THE LOCAL derby between Marconi Stallions and Bonnyrigg White Eagles was another much anticipated clash which in the end narrowly favoured the visitors.
The White Eagles were in total control in the first 45 minutes while the Stallions made the game a much tighter affair in the second stanza of play after showing capabilities that, if on display for a full 90 minutes, would have them in a much better position on the table.
In the eleventh minute a shot by Tynan Diaz for the visitors wasn’t too far off the target and four minutes later Robbie Younis tried his luck from outside the box and once again the White Eagles didn’t miss by too much on this occasion either. It was an indication of how the first half would be played out with the home side on the back foot to the visitors throughout.
In the 20th Bonnyrigg did take the lead when Alex Canak, against his old club, simply had to tap the ball into an open goal after a diagonal cross from the right by Adam Jenner.
Immediately after the goal the visitors came close to doubling the score when an almighty shot from Yuta Kokado was slightly deflected by a defender and the young Italian goalkeeper Jacopo D’Antimo brilliantly turned the ball away for a corner.
However, the visiting fans didn’t have to wait too long because in the 22nd minute Canak once again struck gold when, from close range after receiving an accurate corner from Chris Tadrosse, he headed straight in. At this stage it seemed that it may have been a long night for the Stallions but luckily a grittier second half display made sure that it wasn’t.
In the 31st minute though a very dangerous cross by Tynan Diaz from the right was well punched way by D’Antimo and three minutes later the White Eagles should really have been up by three goals: a free kick from Younis went around the wall and straight onto the left hand post with an almighty thud.
In the 38th minute Diaz nicely set up Canak and his shot was well saved by D’Antimo and shortly before the break a shot from outside the box by Younis once again called into action the Stallions’ goalkeeper who turned the ball nicely over the crossbar for a corner.
The second half started in a much more positive fashion for the Stallions when halftime replacement Anthony Flood with sheer determination in the 52nd minute scored. After losing the ball he managed to regather, weave through three defenders, dribble past the outstretched goalkeeper James Chronopoulos and open the scoring for Marconi.
It was the type of effort that coach Jeff Suzor would have been hoping for after sending his troops out after the break following his halftime pep-talk and, for Flood himself, it was a goal to make up for lost time having sat out eight weeks earlier in the season with a knee injury.
The second half then proceeded to be a grind with both teams not prepared to give an inch. Marconi now back in the game knew that they had a real chance of equalising while Bonnyrigg were equally determined to hold them off and, if possible, further their own lead. Consequently shots on goal were not exactly the order of the day as the midfield battle took centre stage.
In the 81st minute on the run Younis fired a volley straight at D’Antimo who did very well to pull off a nice reflex save. It was a rare moment for the highlights reel in the second half.
In the 89th minute Canak was brought down in the box by Tsovolos and referee Kurt Ams correctly awarded the spot kick. Up stepped Younis who fired away but goalkeeper D’Antimo saved well by diving away to his right hand side.
After the game Brian Brown coach of Bonnyrigg White Eagles spoke about the narrow victory.
“In the first half we created a lot of chances and we should have been more goals up but in the second half we were poor,” he said.
“They competed but we still should have put the game away and we didn’t. Credit to Marconi in the second half because they lifted and played well but in the end Marconi is a tough place to come so I am happy with the three points.”
In the Marconi dressing room Jeff Suzor was pleased with his side’s second half effort but not so much the first half.
“We were in big trouble in the first half but I thought that we had the better of the second half to be fair,” he said. “We changed the way we were playing in the second half. We changed the tactics because we were trying to play out in the first half, they were pressing us and we were making too many mistakes.
“In the second half we were a lot more direct and it worked better. It’s difficult to play the full 90 minutes like that after the team has only won two games, but now it’s all about the players believing in themselves and games like this help.”
Marconi Stallions 1 (Flood 52’)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2 (Canak 20’, 22’)
Saturday 6th June
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Nick Backo, Thomas Lee
Fourth Official: Tristan Horns
Marconi Stallions: D’Antimo, Austin, Drewery (72’ Vella), Lum, Nunes, Ott (80’ R.Peterson), Simonovic (46’ Flood), Schmidt, Tsolvolos, Rhodes, Donatello
Substitutes not used: Nastic, Stewart
Yellow Cards: Ott 50’, Tsovolos 87’, Schmidt 93’
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: Chronopoulos, Tadrosse, Diaz, Fox, Gil, Jenner, Canak, Kokado (92’ Mansueto), Miller, A.Peterson (85’ Douglas), Younis
Substitutes not used: Krljar, Savicic, McDonald
3. Alex Canak (BWE)
2. Adam Jenner (BWE)
1. Jacopo D’Antimo (MS)
– by Joe Russo, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Marconi Stadium