Marconi Stadium played host to one of the matches of the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s season so far as the Marconi Stallions and Rockdale Illinden played out a thrilling 3-3 draw on an entertaining Saturday evening of football.
The game itself was a classic, high tempo encounter which could have gone either way.
Marconi led 2-0 before Rockdale equalised only to see the home side pull ahead again for 3-2 but in the end Mitchell Stamatellis put away the definitive equaliser for the visitors in sheer style from 40-yeards that sent the traveling fans into raptures.
The opening chance of the game arrived in the 6th minute when Brandon Vella shot from just outside the box but David Bradasevic saved it nicely diving to his left.
Marconi took the lead in the 24th minute when they pressed forward. Mitchell Mallia brilliantly took on the opposition with a nice run before clinically driving the ball into the back of the net. It was the first time that Rockdale Illinden had conceded a goal this season having kept a clean sheet in the first two rounds.
The home side couldn’t believe their luck as they doubled their lead five minutes later when a delightful ball from new recruit Christopher Hatfield on the right found skipper Marko Jesic in middle and he had no trouble beating Bradasevic.
In the 32nd minute Mallia should really have done better with a clear chance but fortunately for the visitors he shot just over the crossbar.
Rockdale Ilinden hit back in the 39th minute. Mitchell Stamatellis fed ace marksman Alec Urosevski dangerously on the left flank and he majestically turned the defenders inside out before feeding it back to Kyle Cimenti in the middle who scored from close range.
Right on the stroke of halftime Michael Neill stole the ball and fed a galloping Urosevski who fired a rocket straight into the goal, only to see it ruled marginally offside by the assistant referee on the far side.
Early in the second half a beautiful ball found Urosevski charging through the middle and the competition’s form player was never going to make a mistake and Rockdale Ilinden had their equaliser.
It was now well and truly game on.
A free kick then from just outside the box from Tomoki Wada didn’t miss the by much. There was almost an instant reply by the Stallions when a lovely cross by Mallia from the right found Anthony Frangie dangerously lurking on the far side, but his first touch was a volley just wide of the mark.
Marconi though did regain the lead in the 66th minute when the substitutes combined for a great goal. Emmanuel Peters, who only arrived at Marconi during the week from Northbridge Bull and thus was making his debut start from the bench, showed some blistering speed to beat his opposition on the right before finding Frangie in the box and this time he didn’t miss the target with a well struck goal.
Rockdale struck back sheer style in the 85th minute with Stamatellis, a goal that will be well worth replaying on the highlight reels at the end of the season. The big defender charged through the middle and let go with a thunderous drive that beat all and sundry.
In stoppage time Peters went down in the box but instead of Marconi receiving a penalty he was booked for simulation by referee Michael Weiner who was perfectly positioned to judge.
After the game Marconi coach Peter Tsekenis spoke about his team’s courage and overall excellent play
“It was pretty exciting to watch and, as you see, both coaches don’t have much hair left after that” he said.
“It was two quality sides going at each other and at the end I think we looked a lot more likely to win.
“It’s disappointing to be 2-0 up and then concede a goal just before halftime but you are going to get that against a quality side. We came back again and scored another one and then they then scored a really good goal to equalise.
“You take the result and move on. We didn’t get the full points and so we just have to re-group and go. “We had forced changes; Rodic and Vella had to go from the centre of the park to the back because I had boys that were injured and then Manny Peters, our new buy, was also fantastic when he came on. There are many positives for our side tonight and the boys did really, really well.”
Steve Zoric coach of Rockdale Ilinden was also happy with many aspects of his side’s play but would have preferred not to have conceded any goals like they did in their first two games.
“Every time we seem to come here it is a 3-3 draw and it was definitely an entertaining one,” he stated.
“I am a bit disappointed that we only started to get strong in the latter part of the first half and I told the boys at halftime.
“We gave them a head start because we were a bit sloppy, but when we changed a few things it started to work for us. We were on top of them and equalised but then unfortunately we conceded on the counter-attack.
“I am not pleased that we conceded three goals because I love my clean sheets and it is something that we will talk about during the week.
“However, after their third goal we then had to re-group again and I was very happy with the fightback. I am just happy for the boys because these type of games are character building.”
MARCONI STALLIONS: 3 (Mallia 24’, Jesic 29’, Frangie 66’)
ROCKDALE ILINDEN: 3 (Cimenti 39’, Urosevski 50’, Stamatellis 86’)
Saturday, 13th March 2021
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Michael Weiner
Assistant Referees: Cameron Wright, Cailyn Loveday
Fourth Official: Mujtaba Ebrahimi
MARCONI STALLIONS: 1.Nenad Vekic, 2.Nathan Millgate, 3.Giorgio Speranza, 4.Roberto Speranza (8.Connor Evans 57’), 5.Mason Ingram (17.Martin Fernandez 63’), 6.Mark Rodic, 7.Christopher Hatfield (14.Anthony Frangie 43’), 10.Marko Jesic, 11.Mitchell Mallia (21.Emmanuel Peters 58’), 16.Liam Youlley, 23.Brandon Vella.
Substitutes not used: 9.Anthony Costa, 20.Dion Shaw.
Yellow Cards: Millgate 35’, Ingram 54’, Jesic 79’, Peters 90’+2
Red Card: Nil
ROCKDALE ILINDEN FC: 1.David Bradasevic, 2.Daniel Petkovski, 3.Mick Neill, 5.Banri Kanaizumi, 7.Alec Urosevski, 8.Tomoki Wada (13.Zac Sfiligoi 84’), 9.Bai Antoniou (11.Nikola Taneski 65’), 14.Brayden Sorge (10.Marc Gautier 75’), 15.Mitchell Stamatellis 19.Patrick Savor, 23.Kyle Cimenti (18.Sam Gulisano 65’).
Substitutes not used: 17.James Temelkovski, 31. Andrew Di Biasi
Yellow Cards: Savor 13’, Antoniou 47’
Red Card: Nil
3 – Mark Rodic (MS)
2 – Alec Urosevski (RI)
1 – Marko Jesic (MS)
-By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo