A number of new faces featured in both teams but it was the visitors, Rockdale City Suns that gained the ascendency with a hard fought 1-0 victory over the Marconi Stallions at Marconi Stadium on Saturday evening.
The first opportunity of the match arrived in the third minute when a shot by Anthony Flood from just outside the box brought out an early save from Ivan Necevski who had signed earlier in the week with Rockdale City Suns from Sydney FC.
Only three weeks ago the newly-signed custodian had been farewelled by Sydney FC in front of nearly 80,000 spectators at ANZ Stadium at Olympic Park when the Sky Blues hosted a Harry Kane-led Tottenham Hotspur.
The first chance for the Suns arrived shortly afterwards when Alec Urosevski shot just wide of the posts, but he didn’t have to wait too much longer for the opening goal of the game which arrived on the 17 minute mark.
A delightful cross by Marko Jesic from the left, found un-unmarked Urosevski who headed the ball into the back of the net.
In the end it was to be the only goal of the game.
In the space of a minute midway through the first half both sides had a great chance each to score.
At one end a powerful drive from Toufic Alameddine brought out the best in Sam Nastic who made a nice reflex save and, when the ball went up the other end of the field, Marconi should really have equalised.
Flood with a stupendously weighted curling shot seemed to have found the target with Necevski outstretched and beaten, but somehow the ball drifted onto the woodwork of the post instead.
On the half hour mark Urosevski, by now with his confidence well up after the opening goal, forced Nastic into another beautiful save with his long-range effort from outside the box.
Urosevski smelled blood in the water and just before the halftime break, with a diagonal drive from the left, once again called Nastic into action who turned the ball away for a corner after it seemed almost certain to go in.
Early in the second half Marconi came close to equalising when new recruit Adam Hadid rounded Necevski in the far corner of the box, but his shot was cleared off the line by Patrick Savor making good ground and scrambling back in defence to save the day for the visitors.
In the 58th minute Flood was pulled down in the area by Steven Hesketh in what appeared to be a penalty for the home side with referee Adam Susz pointing to the spot with the Stallions player receiving his second yellow card of the game.
Late in the game, a cross by Noah Chianese from the by- line reached Mitchell Thompson on the run for Marconi but his flying attempt sailed just over.
While at the other end, replacement George Codrea from close range, tested Nastic who made a nice save down low to prevent the visitors from doubling their lead.
In time added-on, Marconi could really have equalised when another Chianese cross from the right found Milorad Simonovic, who unmarked, forced Ivan Necevski into a brilliant diving save to block his shot.
Suns player manager Paul Reid was happy with the points but not necessarily with his team’s play in achieving them.
“It was a totally different game to the week before,” he stated.
“It was a pretty poor performance from us, but at this time of the year if you play ugly and win, then you don’t really mind.
“I said at halftime that we could be much better because we do set ourselves a high standard and while we could have been better in the first half, the second half was even worse. However, we’ll take the positives out of it and we’re fighting as a team which is the crucial bit.”
Over in the Marconi Stallions room, Jeff Suzor was understandably disappointed with the outcome for a number of reasons.
“We were gallant in defeat because we played nearly the whole second half with ten men,” he said.
“I thought that we were the better side and we kept pushing.
“We did a lot things to try to win the game but when things are not going for you, they’re not going for you.
“I thought that the players were outstanding today and I can’t fault them but I thought that they were really good today after last week.”
Marconi Stallions 0
Rockdale City Suns 1
Saturday 20th June 2015
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Adam Susz
Assistant Referees: Joon Park, Raymond Osborne
Fourth Official: Christopher Wells
Marconi: Nastic, Thompson, Austin, Mijic, Rhodes, Ott, Flood, Nunes, Boutoubia (50’ Simonovic), Donatello (63’ Lum), Hadid (70’ Chianese).
Substitutes not used: D’Antimo, Tsovolos
Yellow Cards: Hadid 28’, Flood 50’, Nunes 59’
Red Cards: Flood 58’
Rockdale City Suns: Necevski, Alameddine, El Hafiane, Hesketh, Jesic, Petkovski, Reid (81’ Oygur), P.Savor, Tanoski, Murayama, Urosevski (71’ Codrea).
Substitutes not used: Petrillo, Iwamoto, Visnic
Yellow Cards: Oygur 88’
Red Cards: Nil
-by Joe Russo, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Marconi Stadium.