Marconi Stallions has flexed their attacking muscle in a comprehensive 5-2 thrashing of Rockdale City Suns at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
The win broke a four game losing streak for the Stallions and keeps their hopes of finals football alive.
It seemed like it was going to be Rockdale’s afternoon when Jordan Figon and Idris El Hafiane gave the home side a 2-0 lead inside the opening 15 minutes.
However, a first half brace to Mitch Mallia turned the game on its head with Marconi racing away with a valuable three points after scoring three goals in the second half.
Marconi move to seventh on the table with the win while Rockdale drop out of the top five into sixth.
Rockdale started strongly when Jonathan Grozdanovski spurned a chance in front of goal after only four minutes.
It didn’t take long for the Suns to hit the target when Figon pounced on a fumbled save from Nenad Vekic to open Rockdale’s account for a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later and it was two to the home side. An Urosevski free-kick was beautifully turned in by Idris El Hafiane with a diving header low down to the ground and there was nothing that a diving Vekic could do between the sticks.
Marconi struck back in the 22nd minute when Mitchell Mallia was gifted the ball and consequently the goal. A Marconi cross by James Andrew was deflected by Rockdale defender Brayden Sorge into the path of the unsuspecting Mallia who, from close range, knocked the ball over the line.
Marconi found an equaliser in the 31st minute when a marvelous ball from Richie Cardozo found an unmarked Mallia who headed home with aplomb.
Marconi thought that they had their third in the 37th minute when a Mallia ball into the box found Marko Jesic, but he was judged to have controlled the ball with his hand before guiding it into the net.
In the second stanza of the play the first real chance arrived in the 50th minute when a Marko Jesic free-kick to James Andrew at the near post was deflected just wide for a corner.
Nathan Millgate was on the receiving end of a perfect through ball shortly afterwards, but his shot was ever so slightly deflected and finished over the crossbar.
From the ensuing corner the ball made its way to Jesic who forced it into the back of the net and Marconi finally had the lead that they so craved for the first time in the game.
In the 59th minute Andrew appeared to be tripped from behind by Sorge in the penalty box but the referee waved play on, much to the displeasure of the Marconi bench.
A minute or so later the game was held up by an unsavory incident, involving the crowd and some players who traded barbs from close range near the sideline. When the dust settled, Figon received a yellow card from the referee for his troubles.
In the 63rd minute Jesic from very close range had his shot blocked by Bradasevic after being on the receiving end of a pin-point accurate corner as Marconi pressed hard for a fourth goal.
It duly arrived in the 79th minute when a corner was partially cleared and the ball, resembling a ping-pong, went back and forth until Roberto Speranza put his foot through it and drove it hard into the back of the net.
Marconi made it five in the 87th minute courtesy of Andrew. His run paved the way but his first shot was partially blocked, until he regathered with his second attempt and beat the desperate diving defence.
After the game Marconi Stallions coach Peter Tsekenis admitted he was relieved his side found a way back after going down 2-0 in the early stages.
“The way things have been going for us and to be down 2-0 gave me a scare but to be honest, I really thought that today was going to be a turning point for us,” he said.
“We have had a big week and I told them [our players] that today we could turn our season around.
“The players delivered and they were really unbelievably good. We should have been in the lead even in the first half but we had a goal disallowed for hand ball.
“We finished the first half well and then we continued on in the second half. We had Rockdale rattled. They are a very good side especially here at home, so I am very happy and I believe that today’s result is start for us in getting our season back on track.”
Rockdale City Suns coach Nick Porreca on the other hand was left trying to explain how a two-goal lead had slipped away.
“I think the boys just came out of the box a little bit slower in the second half and then we started to chase the game,” he said.
“When you start chasing games it either goes good for you or bad for you, and this one went bad for us unfortunately.
“Defensively we were caught probably ball watching for Marconi’s first two goals and that put us on the back foot a bit. It’s disappointing to lose because we have been training very, very well and the boys have been putting in so much hard work.”
Rockdale City Suns: 2 (Figon 10’, El Hafiane 12’)
Marconi Stallions: 5 (Mallia 22’ & 31’. Jesic 55’, R.Speranza 79’, Andrew 87’)
Sunday, 2 June 2019
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: A. Arndt
Assistant Referees: M. McOrist, C. Wright
Fourth Official: K. Hockings
ROCKDALE CITY SUNS: 1.David Bradesevic, 2.Daniel Petkovski, 7.Alec Urosevski, 8.Aleksandar Canak, 9.Jordan Grozdanovski, 11.Leigh Egger (17.Matthew Lecce 84’), 12.Idris El Hafiane, 14.Brayden Sorge, 18.Sasa Macura, 19.Patrick Savor (3.Mick Neill 74’), 45.Jordan Figon.
Substitutes not used: 15.Nic Petrillo, 20.Howard Fondyke, 22.Max Rowston
Yellow Cards: Macura 53’, Figon 62’
Red Cards: Nil
MARCONI STALLIONS: 1.Nenad Vekic, 2.Nathan Millgate, 3.Giorgio Speranza, 4.Roberto Speranza, 7.Sean O’Connell, 10.Marko Jesic, 11.Mitchell Mallia (14.Peter Pelekanos 83’), 12.James Andrew, 19.Zac Cairncross (13.Yianni Nicolaou 84’), 20. Richie Cardozo (28.Martin Fernandez 44’), 23.Brandon Vella.
Substitutes not used: 5.James Baldacchino, 17.Kristian Sekutkoski
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Card: Nil
3 -Mitchell Mallia (MS)
2 -Roberto Speranza (MS)
1 -James Andrew (MS)
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo