And amongst all the celebrations at the side?s first home match of the regular season, the Reds scored one over their local rivals Marconi Stallions ? in a match that doubled as the Capitol Hill Estate Cup, first-leg.
Following their impressive pre-season form, and phenomenal defeat of reigning TeleChoice Premier League Champions Blacktown City Demons the previous weekend, Sydney United played to their strengths against a Marconi Stallions side heavily depleted following the send-off of midfielder Kain Rastall.
In a tense start to the local derby, whereby neither side took a firm grasp of proceedings, the match came to life in the 18? minute.
A fine Marconi break on the counter-attack was brought to a halt on the half-way line as Petar Markovic heavily fouled Stallions? Kain Rastall.
The referee was quick to caution the Sydney United midfielder for the foul, though Rastall?s exaggerated reaction earned the wrath of his coach and teammates as the referee sent the Stallions? player off with a straight red-card.
Rastall appeared to hit his head against Markovic ? in anger towards the Reds midfielder for his challenge.
Despite going the man down, Marconi Stallions, led gallantly by their experienced midfielder Nahuel Arrarte, put their foot down on the accelerator as they searched to make a go of the match ? despite the numerical disadvantage.
Arrarte?s long-range effort one minute after the send-off was encouraging for David Barrett and Stallions? supporters, though the effort lacked any real conviction.
Ivo Bosnar created Sydney United?s first real chance of the afternoon in the 23? minute as he found a yard of space inside the Marconi penalty-area.
Bosnar?s quick feet enabled the midfielder to push the ball onto his right foot, though the last-ditch effort by Stallions? defender Nathan Moulds thwarted the effort.
Sydney United?s Todd Brodie was a running menace for the Stallions defenders.
The Sydney United ?go to? man throughout the encounter was involved in all assets of the match, much like his opponent Arrarte ? who along with Vuko Tomasevic ? seemed to be the only avenues the Stallions could look towards to avoid defeat.
Petar Markovic created discomfort for the Stallions with his running down the right-flank, meanwhile youngster Andrija Petkovic continually provided good link-up play with his strikers Elsid Barkhousir and Luka Glavas.
At the other end for the Stallions, Tolgay Ozbey was too isolated up-front, leaving the reigning Football NSW Golden Boot with his back to goal and three-men marking him, continually.
Despite the Stallions finishing the half strongly, no clear-cut chance had been carved out, meanwhile Sydney United failed to dent the Stallions rear-guard.
Marconi?s golden chance to raise their claim for a win arrived in the opening minutes of the second-half.
A fine one-two between Arrarte and Ante Deur provided the latter with a one-on-one opportunity that he scuffed ? shooting directly at the out-rushing Vedran Janjetovic.
The Marconi defence appeared to be holding their nerve well, though in the 64? minute, a scramble inside the penalty-area saw a floating ball fall into the path of Luka Glavas who in-turn volleyed into the back of the net, from the penalty spot.
The cheers of the Sydney United faithful brought about the demise of the Stallions who had fought bravely to keep the Reds scoreless.
The Stallions were timid going forward despite the best efforts of an inspirational Arrarte in midfield, though Sydney United clinched the encounter ten-minutes later.
Some fine build-up play involving no-less than five Reds players presented Glavas with what seemed an impossible goal scoring chance.
The former A-League striker unleashed a venomous low-drive from more than 25-metres into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal, surprising not only Marconi?s James Chronopoulos but the crowd also.
David Barrett?s introduction of both Tallan Martin and Stefan Donevski was too late for the Stallions, as the Reds searched to ?put-away? Marconi.
The third goal, courtesy of Josip Moric following a great counter-attack by the Reds, sealed not only the three-points for the Reds, but almost certainly the Capitol Hill Estate Cup for 2008.
A three-goal lead heading into the return fixture at Marconi Stadium later in the season is almost an unassailable lead for the Reds ? a win that would clinch Sydney United, in their 50th year, their second Capitol Hill Estate Cup win from five editions.
Following the match, Sydney United boss Ivan Petkovic expressed his delight for the win:
?I am happy as we have two wins from our first two matches and that is a very good start. Today against Marconi we played some good football, and it was important to take the win especially after Marconi lost a player for the red card.
?To my players I am happy with their effort, but of course there are always improvements to make so we will need to continue to get better.?
Asked to comment on Elsid Barkhousir?s condition following the striker?s substitution after picking up a knock ? immediately after United?s third goal – Petkovic was adamant that his striker would be available for selection next weekend:
?It looks like it was only a knock so Elsid should be fine even to train this week.?
Marconi Stallions? boss David Barrett was less content with the outcome of the local derby:
?The result is obviously not the one we were looking for. The match as a whole I thought we did some good things, played the ball around quite well even though we were a man down.
?We did have two chances before Sydney United scored and, if we took either one of those chances the match would have been a different story. Unfortunately we didn?t, so it is frustrating to come away with such a heavy defeat.?
The Stallions? task was not made easy by the 18? minute red card to Kain Rastall, and Barrett was not impressed by his player?s reaction:
?We had won the free-kick and instead of playing on, we retaliated. It is extremely disappointing, especially from one of our more experienced players.?
Sydney United 3 ( Luka Glavas 64?, 74?, Josip Moric 80?)
Marconi Stallions 0
Sunday, 2nd March, 2008
Sydney United Sports Centre
Referee: James Lewis
Assistant Referees: Daniel Dewhurst, Dale Fuda
Fourth Official: Miles Allen-Scott
Sydney United: 30. Vedran Janjetovic; 3. Josip Moric, 5. Damon Collina, 6. Joe Vrkic (C), 21. Sash Trajcevski, 7. Todd Brodie, 14. Petar Markovic, 23. Ivo Bosnar, 18. Andrija Petkovic (19. Mitchell Thompson 81?), 16. Elsid Barkhousir (37. Dennis Cutura 81?), 11. Luka Glavas
Substitutes not used: 2. Ricky Perinich, Antony Golec, 1. Michael Turnbull
Yellow Cards: Petar Markovic 18?
Red Cards: Nil
Marconi Stallions: 1. James Chronopoulos; 2. Wade Oostendorp, 3. Vuko Tomasevic, 5. Nathan Moulds, 6. Luke Casserly (C), 7. Benjamin Gough, 9. Kain Rastall, 10. Tolgay Ozbey (12. Stefan Donevski, 79?) 11. Matthew Gordon (32. Ben Bronneberg 88?), 13. Ante Deur (8. Tallan Martin 68?), 26. Nahuel Arrarte
Substitutes not used: 17. Sean Mitchell, 20. Cem Akilli
Red Cards: Kain Rastall 18?
3 ? Luka Glavas (SU)
2 ? Todd Brodie (SU)
1 ? Nahuel Arrarte (MS)
-By Joseph Carlucci