A Mirjan Pavlovic brace has helped inspire Marconi Stallions back into the winners circle as the claimed a 3-1 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s win against Hakoah Sydney City at Marconi Stadium on Sunday.
Pavlovic found the back of the net each side of the interval as his Marconi side secured only their second win of the 2019 season.
The veteran striker notched his first after 16 minutes to give the Stallions the perfect start but Hakoah’s Shohei Okhuno equalised for the visitors sending both sides into the break deadlocked at one apiece.
Marconi lifted their game in the second stanza with Marko Jesic scoring only moments after the restart before Pavlovic wrapped up the result by scoring his second of the night.
The first real chance of the game arrived in the 8th minute when a lovely ball from Harry Jones found Amaury Gauthier but he was denied by Nenad Vekic coming off his line.
Marconi’s reply arrived not long after when some great work by Pavlovic on the left resulted in the ball finding Giorgio Speranza, but the latter’s diagonal shot was just across the face of goal.
The opening goal arrived in the 16th minute. A brilliant cross from the right by Mitchell Mallia reached an unmarked Pavlovic in the centre who headed home with confidence.
Hakoah hit back in a similar fashion in the 33rd minute when a brilliant cross from the right by Addison Sayan reached Okuno in the centre of the box and he headed the ball into the far corner of the net.
The rest of the first stanza of play was rather scrappy with referee Jomaa’s whistle blowing for half time right on cue at the 45 minute mark.
The second half began beautifully for the Stallions when they re-gained the lead in the 47th minute. A free-kick from Marko Jesic was along the carpet and snuck under the rather flimsy defensive wall and into the back of the net past an outstretched Ryan Norval.
They came close again a few minutes later when from close range Brandon Vella tried to beat Norval who this time got down low to make the save.
A James Coombes clearance denied Pavlovic his second but it seemed inevitable that the former Wellington Phoenix and Newcastle Jets player would find a way to score.
In the 61st minute Mitchell Mallia tried a wonderful snap from distance only to see the ball rebound off the crossbar as Marconi were determined to make it three.
Shortly afterwards Anthony Frangie from the right tried his luck with a long shot too but the ball finished just over the crossbar as Norval took guard.
Marconi did make it three in the 67th minute when Frangie fed the ball to Pavlovic who made no mistake for his second of the evening and the third for Marconi. It wasn’t a petty goal but they all count the same.
In the 80th minute a rather unsavory incident took place after a challenge by Zach Cairncross saw a number of players, coaches and officials involved in pushing and shoving and, in the end, Jack Green received a straight red for is part in the melee.
Hakoah Sydney City East were now left to battle it out with only ten men.
After the game Marconi Stallions coach Peter Tsekenis was very pleased to have secured the full three points on offer.
“Most of our first halves have been pretty much the same, a bit tentative,” he said.
“We had a chat at half-time and made one adjustment and it worked wonders. We knew we had to work harder and we did that in the right areas and it paid dividends.
“Hakoah is always tricky and competitive. They always give a 100% and Gavin [Rae] has them working well, so I was very pleased with our win for a lot of reasons. The confidence it gives the team is very important.”
Gavin Rae, Hakoah Sydney City East’s mentor, was not too upset and was taking the result in his stride.
“We finished really strongly in the first half with a few chances and obviously if you take some of them it changes the game, but we didn’t,” he said.
“We were unlucky with Marconi’s second goal but what can you do.
“That’s disappointing but next week we have APIA which will be a tough game and we have good quality players that can do damage when they play their best.”
MARCONI STALLIONS: 3 (Pavlovic 16’ 67’, 47’Jesic)
HAKOAH SYDNEY CITY EAST: 1 (Okuno 33’)
Sunday, 7th April 2019
Referee: Hassan Jomaa
Assistant Referees: Joon Park, Cameron Wright
Fourth Official: Jamie Ewin
MARCONI STALLIONS: 1.Nenad Vekic, 3.Giorgio Speranza, 4.Roberto Speranza, 7.Sean O’Connell, 9.Anthony Frangie, 10.Marko Jesic, 11.Mitchell Mallia, 13.Yianni Nicolaou (14.Peter Pelekanos 81’), 19.Zach Cairncross, 21.Mirjan Pavlovic (16.Liam Youlley 88’), 23.Brandon Vella.
Substitutes not used: 5.James Baldacchino, 17.Kristian Sekutkoski, 35.Martin Fernandez
Yellow Cards: Frangie 69’, O’Connell 74’, Nicolaou 76’, Cairncross 80’
Red Cards: Nil
HAKOAH SYDNEY CITY EAST: 1.Ryan Norval, 2.Connor Shaddock, 3.James Combes, 6.Dominic Cox, 7.Addison Sayan (8.Oliver Green 56’), 9.Shohei Okuno (16.Hristian Tanoski 85’), 10.Nathan Roberts (13.Robert Ezekiel 56’), 11.Jack Green, 17.Harry Jones, 24.Amuari Gauthier, 60.Takyuki Noji.
Substitutes not used: 5.Steven Katsionis, 25.Max Ephraim.
Yellow Cards: Sayan 23’, Shaddock 57’, Jones 59’
Red Card: Jack Green 80’
3 – Marjan Pavlovic (MS)
2 – Mitchell Mallia (MS)
1 – Roberto Speranza (MS)
By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Joe Russo