 10 yards out to give the Stallions a sniff of an unlikely comeback.
Stjepan Paric almost restored the three goal cushion in the 53’ minute when he skipped past the defence and curled a delightful ball goal ward that had D’Antimo flat-footed. It bounced back off the angle of bar and post but had it found the back of the net it would have been a contender for goal of the season.
Marconi were certainly pegging back United with a free flowing and swaggering style of football, typified by Chris Nunes and his back-heel flicks but breaking down the resolute defence of the Reds, led impeccably by skipper Ibrahim Haydar, was another matter. Nunes was, however, to find himself in the book for a rash challenge on Paric.
Paric should have added a fourth for United when he pushed his effort wide of the upright in the 72’ minute, which surely would have wrapped up the points for the Reds.
United 58 coach Mark Rudan was pleased with the effort from his side.
“Tonight was a good reaction from the last two weeks and we wanted to make amends because we’ve had a lot of games, this was our fifth in 13 days so the boys were a bit tired but they worked to our structure and gave the performance I think we were all after," he said.
“We conceded an early goal in the second-half but overall I felt we created the better chances and our ‘keeper didn’t have a save to make apart from that.
“It was a battling performance and the guys had nothing left in the tank and that showed in the final 20’ minutes where there were plenty of heavy legs out there but all in all it was a good performance and we got the result we deserved against an improving Marconi side so we’re happy with the points.”
Marconi’s new coach Jeff Suzor, who last week replaced Paul Carter, said his side paid the price for silly mistakes.
“I thought we started the game really well and were perhaps unlucky not to hit the lead but we made a couple of silly errors which we need to fix and find ourselves chasing the game against a quality outfit," he said."
“The one pleasing aspect about the second half is that in weeks gone by had we gone into the break 3-0 down we would have copped a few more and we didn’t tonight. We said at half-time not to drop our heads but to come out and show some ticker and we certainly did that and we’ll take some real positive from that and move on to next week.
“The message to the boys is to have a bit more belief in themselves and what we can do and I suppose we have the mentality that we are actually going out there to try and win the games now which has been lacking when the confidence was down.
“We are trying to play a positive brand of football and that is what we spoke about, not to go back into the shell but to come out and give it a go and we took some good steps toward that this evening.”
Marconi Stallions 1 (Shields 47)
Sydney United 58 FC 3 (Mileski 11,34, Cardozo 25 )
Saturday 16th May, 2015
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Chris Young
Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling & Matthew Cassidy
Fourth Official: Timothy Danaskos
Marconi Stallions: Nastic (D’Antimo 46), Mijic, Rhodes (Tsovolos 43), Lum (C), Ott, Shields, Simonovic, Travis, Nunes, Schmidt, Peterson (Flood 61)
Substitutes Not Used: Appiah, Coletta
Yellow Cards: Mijic 32, Nunes 69
Sydney United 58 FC: Pasfield, Cardozo, Mileski, Triantis, Dragicevic (Sherlock 88), Paric, Kofinas, Bilic, Haydar (C), Zuvela (Tomic 90), Nikas
Substitutes Not Used: Babic, Cimenti
Yellow Cards: Dragicevic 7, Triantis 30, Mileski 33
3 – Shields (MS)
2 – Cardozo (SU)
1 – Mileski (SU)
– by Micky Brock, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Marconi Stadium