APIA Leichhardt Tigers have put a major dent in Marconi’s finals hopes with a emphatic 4-2 win at Marconi Stadium on Saturday.
A whirlwind opening from the Tigers helped them all but secure the victory inside the opening 25 minutes as they raced to a 3-1 lead at the break.
Sean Symons took only three minutes to give APIA the lead before his Brother Josh Symons and Corey Biczo got in on the act during a dominant first half performance.
Marconi’s best efforts were goals to Mitchell Mallia and Marko Jesic but a penalty miss from Jesic too didn’t help matters for the home side.
The win helps APIA hold onto second spot on the ladder but it’s bad news for eighth placed Marconi who fall further away from the top five.
The visitors got away to a perfect start when in the 3rd minute they scored. A perfectly floated cross from the right by Tynan Diaz was met by the header of Sean Symons who scored for the Tigers from close range.
A free kick then by Sean Symons from the right in the 8th minute drifted just wide of the post as the Tigers looked to double their lead and Symons looked to double his personal tally.
However, it was Marconi that struck back to even the ledger in the 14th minute when Mitchell Mallia did all the work himself and dribbled beautifully into the box until he beat the ‘keeper with a delightful finish.
APIA though didn’t sit back on their laurels and hit the lead again in the 21st minute. Joshua Symons met a perfectly weighted corner from his brother Sean Symons which he headed into the back of the net with aplomb.
Corey Biczo scored the third for the Tigers a minute later when he appeared to gallop away from midfield without any impediment – in fact he seemed to step over an opponent – until he dribbled past the out coming Vekic to score APIA’s third and his first.
In the 40th minute Marconi almost pulled one back before the break. A cross by Nathan Millgate against his former club was headed by Richard Cardozo towards the target only to find Blake Tuxford.
It was to be the last real chance of the exciting first half of play.
In the second stanza the opening salvo arrived in the 50th minute when Biczo found Christopher Payne in the box and the former A-League player blasted a right footed shot towards goal that Vekic managed to palm away.
APIA Leichhardt then scored again in the 57th minute when a perfect long ball from the mercurial midfielder Franco Parisi found Chris Payne who beat the offside trap before rounding the keeper.
In the 63rd minute Marko Jesic missed a penalty for Marconi after a handball was called against Diaz.
Jesic’s attempt went outside the post and wide of the goal face despite ‘keeper Tuxford diving the wrong way
Late in the game Jesic did find the back of the net to make up for his error with a header.
He received a perfect cross from James Andrew and duly punished the Tigers defence.
APIA were unlucky not to score their fifth when an Adrian Ucchino rocket from outside the box slammed into the crossbar in the dying stages
APIA Leichhardt’s coach John Calleja was all smiles after the win.
“I am very pleased with the result and the way that the boys came back from the midweek game,” he said.
“The boys fought really hard tonight and they were very determined before the game. We dominated from the start and we’ll have a go at first position next week when play Wollongong Wolves.
“We expected and received a tough game against Marconi. We know that they are a great team with great players who can turn it on at anytime, but it’s very special to win the Italian derby and we have won both of them this year.”
Peter Papoythis, the ever-loyal assistant coach of Marconi Stallions, emerged from a sombre Stallions dressing room and spoke frankly about the result.
“APIA Leichhardt has probably been the best team in the competition in the last four years,” he said.
“They were the better team tonight, it’s as simple as that.
“Tonight was our worst performance of the year and really we couldn’t play any worse, so we will need to have a good hard look at ourselves. As always we will work hard on the training paddock during the week and try to turn things around.”
MARCONI STALLIONS: 2 (Mallia 14’, Jesic 86’)
APIA LEICHHARDT TIGERS: 4 (S.Symons 3’, J.Symons 21’, Biczo 22’ Payne, 57’)
Saturday, 25th May 2019
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Tim Danaskos
Assistant Referees: Janush Adabjou, Hugh Fenton-White
Fourth Official: Harrison Sappey
MARCONI STALLIONS: 1.Nenad Vekic, 2.Nathan Millgate, 3.Giorgio Speranza, 4.Roberto Speranza, 5.James Baldacchino (12.Andrew James 46’), 10.Marko Jesic, 11.Mitchell Mallia, 13.Yianni Nocolaou, 16.Liam Youlley, 20.Richard Cardozo (28.Martin Fernandez 59’), 23.Brandon Vella.
Substitutes not used: 7.Sean O’Connell, 14.Peter Pelekanos, 17.Kristian Sekutkoski.
Yellow Cards: Cardozo 33’, Youlley 81’
Red Cards: Nil
APIA LEICHHARDT TIGERS: 22.Blake Tuxford, 3.Paul Galimi (21.Michael Kouta 79’), 4.Joshua Symons, 6.Christopher Payne, 7.Tynan Diaz, 8.Corey Biczo, 10.Franco Parisi, 12.Sam McIllhatton, 15.Themba Muata-Marlow, 16.Sean Symons (11.Andre De Jong 75’), 18.Adrian Ucchino, 22.Blake Tuxford
Substitutes not used: 14.Lachlan Hughes, 19.Dominion Nasrabadi, 30.Michael Van Walsun
Yellow Cards: 32’ Biczo, 60’ Muata-Marlow
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Corey Biczo (APIA)
2 – Sean Symons (APIA)
1 – Franco Parisi (APIA)
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo