The game kicked off in hot conditions and on a near perfect pitch, with its smooth flat surface befitting two teams who love to move the ball around the park.
Marconi got the first chance of the game when a cross from forward Ante Deur found the head of Tolgay Ozbey who forced a great early save by Wollongong keeper and former Stallion Daniel Nash.
The Wolves looked to take the game by the throat when three or four plays by Osagie Ederaro and Illja Prenzoski looked threatening with combination passing complimented by the surface, but the last finishing touch was denied by some solid Marconi defence.
Marconi opened the scoring in the 14? minute when some sloppy defending from a corner and a failed clearance from the Wolves fell kindly to Ozbey who slammed home the goal from point blank range.
Both sides continued to press forward over the remainder of the half and both sides looked likely to score but for some solid defending by both teams that were lucky at times to get away without receiving early cards. The score remained in Marconi?s favour by one goal going into the second half.
The turning point in the match occurred in just the third minute of the second-half when a neat through ball from Nahuel Arrarte found the running feet of Deur who at full pace was brought down by the Wolves young keeper. The referee awarded the penalty with no hesitation and gave Nash his marching orders. The red card left Wollongong FC down to 10 men and coach John Turner immediately sacrificed attacker Osagie Ederaro for his 16 year old back up goalkeeper Adam Rodriguez.
With what should have been a two goal lead defender Vuko Tomasevic stepped up for the penalty and fired it straight at the right post and the ball flew back out to safety for Wollongong.
With 3 games in 7 days and stifling heat to contend with, it was only going to be a ?when? and not ?if?, before a disciplined Marconi would break down the Wolves defence.
The flood gates opened in the 63? minute when Marconi defender Nathan Moulds came forward for a Tomasevic freekick and his well judged header beat the helpless goal keeper Rodriguez and made it 2-0 to Marconi.
Just seconds later from the restart the Wolves lost possession and it was another testing time for the young youth grade keeper who nervously mishandled a Marconi corner and Kain Rastall cleaned up and passed to Deur in front of goal for the easiest of tap in.
The fourth goal for Marconi came just three minutes after their third goal and was created down the right flank with Matthew Gordon sending a ball through to Stefan Donevski who finished off with ease by nudging it past the Wolves keeper.
The gallant Wollongong team battled on looking for a consolation goal but despite good chances falling to Daniel Aliffi, Matthew Bailey, Samet Kaynak and Josh Price they all failed in their final touch to get on the scoresheet for the Wolves.
After the match Marconi?s coach Dave Barrett played down his team’s performance by saying:
?The turning point in the match was the send off of Wollongong?s goalkeeper, it was an even game up until that point.
?We are happy to come away with the win. We still have our 2 main strikers to come back from injury but I was pleased to see how our boys handled the 10-men well. Some teams find it harder to play against 10 men and even after Vuko?s missed penalty our boy?s used the advantage to finish off and get the points?.
Wollongong FC coach John Turner said:
?It was hard for a 16 year old boy to come on in those circumstances especially after my immediate reaction was that it wouldn?t be a send off.
?It was our third game in 7 days and we were always going to find it hard in that heat with 10-men to hold out Marconi?.
– By Andrew Byron
Marconi Stallions 4 (Tolgay Ozbey 14′, Nathan Moulds 63′, Ante Deur 64′, Stefan Donevski 67′)
Wollongong FC 0
Saturday, 2nd February 2008 – Jenson Park, Sefton
Referee: Domagoj Filipovic
Assistant Referees: Steve Alexander, Dale Fuda
Marconi Stallions: 51. Cem AKILLI, 2. Wade OOSTENDORP, 3. Vuko TOMASEVIC, 5. Nathan MOULDS, 6. Luke CASSERLY (Captain), 7. Ben GOUGH, 9. Kain RASTALL, 10. Tolgay OZBEY, 11. Matthew GORDON, 17. Ante DEUR 26. Nahuel ARRARTE
Substitutes Used: 4. Jason TRIFIRO, 8. Tallan MARTIN, 12. Stefan DONEVSKI, 19. Chris GOMEZ
Substitutes Not Used: 1. James CHRONOPOULOS
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Wollongong FC: 1.Daniel NASH (gk), 3. ALFREDO, 4. Michael WEST, 5. Steven HAYES, 7. Illja PRENZOSKI, 13. Daniel ALIFFI, 14. Danial CUMMINS, 15. Ballamadou CONDE, 16. Tynan DIAZ, 17. Ben BLAKE (Captain), 18. Osagie EDERARO
Substitutes Used: 8. Matthew BAILEY, 29. Josh PRICE, 32. Samet KAYNAK, Adam RODRIGUEZ (gk)
Substitutes Not Used: Nil
Yellow Cards: Danial Cummins 42′, Illja Prenzovski 62′
Red Cards: Daniel Nash 48′
3 ? Vuko Tomasevic (MS)
2 ? Ante Deur (MS)
1? Nahuel Arrarte (MS)