Against all the odds, away from home against a Bankstown City side that has proved over the past week their return to form following impressive wins against Blacktown City and Macarthur Rams in the League and Tiger Turf Cup respectively, the Stallions held their own and left Jensen Park with all three-points ? much deserved for David Barrett?s side.
Bankstown City fielded their latest signing ? former Central Coast Mariners midfielder Andre Gumprecht ? for the first time in the TeleChoice Premier League, though despite the lively midfielder?s fighting spirit he could not lift his team-mates in an all-round flat display.
David Barrett?s men were the hungrier of the two sides from the word go and this illustrated the final result.
After only 20?? seconds, Tolgay Ozbey had Bankstown on the back foot with a surging run into the penalty-area before winning a corner for his side. Matthew Gordon?s delivery though was poor.
Moments later, Nahuel Arrarte ? who pulled the strings for the Stallions midfield to perfection ? sent Tolgay Ozbey free on the right-flank. Ozbey?s delivery to the back post was met by Matthew Gordon?s header ? the Stallions midfielder got a second-attempt as the ball fell to his feet, his low-driven effort was well saved by Zlatko Joseski.
Bankstown failed to play their way into the match, and on 14? minutes ? despite his positive presence in the middle of the park ? Gumprecht lost the ball enabling the Stallions midfield to send Ozbey clear on goal.
Richard Luksic tracked-back exceptionally well and thwarted the Stallions? number 10 with a perfectly timed challenge.
The Stallions Vuko Tomasevic was the first player of the encounter to go into the referee?s book ? the midfielder was very vocal on a number of occasions concerning the referee?s decisions ? though Tomasevic did calm himself down to provide his side with a sterling performance.
Robbie Mileski had Bankstown City?s first real chance after 18? minutes ? at a stage where Bankstown City started to get their passing game together.
The Bankstown number 10 was sent through on goal with a delightful through ball out of midfield, though the Stallions? goalkeeper James Chronopoulos was quick to re-act ? saving at Mileski?s feet.
James Monie and Steve Liavas then combined well on the right-flank with the latter delivering a pin-point cross to the head of Mileski ? the Bankstown City play-maker though failed to hit the target from point-blank distance, heading over Chronopoulos? cross-bar.
Against the run of play, following a promising 10? minutes from the home-side, Marconi Stallions took the lead with some great counter-attacking play.
A perfectly floated ball on the right-flank into the path of Christopher Nunes got the Stallions? wing-back into some space ? Nunes delivered an accurate low-cross into the penalty-area with Tallan Martin coolly converting from close-range.
The goal added extra intensity to the Stallions play, though Bankstown City did find the back of the net shortly after.
James Monie ? played through on goal ? headed the ball past Chronopoulos who had left his goal-line, though the referee saw a push by the Bankstown City man on his marker ? much to the surprise of all the spectators at Jensen Park.
Andre Gumprecht was involved in the final chance of the half, following some great inter-play with Monie on the right-flank.
The latter?s return pass to Gumprecht was too long, crossing the goal-line before Gumprecht?s sliding effort to divert the ball into the penalty-area.
Bankstown City?s recent performances suggested a fight-back would be on the cards in the second period, though the Stallions added further woe to the home-side?s cause only 4? minutes after the re-start.
The normally reliable George Nohra played a loose pass in midfield into the path of Tallan Martin. The Stallions man picked out Ozbey with a first-time ball ? Ozbey did not waste the golden opportunity, slotting the ball past Zlatko Joseski for his first strike of the season.
Despite a dominance of possession from this point on, Bankstown City?s clear goal-scoring chances were few.
A free-kick on the edge of the penalty-area in the 54? minute provided Mileski with a chance to get his side back into the contest ? Mileski?s dipping effort though failed to bend enough to sneak underneath the cross-bar.
With James Monie struggling after picking up a knock, the Matthew Borg card was played by Bankstown City Assistant Peter Papoythis ? a decision which would not reap reward for the home-side.
Borg would pick up a yellow-card 12? minutes from time, and then a second one in injury-time, as tensions were high amongst a frustrated group of Bankstown City players.
