Spectators were treated to some real entertainment, great goals and superb play from both sides.
After the match both coaches, while admitting that the match provided first-class value for money, were somewhat disappointed not to have secured all three points.
Dave Barrett on the Marconi Stallions bench said:
?All our players are disappointed that they haven?t won and that?s a change in mentality for us.
?We haven?t lost a game in ten weeks and, while that?s not to say we are winning every week, it means that we are desperate to get the three points.?
His counterpart at Manly United Phil Moss expressed similar sentiments, but for different reasons. He was disappointed to have scored three goals at Marconi Stadium yet only collect a point:
?I am disappointed to come to Marconi and score three and not get maximum points,? he stated.
?I think the game showed the quality of the TeleChoice Premier League because it was a classic even though it wasn?t a game for the defensive purists.
?Marconi are getting better and better, so I guess to come here and get a point you?ve got to be reasonably happy.?
Marconi opened the scoring after only three minutes when Christopher Nunes tapped in a cross from the left just as the spectators were getting into their seats.
A minute later Nunes teamed up with Tolgay Ozbey and both charged into the box, but somehow Brad Swancott managed to thwart their efforts and keep the ball out for what looked certain to be the Stallions? second goal.
Joey Schirripa set up Craig Midgley in the 13? minute with a nice ball into the area and the striker evened the balance sheet with a superb back heel that caught the Stallions defence, and goalkeeper, off-guard. It was a goal of real opportunism and class.
In the 20? minute Robbie Cattanach scored Manly?s second goal with a majestic strike from outside the box and the ball ended up in the bottom right-hand corner of the net away from an outstretched James Chronopoulos.
However, Marconi were not about to surrender because Ozbey managed to equalise in the 28? minute when he lunged himself at an Ante Deur cross and virtually headed the ball out of Swancott?s grasp. It was a scrappy goal but not that Ozbey or Marconi were complaining.
In the 33? minute Marconi could well have taken the lead again when Ozbey found Deur and his powerful strike crashed into the underside of the cross-bar and bounced back into the field of play for Tallan Martin, who was jogging on the spot, to head the ball just wide.
On the stroke of half-time Deur, arguably one of the best players on the field, nicely put in a cross for Nathan Moulds who, on the run, with a powerful header sent the ball only centimetres wide of the intended target.
In the second-half though, Moulds turned into Marconi?s villain in the 52? minute when he inexplicably headed a Schirripa cross and it careered past his own goalkeeper. It was a classic own goal.
The second-half didn?t live up to the first class billing of the first-half and some scrappy play was evident from both sides.
However, there was nothing scrappy about Marconi?s third goal in the 63? minute when Ozbey powerfully tested Swancott from outside the area. The shot-stopper split the ball into the path of the oncoming Deur who neatly finished.
Marconi had some more chances in the second-half when Ozbey, clearly the best player on the night, tried his luck in the 70? minute but was denied by Swancott – and four minutes later he sent the ball crashing into the side netting.
The best summary of the game was provided by Stallions mentor Barrett:
?It was a very exciting game ? heart attack material defensively ? where we should have been up at half-time, but you can?t concede three goals at home and expect to win.?
With Sutherland Sharks’ 3-0 win against Sydney Olympic, Manly United have now seen the leaders gap move to six points with seven matches remaining in the TeleChoice Premier League.
MARCONI STALLIONS 3 (Christopher Nunes 3?, Tolgay Ozbey 28?, Ante Deur 63?)
MANLY UNITED 3 (Craig Midgley 13?, Robbie Cattanach 28?, Nathan Moulds (o.g) 52?)
Venue: Marconi Stadium
Referee: Dom Filipovic
Assistant Referees: Daniel Dewhurst and S. Edeling
Marconi Stallions: James Chronopoulos; Wade Oostendorp, Nathan Moulds, Luke Casserly, Tallan Martin (Stefan Donevski 61?), Kain Rastall, Tolgay Ozbey, Christopher Nunes (Tim McGowan 88?), Nahuel Arrarte, Umut Tokdogan, Ante Deur.
Substitutes Not Used: Jason Trifiro, Zachary Cairncross and Cem Akili
Manly United: Brad Swancott; Adam Israel, Richard Williams (Jamie Garside 78?), Andrew Mailer, Roberto Hamad, Brad Groves, Cameron Jones, Joey Schirripa, Pascal Julliard (Sean Bowden 86?), Craig Midgley, Robbie Cattanach.
Substitutes Not Used: Rhyss Keane, Michael Lloyd-Green and Caetamo Lima
Yellow Cards: Rastall 35?, Martin 58?, Arrarte 76?, Casserly 83? (Marconi), Hamad 9?, Schirripa 53?, Jones 78?, Cattanach 91? (Manly)
3 – Tolgay Ozbey (MS)
2 – Adam Israel (MU)
1 – Ante Deur (MS)
-By Joe Russo