MARCONI Stallions remain top of the Grade 20s competition ladder at the conclusion of a high-scoring round fourteen, which saw 22 goals scored over two matches on Saturday and four on Sunday.
This week’s match of the round followed competition leaders Marconi Stallions to Lambert Park, where they recorded a 2-0 win over APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
Match of the Round
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC 0-2 Marconi Stallions FC, Saturday 5.30pm at Lambert Park
Marconi Stallions scored two early goals at Lambert Park on Saturday afternoon to defeat APIA Leichhardt Tigers 2-0; the win keeping the Stallions at the top of the Grade 20s competition ladder at the end of round fourteen. Noah Chianese and Zac Sfiligoi scored for the visitors within ten minutes of the kickoff to give, before Marconi held out against a spirited APIA revival to take home the full three points.
The first half’s early exchanges gave little indication as to how the match would play out, with both sides gently testing the opposition defence as the ball moved around the midfield. The shape of the game was changed entirely, however, by two early Marconi goals, both arriving within the first ten minutes of kickoff. With just five minutes on the clock, Noah Chianese burst through the Tigers’ backline, latching onto a through ball that had split the central defenders, and hit an early shot past Christopher Moore in the APIA goal; the goalkeeper’s touch not heavy enough to deflect the ball away to safety.
With a 1-0 lead established after just seven minutes, Marconi continued to probe the Leichhardt defence and scored again, just two minutes after their first goal, when Zac Sfiligoi rose highest to meet a corner to double the visitors’ advantage in the ninth minute. Twice interrupted by Marconi goals as they attempted to settle the match into an appreciable rhythm, APIA set about attempting to pull one back themselves before the halftime break.
Now two goals up, Marconi appeared content, to a point, to allow APIA more time on the ball as they looked to preserve their lead. APIA, however, seemed unable to create clear cut opportunities for their attackers, and striker Lachlan Scott was left largely isolated up front; more often charged with chasing down overhit passes from midfield than threatening Jacopo d’Antimo in the Marconi goal.
The home side were presented with a series of corners as the half wore towards a close; Scott coming closest to the goal when he headed an effort straight into the ground for D’Antimo to claim. Marconi remained a threat on the counter, and Bright Appiah should have extended the Stallions’ lead to three at halftime, but he could only drag his shot wide from near to directly in front of goal when played in by Ryan Peterson on the right.
APIA enjoyed noticeably more possession after the break, but were laboured in moving the ball around the park, and despite their best efforts, Bradley Bartels and Scott were unable to inspire an early goal to kickstart a comeback from the home side. Indeed, Marconi came closest to the game’s third goal: first through Jack Press, who shot narrowly across the face of Moore’s goal, then Ryan Peterson, whose shot was saved by the goalkeeper at point blank range after a strong run through the box by Callum Fitzpatrick.
With ten minutes remaining, APIA found themselves out of both time and ideas. Lachlan Scott might have made it 2-1 when he swiveled to shoot on the right side of the goal, but his shot sailed high and wide to the relief of visiting goalkeeper d’Antimo. The home side had a further three corners to see out the match, and perhaps score a consolation goal, but Marconi were able to clear easily in each instance and held out for a 2-0 win.
"If you take the first seven minutes out of that, and two silly goals, then it was a much more even game than the scoreline might suggest," said APIA coach Danial Cummins. "The second half was much better from us, and we created some chances that we just couldn’t put away.
"We’re missing our captain at the moment but he’ll be back next week – towards the end of this one we had maybe seven under-18s players out there, so we’re looking forward to a few of our 20s players coming back for our next game. Points are what get you places in this competition and we don’t have enough at the moment, but we do have a good foundation to build on, and the boys are working hard to turn these results around."
"APIA were up for it in the opening exchanges – they’re playing for their season now, so we knew we had to match them, and we did," said Marconi coach Nick Dimovski, who has now overseen three wins and a draw in his four matches in charge of the 20s side. "We scored twice in the opening ten minutes and created a number of chances right throughout the game. Their goalkeeper was outstanding.
"We worked on our set pieces throughout the week, so it’s nice to see the training pay dividends with those two early goals. 2-0 is a scary scoreline, but we’re an attacking team, and we created nine or ten chances in the second half that might’ve gone in on a different day against a different keeper."
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC 0
Marconi Stallions FC 2
Saturday June 14, 2015
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC: Adattini, Bartels, Casali, Cook, Cox, McCarron, Moniaci, Moore, Perez, Ryzewski, Scott
Substitutes: Alassmi, Grasso, Koliomihos, Van Den Berg
Marconi Stallions FC: Andricopolous, Appiah, Chianese, Coletta, Malfara, Peterson, Sfiligoi, Stewart, Vella, D’Antimo, Fabiano
Substitutes: Boyadijan, Fitzpatrick, Press, Sekutkoski, Sutherland
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 1-5 Sydney Olympic FC, at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Sydney Olympic continued their chase of the breakaway top three, five points ahead of Sydney United in fourth, with a resounding 5-1 win at Bonnyrigg Sports Club in the only other Saturday afternoon match. Leading 3-1 at the break, Olympic scored twice more in the second half to extend their lead to four, only the first time this season they’ve scored more than three in one match. Bonnyrigg, meanwhile, remain bottom of the ladder after their third loss in four matches.
Parramatta FC 0-5 Blacktown City FC, at Melita Stadium
Blacktown City return to Lilys Football Centre with three points after a conclusive 5-0 win over Parramatta FC at Melita Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Juan Zapata and Jonathan Grozdanovski both scored twice for the visitors, with Sam Perre chipping in with a goal of his own to complete Parramatta’s humiliation. Blacktown’s last defeat came over the first weekend of May, and they have since gone on to take fourteen points out of a possible eighteen to move third on the table.
South Coast Wolves FC 0-1 Sutherland Sharks FC, at Win Stadium
Sutherland Sharks edged a narrow 1-0 defeat of South Coast Wolves at Win Stadium on Sunday afternoon to keep up the pressure on first placed Marconi Stallions; the Sharks still just two points behind the competition leaders. Charles Lokolingoy scored the only goal of the game, the first for the striker since returning to the Grade 20s after a spell in the Sutherland first team. South Coast Wolves stay seventh after their fifth loss in as many weeks.
Sydney United 58 FC 6-1 Blacktown Spartans FC, at Sydney United Sports Centre
Sydney United 58 returned home to Sydney United Sports Centre after last week’s draw with Sutherland Sharks to thrash Blacktown Spartans 6-1 on Sunday afternoon; only the Spartans second-heaviest defeat of the season following their 9-1 loss to Sutherland in the opening round. Kyle Cimenti scored twice for the home side, with Liam McGing, Jack Stewart, Cristian Gonzalez and Tariq Maia all also contributing to the final scoreline. The defeat sees the Spartans hold their place in tenth, with 13 points from 14 games.
Rockdale City Suns FC 1-0 Manly United FC, at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale recorded only their second win of the season with a 1-0 defeat of Manly United at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon – their first win of the season, incidentally, coming in the reverse fixture in late March, a 1-0 Rockdale win at Cromer Park. Rockdale’s Michael Loupis scored the only goal of the game, his second in four matches, as Manly slipped to their first loss since April.
– by Max Grieve, PS4 National Premier Leagues Grade 20s Reporter