Bankstown?s Phillip Makrys replaced Robert Mileski 20? minutes from the end and his influence was immediate.
Makrys collected a loose ball on the edge of the Marconi penalty-area and unleashed a snap-shot with the outside of his boot, beating Chronopoulos but not the up-right ? summing up Bankstown City?s afternoon.
In the 72? minute, Tallan Martin showed his quick feet with a fine turn and shot from the edge of the penalty-area that finished just wide of Joseskis? right-hand post.
Substitute Stefan Donevski made a meal of a golden opportunity moments later ? the Stallions midfielder could be excused as he had only entered the field of play moments earlier. Donevski was one-on-one with Joseski, though an extra touch taken by the midfielder allowed the goalkeeper to thwart the situation ? Joseski diverted the ball for a corner.
Bankstown City nearly pulled a goal back in the 87? minute following a complete and utter scramble inside the Marconi penalty-area.
The ball was lost between a sea of legs in the box ? the ?half-hearted? clearance fell to Bankstown substitute Chris Goddy Bascurt who hit his snap-shot effort well-over the cross-bar.
The Stallions controlled the remaining moments of the match, securing their first win of the competition.
Following the match, Stallions? coach David Barrett was visibly happy with his side?s maiden win for the season:
?I am really happy with the win today, of course.
?I thought the boys knuckled down from the very start and gave it everything against a good side.
?To come to Jensen Park is very difficult, and I believe that we could have even scored another goal or two from the chances we created. Our defence was tight, and really we haven?t conceded many goals in recent matches ? including the Tiger Turf Cup win during the week.
?What we need to do now is look for consistency, and this will be a big test for us. Hopefully it is the turning point for our season,? concluded Barrett.
Bankstown City Assistant coach Peter Papoythis was disappointed with the final outcome:
?This is football. Today, Marconi came here to play ? they were ready ? and we simply weren?t. In this competition, if you are ?off? against any team you will lose, and this happened today.
?We were very flat and this is certainly disappointing considering the two-steps forward we have taken with the win last weekend and again in the Tiger Turf Cup against Macarthur. We have taken a step-backwards today, and it is very disappointing.?
Bankstown City Lions 0
Marconi Stallions 2 (Tallan Martin 31?, Tolgay Ozbey 49?)
Venue: Jensen Park, Bankstown
Referee: Atila Stibinger
Assistant Referees: Adam Dayeian, Stephen Lucas
Fourth Official: Cameron Bruce
Crowd: Approx. 500.
Bankstown City Lions: 1. Zlatko Joseski (C); 3. Shane Webb, 4. Brett Studman, 5. Richard Luksic, 6. Peter Tsekenis, 7. Stefanos Liavas (99. Chris Goddy Bascurt 79?), 8. George Nohra, 9. James Monie (36. Matthew Borg 59?), 10. Robert Mileski (11. Phillip Makrys 70?), 13. Andre Gumprecht, 16. Tayfun Devrimol.
Substitutes Not Used: 2. Ibrahim Haydar, 21. Andrew Bazi,
Yellow Cards: Peter Tsekenis 35?, Zlatko Joseski 35?, Matthew Borg 78?
Red Cards: Matthew Borg 90?
Marconi Stallions: 1. James Chronopoulos; 2. Wade Oostendorp, 3. Vuko Tomasevic, 5. Nathan Moulds, 6. Luke Casserly (C), 8. Tallan Martin, 10. Tolgay Ozbey (12. Stefan Donevski 75?), 11. Matthew Gordon, 23. Christopher Nunes (15.Tim McGowan 82?), 26. Nahuel Arrarte, 38. Umut Tokdogan.
Substitutes Not Used: 9. Kain Rastall, 18. Jason Trifiro, 20. Cem Akili
Yellow Cards: Vuko Tomasevic 18?, Tallan Martin 38?, Christopher Nunes 82?
Red Cards: Nil
3 ? Tolgay Ozbey (MS)
2 ? Tallan Martin (MS)
1 ? Andre Gumprecht (BC)
-By Joseph Carlucci