Stallions lose three players but record ‘miracle’ draw against Tigers


The determined Stallions, who received three red cards from referee Jonathon Streater, played for almost 30 minutes with only eight players.
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt on the other hand, after taking the lead shortly after the Stallions had their third player sent off, were their own worst enemies.
Marconi certainly, and fairly cleverly, used every trick in the book to stretch the meaning of gamesmanship, but with only eight players what else could they have done?
The last few minutes of the game were a testament to how determined the Stallions were because A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt threw everything – bar the kitchen sink – at the Stallions who managed to prevent the Tigers from having any real shot on goal.
After the game Marconi coach David Barrett offered the following comment:
?The game was spoilt by factors beyond our control, but the courage of the players was magnificent.
?With eight players, I thought we were fantastic. It showed a lot of character, which we have been doing lately, and I couldn?t be prouder of our boys.?
His counterpart, John Romeo of A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt, was disappointed by a number of things including the fact that the Tigers were not able to capitalise on matters:
?Three players were sent off, we scored two goals and hit the back of the net on another four occasions, so what can I say?? he said.
?I really can?t believe our luck and I?m sorry, but I cannot offer any further comment on the game.?
In the 12? minute a free-kick from the right by Vuko Tomasevic found Luke Casserly, but his shot lacked penetration and Matthew Nash saved fairly comfortably in the end.
A.P.I.A. replied almost instantly when Franco Parisi beautifully set up Jamie McMaster and the former Leeds United player forced a tremendous save out of James Chronopoulos between the sticks.
Nothing much happened until the 32? minute when the game came alive as Marconi really put some pressure on the Tigers. Tolgay Ozbey charged into the middle and let fly with a great shot which sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
Three minutes later Ozbey was back at it again, but this time his diagonal shot was slightly deflected and it went behind for a corner.
Marconi opened the scoring in the 42? minute when Christopher Nunes was given far too much space on the left and with a precise cross found an unmarked Stefan Donevski who clinically headed home.
On the stroke of half-time a shot by Ozbey beat everyone except Mark Byrnes on the goal line who cleared the ball and the Stallions went into the break with a narrow lead.
After a rather lacklustre first-half, the second period really came to life. In the 48? minute Franco Parisi, usually reliable, couldn?t find his target from close-range.
The game, which until the 54? minute was played in an exemplary manner without even a single yellow card, came to life with a straight red card for Umut Tokdogan for a challenge on Paul Kohler.
Then, more unfortunate heartbreak hit Marconi as in the 60? minute the Stallions had Vuko Tomasevic sent from the field.
Tomasevic was caught pushing when he was defending a free-kick and Streater not only booked Tomasevic but awarded A.P.I.A. a penalty.
Jamie McMaster made no mistake from the penalty-spot despite the best efforts from James Chronopoulos who got both hands to the ball.
Three minutes later McMaster appeared to push Kain Rastall in midfield, but when the Stallions midfielder turned to remonstrate about the lack of a free-kick he was immediately dispatched to the showers with another straight red.
The Tigers took the lead in the 66? minute when a McMaster cross found an unmarked Marton Vass, arguably the best player for A.P.I.A. Leichhardt, and he maintained his cool to slot the ball home.
Shortly afterwards Stephen Kayes brought out the best from Chronopoulos who showed why he is so highly rated as a goalkeeper. 
In the 76? minute John Kelso brought Tallan Martin down in the penalty box and the referee, jogging on the spot, had no hesitation in awarding the penalty.
Luke Casserly, captain courageous, stepped up to the mark and beat Nash to equalise the balance sheet for the Stallions.
Casserly, especially when the team was down, showed his class and why at one stage in his career he played for the Socceroos.
In the dying minutes the Tigers threw everything at the Stallions who gallantly held on for a remarkable and thrilling draw.
Match Stats
Marconi Stallions 2 (Stefan Donevski 42?, Luke Casserly (penalty) 76?)

A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers 2 (Jamie McMaster (penalty) 61?, Marton Vass 66?)


Venue: Marconi Stadium

Referee: Jonathon Streater
Assistant Referees: Steven Nguyen and Sarah Ho
Marconi Stallions: James Chronopoulos; Vuko Tomasevic, Luke Casserly, Kain Rastall, Tolgay Ozbey (Tallan Martin 68?), Stefan Donevski (Nathan Moulds 62?), Zachary Cairncross, Christopher Nunes (Tim McGowan 72?), Nahuel Arrarte, Umut Tokdogan, Ante Deur.
Substitutes Not Used: Matthew Gordon, Cem Akili
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers: Matthew Nash; John Kelso, Mark Byrnes, Paul Kohler, Michael Galluzzo, Stephen Kayes (Daniel Clifford 76?), Jamie McMaster, Christian Care (Simon Ryan 82?), Joe Bruni (Daine Merrin 83?), Franco Parisi, Marton Vass.
Substitutes Not Used: Matthew Kasbarian, William Thom
Yellow Cards: Donevski 59?, Tomasevic 60?, Martin 88?
Red Cards: Tokdogan 54?, Tomasevic 60? (second yellow), Rastall 63?
Player Ratings:
3 – Luke Casserly (MS)
2 – Marton Vass (AL)
1 – Nahuel Arrarte (MS)
-By Joe Russo