A dramatic added-time penalty has helped Manly United snatch a dramatic 2-1 victory in their National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash against Marconi Stallions at Marconi Stadium on Saturday.
The spot kick secured an incredible result for Manly who appeared likely forced to settle for a share of the spoils thanks to a second half Marconi resurgence.
An Adam Parkhouse goal on the cusp of halftime had the visitors in control of the fixture but a Marko Jesic finish 15 minutes into the second stanza squared the ledger.
However, that wasn’t to be the final act as Midfielder Brendan Cholakian showed incredible composure to despatch his penalty in the final seconds of the match after Nikola Taneski was taken down in the box by Sean O’Connell.
It was a heartbreaking way to lose the match for the Stallions and its’s sure to be a defeat which won’t be forgotten by the side anytime soon.
It was the club’s second successive loss at their spiritual home and with such a star studded line-up that the team recruited pre-round 1, Stallions fans are hoping that their fortunes change for the better.
The action started with Cholakian who danced his way through some feeble opposition and fired from just outside the box in the 12th minute only to find his attempt sail over the crossbar.
There wasn’t much happening in this encounter until Scott Balderson tried his luck from a similar position shortly afterwards, but he couldn’t go past the firm hands of Nenad Vekic between the sticks.
Manly United were still trying their luck in the 29th minute when an in-swinging corner was met by Balderson but his glancing header was just wide of the mark.
Marconi replied almost immediately when Mitchell Mallia fired from just outside the box but the ball was touched onto the crossbar by ‘keeper Dylan Mitchell. It was by far the best chance of the evening so far.
Mirjan Pavlovic should have done so much better on the turn for the home side in the 38th minute but his weak shot was no trouble in the end for Mitchell.
Anthony Frangie then had wonderful a double chance but, at first, was denied from point-blank range by Mitchell and then he hammered the rebound just wide of the intended target.
It could have been the opening goal for Marconi but it wasn’t to be as just prior to the interval Manly United took the lead.
A lovely ball from Lewis Miccio on the left made its way into the middle for Parkhouse and the former Wellington Phoenix player neatly placed the ball into the back of the net to give Manly a 1-0 lead.
In the second half there wasn’t much to warm up the crowd on a cold, autumnal evening until the 59th minute when James Andrew, just on the field a minute or so earlier for the Stallions, fired dangerously across the face of goal.
Marconi however did equalise in the 62nd minute when a shot from Andrew hit the crossbar and the rebound from close range was put in by Jesic with a nice header.
It was now game on and the momentum was arguably with Marconi.
In the 71st minute Parkhouse tried his luck with a diagonal shot from close range that was well palmed away by Vekic.
In the 80th minute Marconi replied: a rocket from Brandon Vella on the edge of the box almost had the Marconi fans on the edge of their seats, but his finishing was only just off target and the ball cleared the crossbar by a matter of inches.
Then, in the 95th minute, arrived the penalty that broke the hearts of the Marconi squad.
After a nice run by Charles Mendy, who fed the ball to fellow substitute Nikola Taneski, it was Sean O’Connell who brought the latter down in the box.
During the decision referee Katie Patterson also sent Stallions defender Nathan Millgate off for dissent.
From the spot Cholakian made no mistake and Manly United had claim to all three points and Marconi were left to rue how that one managed to slip away right at the death.
Manly United mentor Paul Dee said after the game that he was chuffed to have secured the full three points.
“As everybody knows Marconi have recruited really well in the off-season, so it’s a bit challenge for everyone that plays against them,” he said.
“I was very happy with our team because we had a clear game plan and the boys executed it really well. It was a first-class effort from them.
“We recognised that when they got the goal back that they had some momentum there and we had to absorb that. It was an end-to-end battle and both teams really wanted to win it.”
MARCONI STALLIONS: 1 (62’ Jesic)
MANLY UNITED FC: 2 (44’ Parkhouse, 95’ Cholakian pen.)
Saturday, 30th March 2019
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Katie Patterson
Assistant Referees: Maggie Price, Emma Kocbek
Fourth Official: Jared Katz
MARCONI STALLIONS: 1.Nenad Vekic, 2.Nathan Millgate, 3.Giorgio Speranza, 4.Roberto Speranza, 7.Sean O’Connell, 9.Anthony Frangie (12. James Andrew 56’), 10.Marko Jesic, 11.Mitchell Mallia, 19.Zach Cairncross, 21.Marjan Pavlovic, 23.Brandon Vella.
Substitutes not used: 5.James Baldacchino, 13.Yianni Nicolaou, 16.Liam Youlley, 17.Kristian Sekutkoski
Yellow Cards: Mallia 40’, Frangie 44’, 65’ Jesic, 87’ Pavlovic, 89’ Vella
Red Cards: Millgate 94’
MANLY UNITED FC: 1.Dylan Mitchell, 2.Kieran Paull, 4.Travis Oughtred, 5.Sam Gallagher, 6.Bradley McDonald, 8.Dominic Ferguson, 10.Bendan Cholakian, 11.Adam Parkhouse, 13.Scott Balderson (9.Nikola Taneski 73’), 14.Dejan Pandurevic (12.Charles Mendy 66’), 17.Lewis Miccio.
Substitutes not used: 3.Jamie Lobb, 7.Greg Wilson, 32.Syron MacKenzie,
Yellow Cards: 37’ Balderson, 42’ Pandurevic, 90’ Ferguson
Red Card: Nil
3 – Travis Oughtred (MU)
2 – Brandon Vella (MS)
1 – Scott Balderson (MU)
-By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo