Marconi Stallions secured their third victory of the season edging past Wollongong Wolves 1-0 at Albert Butler Memorial Park on Sunday afternoon.
A second half strike from Marko Jesic was the difference as the Stallions claimed a valuable three points which keeps their slim finals hopes alive.
The Wolves started strong but failed to make the most of their early dominance going into the interval still locked scoreless.
However, it was a different story in the second half with the Stallions leading the charge and claiming a penalty which Jesic would net in the narrow victory.
The Wolves had a strong start to the match when just a minute in Liam Willie played a ball across to the right for Marcus Beattie inside the box who failed to hit the target.
In the 20th minute, Beattie was involved again down the right sending another effort over from a similar area.
Six minutes later, Beattie looped a cross towards the middle finding Stefan Dimoski’s head who was unable to make sufficient contact with the ball.
27 minutes in, Marconi created their first real opening of the match with Anthony Frangie turning well at the top of the box but firing over.
With two minutes to play in the half Wollongong’s Leroy Jennings took aim from outside the box on the left with his effort finishing just past the far post.
On the stroke of halftime, Frangie had another opportunity when a low cross from the right courtesy of Christopher Hatfield found him free inside the box, but the shot lacked power.
The sides went into the break unable to be separated despite being plenty of chances for both teams.
The Stallions came out strong in the second period creating several chances with the first quarter-of-an-hour.
Nine minutes in, Frangie forced a top save from Hayden Durose after a powerful strike from outside the box and three minutes later, Mitch Mallia saw his shot batted away by Durose.
The pressure finally told with the visitors being awarded a penalty in the 59th minute.
The skipper took responsibility from the spot sending an effort into the far right of the net with Durose diving the other way to record his ninth goal of the 2021 NPL NSW Men’s campaign.
Marconi continued to push forwards in search of doubling the advantage with Durose being called into action on several occasions to keep the Wolves in the game.
In the 77th minute, a corner in from the right met the head of Nathan Millgate at the back post who headed over the bar for the away team.
Despite the home side pushing on in search of an equaliser, they were unable to find it with Marconi hanging for all three points.
Wollongong Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire felt his side deserved more out of the game considering their overall display.
“When you’re dominating a game and you don’t score, it’s always a worry and that’s football,” he said.
“The application, the way we played. The boys deserved more out of the game.”
Marconi Stallions coach Peter Tsekenis felt there was a contrast in the performance of his side in either half, highlighting an improvement in the second period.
“It was a game of two halves, I think the wind played a factor in it,” he said.
“They had the wind in the first half, I thought we defended quite well.
“They started off very well, but I thought we went with them.
“Second half we had the wind and I think we took advantage of it.”
The Wolves will look at returning back to the winner’s circle as they entertain APIA Leichhardt this Wednesday at Macedonia Park in the Waratah Cup Elimination Final. Scheduled for a 7:30pm and a match that will be shown Live on Football NSW’s YouTube and Facebook page, the winner of this clash will host the Mt Druitt Town Rangers in Cup Semi-Final hoping to land a Cup Final spot against Sydney Olympic or Blacktown City.
Wollongong Wolves 0
Marconi Stallions 1 (Marko Jesic 59’)
Sunday 20 June 2021
Albert Butler Memorial Park, Primbee
Referee: A. Arndt
Assistant Referee: K. Robinson and H. Fisher
Fourth Official: A. Naji
Wollongong Wolves: 23.Hayden Durose, 2.Taylor McDonald, 4.Nikola Djordjevic, 6.Ethan Kambisios, 7. Marcus Beattie, 11.Leroy Jennings, 13.Stefan Dimoski (24.Lachlan Scott 60’), 16.Fletcher McFarlane (9.Nicholas Duarte 67’), 18.Evan Ball, 19.Bilal Belkadi, 20.Liam Wille (17.Jake Lavalle 76’)
Substitutes Not Used: 1.Aiden Munford, 5.Dax Kelly, 12. Harrison Taranto,
Yellow Cards: Ethan Kambisios 14’, Nicholas Duarte 87’
Red Cards: Nil
Marconi Stallions: 1.Nenad Vekic, 2.Nathan Millgate, 3.Giorgio Speranaza, 6.Mark Rodic, 7.Christopher Hatfield (32.Jarred Mckinley 85’), 8.Connor Evans, 10.Marko Jesic, 11.Mitch Mallia (12.Stefan Nikolic 68’) 14.Anthony Frangie, 16.Liam Youlley, 19.Zach Cairncross (5.Mason Ingram 75’)
Substitutes Not Used: 20.Dion Shaw, 25.Blake Ilitch, 41.Ahmed Taleb
Yellow Cards: Anthony Frangie 29’, Liam Youlley 67’, Nenad Vekic 91’
Red Cards: Nil
– By National Premier Leagues NSW Reporter Timothy Gibson