Marconi Stallions edged a tight game against Sydney FC on Saturday night, scoring a first-half penalty and adding another in the second half to take all three points at Lambert Park.
Marko Jesic kept a cool head under pressure from the spot, and put the visitors into a lead which they would not relinquish.
Sydney FC rarely offered up anything to threaten the scoreboard, and the Stallions scored a second after the break to hold on for their first win of 2019; a valuable result away from home.
Early forward moves were encouraging for the visitors, who looked dangerous around Sydney’s six-yard box without getting close to finishing anything off.
Marconi’s Anthony Frangie was the first to properly go close for either side when he let fly from distance, leaving Thomas Heward-Belle swiping at thin air as the ball smacked against the post and bounced back into play.
With lightning looking threatening on the horizon, and a few late challenges drawing appeals from the Marconi bench, Sydney FC had an opportunistic attempt on goal through Marco Tilio, who curled a shot over the crossbar from distance.
Marconi had another effort sooner after.
Frangie held the ball up on the left, went past his defender with a step-over and cut the ball inside for Jesic arriving at the top of the box, but the Marconi attacker could only drag his shot wide.
Frangie went close himself a few moments later; floating a long shot narrowly over the bar after spotting Heward-Belle marginally off his line.
A handball in the Sydney box ten minutes from the break gave Marconi an unexpected opportunity to swing the match in their favour.
Jesic lined up the spot kick, and hit a cool penalty past the keeper to put Marconi into a deserved lead.
Smelling blood in the water, Marconi continued to pour forward in search of a second before the half.
A ball fizzed in from the left found Richard Cardozo at the near post, but he was only able to push a shot wide of the upright.
Neither side appeared particularly eager to pick up the initiative after the break, with the second half opening slowly.
Jesic could have doubled his tally when a cross dropped behind him on the penalty spot, but he volleyed acrobatically off-target.
Frangie went close again a moment later, striking the post from the tight angle on the right.
The visitors always looked likely to score the game’s next goal, and duly delivered with a strike midway through the second half. A pass was driven in from the right to Mirjan Pavlovic, who took the ball down before guiding a shot inside the far post to double his side’s advantage.
Some clever play between Marconi’s forwards left the ball spinning for Frangie to lash a shot at goal from just past halfway; the effort watched wide by Heward-Belle.
Sydney FC had a final attempt through Tilio, who lifted a limp shot over the bar after taking the ball just wide of the penalty spot. It was one of the last actions of a match low on quality, not that Marconi will mind.
Sydney FC’s Jimmy Van Weeren cut a disappointed figure on the sideline as Sydney FC copped their first loss of 2019.
“Obviously it’s a disappointing result,” he said.
“But there are few positives for us to take out of it.
“They’re a good team, the boys showed against a strong opponent that they were willing to fight, which is a good sign from young players.
“There’s a few things for us to focus on in final third, but there’s always something to work on.”
Marconi’s Peter Tsekenis was happy after watching his side fight hard for its first win of the season.
“It’s a much-needed victory, I thought we did quite well today,” he said.
“With the second goal we really closed the game out. We limited them, they didn’t cause us many problems but we didn’t give them room to play.
“We still left them in the game far too long, but tonight we took the chances as we needed. We are creating chances, a win gives us confidence to roll on and win a few more.
“A result like this is massive for our confidence.”
Sydney FC 0
Marconi Stallions 2 (Jesic 36’, Pavlovic 72’)
Saturday 23th March, 2019
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Referee: Adrian Arndt
Assistant Referees: N. Wotton, H. Fenton-White
Fourth Official: B. Wright
Sydney FC: 1. HEWARD-BELLE Thomas, 11. IVANOVIC Luke (34. NIEUWENHOF Calem), 8. KING Joel, 4. MCGING Liam, 5. SCIBILIO Patrick, 7. SKODATIS Jerry, 13. SWIBEL Jordan, 12. TILIO Giuseppe (9. LAMBERTON Hamish), 10. TILIO Marco, 6. VAN DER SAAG Harry, 3. VAN MEURS Benjamin
Substitutes Not Used: 2. BLACHURA Daniel, 40. KAYE Levi, 15. TEAGUE Ryan
Yellow Cards: VAN DER SAAG 10’, LAMBERTON 77’
Red Cards: Nil
Marconi Stallions: 19. CAIRNCROSS Zach, 20. CARDOZO Richard (23. VELLA Brandon), 2. MILLGATE Nathan, 9. FRANGIE Anthony, 10. JESIC Marko (12. ANDREW James), 11. MALLIA Mitchell, 7. O’CONNELL Sean (16. YOULLEY Liam), 61. PAVLOVIC Mirjan, 3. SPERANZA Giorgio, 4. SPERANZA Robert, 1. VEKIC Nenad
Substitutes Not Used: 14. PELEKANOS Peter, 16. SEKUTKOSKI Kristian
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Anthony Frangie (MS)
2 – Marko Jesic (MS)
1 – Giorgio Speranza (MS)
-By Max Grieve