An incredible final second goal from defender Peter Pelekanos has given Marconi Stallions a last ditch 2-1 victory against Hakoah Sydney City East at Hensley Athletic Field.
The centre back was in the right place at the right time to find a last gasp match winner after it seemed Hakoah had done enough to claim a draw.
After a slow start to the game, Hakoah had the best of the first half chances but it was Marconi who took a 1-0 lead into the break thanks to a headed finish from former Socceroo Michael Beauchamp.
With the clock ticking down Hakoah thought they had snatched a point when Anthony Frangie hit the back of the net in the 87th minute to level the scores at 1-1.
However, there was another twist in the tale to come and Pelekanos’ 93rd minute goal sent the visiting fans into raptures as they claimed an unexpected three points.
The match was locked in a midfield stalemate for a large part of the first half with neither side giving an inch through the centre of the park.
Chances were few and far between with the first shot not coming until nine minutes into the contest.
It took another eleven minutes for someone to get a shot on target when James Andrew dribbled a poor effort straight into the hands of Hakoah shot stopper Anthony Boyzanis.
The match was slowly starting to open up as Marconi and Hakoah both found their rhythm.
Stallions shot stopper Nenad Vekic pulled off an acrobatic diving save to deny a stinging shot from Hakoah winger Anthony Frangie after 24 minutes.
Vekic was called into action again shortly after, this time to deny a solid shot from Amaury Gauthier.
Hakoah had built up some momentum and had their opponents on the back foot, the only thing they were missing was a goal.
They were very unlucky not to take the lead in the 31st minute when Vekic made yet another diving save this time to block a shot from Takuya Noji.
Despite having few quality attacking chances, Marconi took the lead in the 33rd minute.
A looping free-kick into the box from 30 yards out found a leaping Beauchamp who used his height and experience to nod the ball back across the penalty box and into the top left corner.
Despite the 1-0 lead, Marconi were straight back on the defensive as home side Hakoah immediately pushed for an equaliser.
It really should’ve been 1-1 after 38 minutes as Harry Jones pounced on a ball behind the Marconi defence and raced on goal with only the keeper to beat. Vekic raced out of his net to make a block and it proved to be an effective move as Jones’ chip from 25 yards out sailed well wide.
It proved to be the last real chance of the half with Marconi holding the advantage at the interval.
Hakoah raced out of the blocks after the restart and forced another save from Vekic after a great run and shot from Gauthier.
The home side were unable to sustain their early attacks and Marconi slowly began to take control of the game.
Sloppy errors in the centre of the park were costly for Hakoah and it lead to back to back chances for Marconi flyer James Andrew who had two shots blocked within as many minutes.
The Eastern Suburbs based outfit were struggling to link passes together in buildup scuppering any attack before it truly took shape.
in the 68th minute Sean Rooney missed a chance to double the Stallions lead heading narrowly wide after a looping cross into the box.
Rooney missed a gilt-edged chance moments later when he pounced onto a errant back pass and rounded the keeper before firing on an empty net. However, the Marconi striker’s shot was blocked on the line and nearly went into the back of the net as it deflected off another Hakoah defender narrowly wide of the goal.
Hakoah wasted a great chance in the 73rd minute as Frangie broke down the western touch line, but his cross to an unmarked Gauthier was intercepted by a quick thinking Vekic.
With eight minutes left on the clock, Hakoah finally found their equaliser.
A beautifully weighted delivery into the box from Stamatellis found Frangie who obliged with a powerful header into the back of the net.
Noji would’ve wanted his time over again after he wasted a brilliant chance when he fired over unmarked from only 10 yards out.
Vekic maintained composed to make a brilliant one-on-one save in the 87th minute to stop Gauthier.
With the game seemingly destined for a draw, Marconi had one last throw of the dice with a free kick 30 yards out from goal as the clock ticked down its final seconds.
And what a free-kick it proved to be. Marc Warren’s ball into the box was headed back across the front of goal before Pelekanos fired in from 8 yards out to claim an incredible victory for the visitors.
A jubilant Vekic praised his side’s fighting spirit and believed the win was exactly what Marconi needed to propel themselves closer to finals football.
“We never usually get much luck and today it finally turned our way,” he said.
“Everyone has been playing hard and giving it their all but a bit of luck is probably the bit we have been missing.
“Going away from our Waratah Cup loss midweek we were determined to get back to winning ways and to do so today is a great feeling.”
A downtrodden Gavin Rae rued yet another loss at the death for his Hakoah side.
“This is becoming far too frequent for us and it’s really frustrating,” he said.
“It’s becoming very repetitive and you have to start to ask which players aren’t doing their job when it matters most.
“I felt we played very well today and to lose like this is a bitter pill to swallow.”
Hakoah Sydney City East: 1 (Frangie 83’)
Marconi Stallions: 2 (Beauchamp 33′, Pelekanos 93’)
Saturday, June 30 2018
Hensley Athletic Field, Eastgardens
Referee: R Mattei
Assistant Referees: M Riedy & M Price
Fourth Official: J Casey
Hakoah Sydney City East: 1. Anthony Bouzanis, 3. Michael Kouta, 5. Mitchell Stamatellis, 8. Oliver Green, 13. Robert Ezequiel, 14. Anthony Frangie, 17. Harry Jones (Jordan Crighton), 19. Dominic Cox, 20. James Combes, 21. Amaury Gauthier, 60. Takayu Noji
Substitutes not used: 33. Jordan Lewis, 27. Jordan Makridopoulos, 16. Joshua Orchard.
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
Marconi Stallions: 1. Nenad Vekic 2. Marc Warren, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 8. Sean Rooney, 9. Charles Mendy (16. Hassan Jalloh), 10. Marko Jesic, 12. James Andrew (19. Eros Bergamin),14. Peter Pelakanos, 22. Brandon Vella, 23. Chris Nunes 60. Liam Youlley
Substitutes not used: 13. Luke Gearin, 33. Jacob Champman. 38. Yianni Nicolaou
Yellow cards: Youlley, Warren, Jesic
Red Cards: N/A