After five rounds it is hard to believe that the Stallions are yet to secure their first win, but such is the competitiveness of the competition that the former giants of Australian football find themselves as cellar-dwellers in the TeleChoice Premier League.
Penrith-Nepean, ravaged by injury, came for the point and in the end they were rewarded for a sterling defensive effort. However, whether or not the spectators present appreciated such a lifeless contest is debatable.
After the game Penrith coach Abbas Saad was extremely pleased with his side and he had good reason to be so.
?I was undermanned because I had a couple of important players missing today and I knew we had to battle it out,? the former Socceroo striker said.
?We didn?t really have much upfront and everyone could see that but, in the end, it was a superb effort.
?I can?t ask for more: the boys have been absolutely brilliant so far [2 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss] and the older boys such as Javier Mancino, Ante Juric and Ozgur Kanyilmaz have just set a brilliant example for the younger players.
?They are really, really important older guys and the others are just following their lead.
?The young boys that are playing now are the same young boys that I brought in towards the end of last season and it is starting to pay dividends.?
Saad?s counterpart meanwhile and former Sydney Olympic teammate, Dave Barrett, at the helm of the Marconi Stallions maintained a positive and realistic outlook for his team.
?When you are fighting for your life things don?t always go your way, but I was pleased with the effort, intensity and other good aspects of the performance even though we didn?t get the final result we wanted,? he said.
?I thought Chris Nunes, in his first game back since returning from overseas, was very good and overall I thought we were just a bit unlucky in front of goal.
?The game was pretty close even though we had three of four good chances, but we?ll continue to work very hard and I?m sure we?ll get the results.?
In the 8? minute a thundering free-kick from Vuko Tomasevic was spilt by Daniel Schwarzer in goal and Tallan Martin from the follow-up narrowly shot wide thanks to a slight deviation.
In the 19? minute Penrith?s reply didn?t really trouble Marconi as Nathan Ralph?s cross finished against the side netting, but only two minutes later Marconi?s best two players combined to really test Schwarzer ? younger brother of Socceroo Mark ? in goal: Stefan Donevski superbly found Nunes who fired home a thunderbolt that Schwarzer brilliantly turned away for a corner.
In the 37? minute a powerful shot by Nunes narrowly missed its intended target and in the 39? minute it was Nunes who found Donevski but, once again, Schwarzer showed why there are two talented goalkeepers in the family.
On the stroke of half-time Luke Boyd for the visitors shot narrowly wide and players went into the break after a scoreless 45? minutes.
The second-half was mediocre: few chances and Penrith?s defence, led superbly by William Stuart, was resolute.
In the 60? minute Marconi?s best two players were at it again when Nunes set-up Donevski, but his shot was narrowly off target thanks to a Juric deflection.
In the 75? minute Stuart, from an acute angle, hit the crossbar for the visitors and in the 89? minute a Donevski shot was almost headed in by Kanyilmaz for an own goal but once again Schwarzer superbly saved.
The second stanza of play finished shortly afterwards and for many it was a sigh of relief.
After an entertaining first-half, the second period of play had very little to offer. In the end, a draw was probably the right result because Penrith?s defensive effort deserved to be rewarded even though Marconi had the better of the attacking chances.
Marconi Stallions 0
Penrith-Nepean United 0
Venue: Marconi Stadium
Referee: Kris Griffith-Jones
Assistants: Michael Clisdell and Brett Woodford
Marconi Stallions: Cem Akili, Wade Oostendorp, Vuko Tomasevic, Jason Trifiro (Sean Mitchell 58?) Nathan Moulds, Matthew Gordon, Ante Deur, Nahuel Arrarte, Chris Nunes (Ben Bronneberg 90?), Stefan Donevski, Tallan Martin (Glen Trifiro 64?).
Coach: David Barrett
Penrith-Nepean United: Daniel Schwarzer, Ante Juric, Carl McNaughton (Devrim Huseyin 53?), Ozgur Kanyilmaz, Nick Tsattalios, William Stuart, Javier Mancino (Angelo Martino 92?), Luke Boyd, Michael Cromar, Nathan Ralph, Tayfun Buyukkopru (Ryan O?Shea 76?).
Coach: Abbas Saad
Yellow Cards: Michael Cromar (PNU)
3 – Stefan Donevski (MS)
2 – Chris Nunes (MS)
1 – William Stuart (PNU)
-By Joe Russo