In a battle where little more than pride was on the line, both sides had their chances to win but in the end it was the Sutherland Sharks who prevailed over a very gallant Marconi.
The visitors took an early lead before some relentless Marconi pressure forced the equaliser but, in the end, a new lease of life from the Sharks allowed them restore their lead and claim the points.
The Sharks opened the scoring in the fifth minute of play when a cross from the right by Steven Hayes found Jacob Tratt in box who delightfully headed over the shoulders of the Marconi goalkeeper.
It was a goal virtually out nothing but another cruel blow for Marconi who can’t seem to take a trick this season.
In the 21st minute a free kick by Jacob Boutoubia from outside the box drifted just wide of the intended target as the home side tried to even the ledger.
Another free kick from Boutoubia in the 30th minute was very hard and low but, despite penetrating the wall, it didn’t beat Nathan Denham in goal.
Late in the first half Jacob Ott for the home side controlled a bobbling ball outside the box and unleashed a shot that seemed certain to hit the back of the net but in the end finished just wide of the post.
Marconi at this stage were certainly in control of the game and almost immediately afterwards a diagonal volley by Boutoubia ended up also just wide.
The first half, rather uneventful if truth be told, ended shortly afterwards.
In the second half Marconi started where they had left off when the first half ended with Boutoubia, arguably one of the best players for the home side, firing a shot in the 50th minute that didn’t miss by much at all.
In the 55th minute there was a double chance to Marconi from a corner and Jacob Ott was the protagonist both times.
After a corner was played out to him just inside the box, his well-timed strike was blocked by the Sharks defence.
The ball then fortuitously reached him again and this time his rocket brought out the best in Denham who turned it away for a corner.
Marconi finally scored in the 60th minute when referee Kelly Jones awarded a penalty to the home side.
Jacob Boutoubia was brought down in the box by a defender who committed a silly trip in a dangerous position.
Boutoubia himself stepped up to the mark and tucked the ball away in the bottom left hand corner of the net despite the best efforts of Denham who guessed the correct way.
Sutherland chanced its luck a few minutes later and tried to restore their lead when substitute Charles Lokolingoy from close range forced Sam Nastic to turn the ball away for a corner.
Perhaps Marconi’s equaliser had stung them back into action because in the 68th minute they duly restored their lead, which they had for most of the game.
There was a fair amount of luck involved as a speculative shot by Bai Antoniou was deviated by Jacob Ott into his own goal when it looked as if goalkeeper Nastic had the ball covered.
It was a cruel blow twist of fate for Ott because he was definitely one of the better players for the home side.
In the 82nd minute a free-kick by Jared Lum took a wicked deflection off the
defensive wall and looked almost certain to hit the back of the net, but it wasn’t Marconi’s lucky night as the ball sailed wide almost in slow motion.
Late in the game Steven Hayes found Jordan Roberts meandering wide on the right-hand flank, but the latter’s powerful stab at the ball from some distance finished just a whisker over the crossbar.
There was to be more drama a minute later when Charles Lokolingoy from a dangerous position hit the post for the visitors but there was no time for Sutherland to rue the miss as they managed to come away with the win.
After the game their coach, former Socceroo defensive maestro Steve O’Connor was pleased with the three points.
“Marconi searched forward and kept things moving and it makes it difficult to play against because they are quick at the back too,” he said.
“We started trying to stretch out but, from our point of view, it was good to get the three points because we have lost so many close games.
“We have worked on being able to win balls in the midfield and then play out and get forward quickly. We managed to do that but it was tight in the end.
“We hit the post and so forth and probably could have finished things off earlier.”
Marconi’s coach Jeff Suzor summed up the night as basically the story of Marconi’s season.
“It’s been the same way for us for the last four weeks where we have our chances and we are in the game, but we didn’t capitalise,” he said.
“I think that we were team that was pressing and we were trying to win the game, but unfortunately it didn’t happen tonight.
“At Marconi we always play for pride. We are moving forward and we just keep going. We played six players today under the age of 20 and, when you are in a fight for relegation, we proved that we are fearless believe in our young boys.”
by Joe Russo, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park.
Marconi Stallions 1, (60’ Boutoubia pen.)
Sutherland Sharks 2, (5’ Tratt, 68’ Ott o.g.)
Saturday 1st August2015
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Kelly Jones
Assistant Referees: Danny Horstead, Janush Adabjou
Fourth Official: Karl Davies
Marconi Stallions: Nastic, Appiah, Boutoubia, Brown (Lum 76’), Donatiello (Malfara 76’), Nunes, Ott, Peterson, Press, Rhodes (Simonovic 82’), Stewart.
Substitutes not used: D’Antimo, Drewery,
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Sutherland Sharks: Denham, Antoniou, Bandur, Cox (Lokolingoy 60’), Hayes, McKenzie, Moustakas, O’Connell, Park (Roberts 70’), Stergiou (O’Shea 82’), Tratt.
Substitutes not used: Depta, Coombey
Yellow Cards: McKenzie 84’, Lokolingoy 90’ + 3’
Red Cards: Nil