The Marconi Stallions have made a huge statement and threw its hat in the 2023 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Premiership race following a monumental 3-1 victory over league leaders Rockdale Ilinden at Marconi Stadium on Saturday night.
The Stallions did all the damage in the first half scoring all its three goals that shell-shocked Rockdale.
The first belonged to Giorgio Speranza who smashed home from long range followed by a brace from an in-form Jordi Swibel. The second half wasn’t as exciting as the first as Ilinden eventually managed to work things out and scored through Loic Puyo but the visitors had left their run too late.
The opening goal of the game arrived in the 6th minute when Marconi Stallions took the lead. A long throw-in was partially cleared by the Rockdale Ilinden defence but only as far as Giorgio Speranza who, with an absolute rocket from just outside the box, hit the back of the net to send the home side’s bench into raptures.
Shortly afterwards a corner from Hiroaki Aoyama reached Nathan Millgate at the far post, but his header went just wide of the intended target.
Marconi did indeed make it two on 15th minutes when a long ball from midfield by Aoyama was completely misjudged by goalkeeper David Bradasevic coming off his line, as Swibel slotted into an empty net.
Marconi were well and truly on top and should have made it three in the 25th minute with a double-edge chance. Giorgio Speranza from the by-line found Swibel who fired towards goal as Bradasevic saved with his feet, but only as far as Daniel Bouman who then fluffed his lines and shot over the bar from close range.
Rockdale Ilinden’s only chance of the opening stanza arrived in the 28th minute when a dangerous shot from Brendon Cholakian from outside the box forced a great save from Jack Gibson who, until that point, was a passenger.
In the 31st minute Marconi scored for a third time and to many at the Palace it was game set and match. Some great Marconi pressing from Bouman forced the ball from Rockdale’s defence and wide to Swibel who then fired home much to the delight of the home fans – It was Swibel’s ninth goal of the 2023 season.
Late in the half, a quick free-kick reached Swibel who then played it to Bouman who charged towards goal, rounded the goalkeeper and hit the side netting. It could really have been four there and then for the Stallions before the break.
The opening salvo of the second half arrived in the 53rd minute when a free-kick from Domenic Costanzo sailed narrowly over the crossbar. It appeared that Marconi were going to continue the same momentum as the first half, but it wasn’t the case as they took their foot off the accelerator and Rockdale took shape and re-grouped.
Rockdale Ilinden managed to hit the back of the net in the 69th minute when substitute Peter Kekeris from the by-line, danced past Giorgio Speranza, fed the ball to Puyo and the Frenchman scored with a simple diagonal shot that caught the Stallions defence napping.
Late in the game Nikola Kuleski fired from outside the box but it had far too much height on it and went over the intended target.
It was also a quite game from the league’s current top goalscorer Alec Urosevski as the Rockdale skipper was nullified, not being able to add to his twelve goals.
Overall, the second half didn’t produce the free-flowing action of the first half but nevertheless it was an enthralling encounter between two great teams at ‘The Palace’.
Speaking post-match, Marconi Stallions coach Peter Tsekenis was extremely proud of what his troops put together in what was a devastating first-half display.
“I thought that we were outstanding in the first half and it was all one-way traffic as we created all the chances,” he said.
“In the second half we couldn’t keep going forward and risk leaving ourselves open.
“They [Rockdale] probably didn’t create anything until they scored and there were times there too where we could have finished the game off, but we took the wrong option.
“Every game is important to win, and this game was no different.
“I think we can call it a six-pointer as they were in a position where they could have created a bigger gap, so these three points tonight were vitally important.
“I think every other team is probably happy that we beat them because it keeps them close.
“Overall it is still very important for us to win every game, every week no matter who we are playing.”
Rockdale Ilinden coach Paul Dee lamented on a frustrating evening.
“It was not good to be conceding goals like that in the first half but our job was to re-group at halftime and that’s what we did,” he stated.
“Marconi were very direct and were very effective at it, and we needed to counter that and get more possession than what we did.
“At the end of the day we had some real positive momentum over the last couple of weeks and this is a bit of a setback. However, we’ll train hard, plan for the next game, and hopefully execute our game plan.”
Dee won’t need to wait too long as his troops will be taking on Bulls FC Academy in their rescheduled Round 10 fixture next Wednesday at Valentine Sports Park (7:30pm) where he hopes his troops can get back to winning ways.
Marconi Stallions 3 (G. Speranza 6’, Swibel 15’ & 31’)
Rockdale Ilinden 1 (Puyo 69’)
Saturday 15th April 2023
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Sam Kelly
Assistant Referees: Kyle Hockings and Aaron Bloch
Fourth Official: Mujtaba Ebrahimi
MARCONI STALLIONS: 20. Jack Gibson, 2. Nathan Millgate, 3. Giorgio Speranza, 4. Roberto Speranza, 6. Dominic Costanzo, 8. Hiroaki Aoyama, 9. Jordan Swibel (21. Justin Vidic 78’), 10. Marko Jesic, 11. Daniel Bouman (12. Sam Gulisano 75’), 19. Kyle Cimenti, 23. Brandon Vella.
Substitutes not used: 1. Nathan Foster, 3. Liam McGing, 13. Aleksander Duricic, 17. Martin Fernandez
Yellow Cards: Bouman 23’, G. Speranza 60’
Red Cards: Nil
ROCKDALE ILINDEN: 1.David Bradasevic, 3. Lachlan Griffiths (15. Jamie Percevski 75’), 4. Nikola Ujdur, 5. Will Mutch, 7. Alec Urosevski, 8. Isaac Danzo (77. Peter Kekeris 55’), 10. Brendon Cholakian, 14. Brayden Sorge, 17. Loic Puyo, 21. Lachlan Constable (9. Bai Antoniou 55’), 23. Jaden Casella (6. Nikola Kuleski 55’).
Substitutes not used: 13. Zachary Nikolovski, 20. Ricardo Rizzo
Yellow Cards: Ujdur 52’, Puyo 60’, Cholakian 90’+3
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Jordan Swibel (MS)
2 – Hiroaki Aoyama (MS)
1 – Loic Puyo (RI)
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo