Rockdale City Suns took out its first victory of the 2019 NPL NSW Men’s campaign and condemned the Marconi Stallions to its second successive loss with a come from behind 2-1 victory at Marconi Stadium on a soggy Saturday evening in Sydney’s West.
The game oscillated in the first half and in the 7th minute, after a scramble near the box, Anthony Frangie had the ball in the back of the net for Marconi, but it was disallowed for offside.
Shortly afterwards, Suns form player Matthew Lecce tried his luck from way out but his rocket sailed narrowly over the crossbar as the visitors came close.
The mercurial Panny Nikas then blasted the ball towards goal from just outside the box but he was brilliantly denied by the Marconi custodian Nenad Vekic who turned it over the crossbar with aplomb.
Marconi opened the scoring from virtually nothing in the 22nd minute.
A free-kick made its way forward until it reached Richie Cardozo who beautifully chipped the goalkeeper off his line much to the delight of the home crowd.
In the 35th Khang-Hoon Cho on the turn tried his luck for Rockdale but his well-intended attempt was deflected rather fortuitously by Frangie for another corner.
Marko Jesic replied for Marconi and fired from distance close to the break; however, the ball sailed marginally wide of the post for what would have been a great Marconi goal going into the interval.
Early in the second half, Patrick Savor came close for Rockdale with a shot from distance that only just missed the intended target.
It was Jesic again for Marconi who in the 60th minute with a rocket from close range that brought out the best in ‘keeper David Bradasevic.
Rockdale City Suns did score the equaliser in the 68th minute when the ball drifted across to Nikas who was unmarked and the prolific scorer showed that he had lost none of his midas touch as he drilled home and opened the scoring for the visitors.
It sparked a revival for Paul Reid’s men as they found a winner late in the second half.
In the 85th minute the Suns rocked the Stallions when an Alec Urosevski cross from the right reached an unmarked Lecce who, with a powerful diagonal header, beat all and sundry to give the visitors the lead much to the frustration of the Marconi bench.
It proved to be the winner much to the delight of the traveling Suns fans as the Stallions spectators looked on in despair.
After the game, Rockdale City Suns coach Paul Reid was pleased to have chalked up his first win of the season.
“I didn’t think that we deserved to be down 1-0 at halftime,” he said.
“Marconi were probably a bit more aggressive than us in the first half and we got pushed off the ball, but we just needed to match them physically and I knew that our football would come through in the end.
“People say subs change games and tonight they definitely did because they gave us energy in the second half and were influential in both the goals.
“We have a really good squad and it was good that we got the three points that we thoroughly deserved.
“Marconi is tough place to come to and it was also a heavy pitch tonight, but we deserved the three points. It’s a long way to go but I am looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Over in the Marconi Stallions dressing room coach Peter Tsekenis was disappointed that his team had come away empty handed.
“Last week we conceded a really good goal but this week we got on top and we were really quite comfortable for a large period of the game but couldn’t close it out,” he said.
“They probably created two good chances and they scored from them. We didn’t take our chances and Rockdale is a quality side because they have players that can hurt you. Once they got the first one, they then got on top but losing that game hurts.”
MARCONI STALLIONS: 1 (Cardozo 22’)
ROCKDALE CITY SUNS: 2 (Nikas 68’, Lecce 85’)
Saturday, 16th March 2019
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistant Referees: Scott Edelling, Maggie Price
Fourth Official: Sam Kelly
MARCONI STALLIONS: 1. Nenad Vekic, 2. Nathan Millgate, 3. Giorgio Speranza, 4. Roberto Speranza, 7. Sean O’Connell (16. Liam Youlley 80’), 9. Anthony Frangie (23. Brandon Vella 62’), 10. Marko Jesic, 11. Mitchell Mallia (12. James Andrew 80’), 19. Zach Cairncross, 20. Richard Cardozo, 21. Marjan Pavlovic.
Substitutes not used: 14. Peter Pelekanos, 17. Kristian Sekutkoski.
Yellow Cards: Frangie 26’, O’Connell 76’, Cairncross 78’, Youlley 86’
Red Cards: Nil
ROCKDALE CITY SUNS: 1. David Bradasevic, 2. Daniel Petkovski, 3. Michael Neill, 6. Khang-Hoon Cho (7. Alec Urosevski 57’), 9. Jonathan Grozdanovski, 12. Idriss El Hafiane, 15. Nic Petrillo, 20. Howard Fondyke (10. Joshua Da Silva 67’), 17. Matthew Lecce, 19. Patrick Savor, 23. Panny Nikas (16. Alexander Malfara 92’).
Substitutes not used: 5. Jake Trajkovski.
Yellow Cards: 45’ Savor, 79’ El Hafiane
Red Card: Nil
3 – Matthew Lecce (RCS)
2 – Marko Jesic (MS)
1 – Panny Nikas (RCS)
-By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Joe Russo at Marconi Stadium