Marconi Stallions have defeated Sutherland Sharks 4-1 in an entertaining game at Bossley Park in what was the final match on what was an fantastic start to the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 2020 season.
After securing the early lead thanks to a Mitchell Mallia strike, the home side were caught by the Sharks when Lachlan Everett balanced the ledger.
It was not until the second half that Marconi pulled away with two goals in fairly quick succession and then a late strike to round out the scoring.
The first goal of the second half belonged to Marko Jesic, followed by Connor Evans and then substitute Brandon Vella got in on the action at the death.
Sutherland Sharks had a great chance in just the second minute of play when Oliver Green fed the ball across to an unmarked Mason Versi who hit the crossbar – perhaps he was a bit too casual with his finish and the first goal of the season for the Shire-based team had to wait.
Marconi, at the other end of the field, though did open the scoring in the 8th minute when a square ball by Evans found Mallia, who then found the bottom left hand corner of the net from well outside the box with a delightful shot.
Sutherland managed to equalise in the 19th minute when the Marconi defence was caught napping. A great cross from Versi on the right reached Marc Warren on the other side of the goal and he cleverly headed the ball into the path of Lachlan Everett who then headed home from close range.
The ebb and flow of the contest continued and at the half hour mark a dangerous, floating corner reached Zac Cairncross who flicked on the ball with a back header that went sailing narrowly wide of the intended target.
Marconi pressured again with Anthony Frangie on the right flank but his powerful finish brought out the best in Ryan Norval who punched away the danger.
Late in the first half Everett for the visitors headed into the side netting but that was about it for the first stanza of play which ended shortly afterwards which both sides even.
Early in the second half Versi tried his luck with a shot from close range but his attempt was well saved by Nenad Vekic. Then, in the 58th minute, a long range shot from Everett wasn’t too far off the mark as Sutherland cranked up the pressure but to no avail.
Marconi, who were able to absorb, did regain the lead in the 65th minute. A long free-kick by Evans reached Nathan Millgate who headed to the centre where Marko Jesic made no mistake with his close range header to send the home supporters behind the goal into raptures.
In the 75th minute Marconi put the game beyond control of Sutherland when Mallia found Evans in a dangerous position and he made no mistake with his attempt to give Marconi a 3-1 lead.
Right at the death Jesic beautifully played the ball to Brandon Vella who fired into the bottom left hand corner of the net for the Stallions’ fourth of the night.
After the game the Marconi Stallions dressing room was happy place but coach Peter Tsekenis was trying to keep his team grounded.
“I am pleased because I thought that we had a good chunk of that first half but we were only 1-1,” he said.
“I am disappointed that we conceded that goal because I thought that we finished over the top which is positive.
“Where we are at physically is good and the way we took those goods is very good as well. The team stayed focused and they kept going and then we ran over the top of them.
“It’s dangerous to let a 4-1 win get you too carried away so we need to stay grounded. My job is to let the boys know that we didn’t win anything yet and that we need to stay focused because there is a long way to go in the season.”
Sutherland Sharks new coach Nick Dimovski was disappointed to come away empty handed but still found the positives in his side.
“I think we were the better team in the first half and that Marconi were the better team in the second half,” he said.
“I just think that we gave away some silly goals and we were giving all the Marconi players presents,” he said tongue-in-cheek.
“There is no way that a 4-1 scoreline was a reflection of the game tonight. Had we taken our chances in the first half, and we missed some glorious chances, we would have gone into the break 2-1 up at least.
“It will take time for the team to gel and this week we will go back to the drawing board and prepare for Rockdale next week.”
MARCONI STALLIONS: 4 (Mallia 8’, Jesic 66’, Evans 75’, Vella 90’+3)
SUTHERLAND SHARKS: 1 (Everett 20’)
Sunday, 1st March 2020
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Michael Weiner
Assistant Referees: Janush Adabjou, Matt Staples
Fourth Official: Sam Quinn
MARCONI STALLIONS: 1.Nenad Vekic, 2.Nathan Millgate, 3.Giorgio Speranza, 4.Roberto Speranza, 8.Connor Evans, 9.Anthony Costa (23.Brandon Vella 60’), 10.Marko Jesic, 11.Mitchell Mallia, 14.Anthony Frangie (17.Martin Fernandez 76’), 16.Liam Youlley (6.Mark Rodic 60’), 19.Zachary Cairncross.
Substitutes not used: 12.James Andrew, 20.Dion Shaw.
Yellow Cards: Frangie 11’, Millgate 24’, Youlley 45’, R.Speranza 74’
Red Card: Nil
SUTHERLAND SHARKS: 1.Ryan Norval, 3.Marc Warren (2.Adam Massoud 54’), 6.Lachlan Everett, 7.Peter Simonoski, 8.Patrick O’Shea, 10.Blake Powell, 11.Joey Groenbast, 12.Blair Brown, 15.Mason Versi (99.Jonathan Grozdanovski 76’), 20.Connor Shaddock, 21.Oliver Green.
Substitutes not used: 9.James Temelkovski, 17.Mario Aleksik, 18.Brodie Clarkson.
Yellow Cards: 46’ Powell
Red Card: Nil
3 – Connor Evans (MS)
2 – Mitchell Mallia (MS)
1 – Lachlan Everett (SS)
By National Prmier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo