It was way too harsh though for Marconi to walk away from Sydney United Sports Centre without at least a point, but football is game that requires concentration right up until the final whistle and Marconi paid dearly for their lapse right at the end.
In reality, Sydney United came alive after David Zdrilic?s equaliser and the writing was on the wall for Marconi after that first goal because, inspired by the home crowd, Sydney United threw everything at the visitors.
After the game Sydney United coach Ante Milicic was pleased with his side and quietly happy with the obtaining of the three points:
?I am obviously happy with the result because we were down 1-0 at home, but showed spirit and character to come back,? he stated.
?The boys believed in themselves and that?s what I told them at halftime and as such I am happy knowing that my side in 45 minutes can do enough to win a game.?
The opening chance of the game fell to the Stallions when Ali Al-Hilfi turned a free-kick just wide of the goal from outside the box. However, there wasn?t much more to entertain the very healthy crowd at the Sydney United Sports Centre until the 20? minute when Ben Vidaic was brought down in the penalty box.
Kris Griffith Jones had no hesitation in signalling that it was a penalty and Nahuel Arrarte put the Stallions ahead with a magnificently taken spot-kick completely sending the home goalkeeper the wrong way.
In the 30? minute Marconi were unlucky not to have doubled their lead when, after a series of near misses in the box, it all ended with Vidaic toe-poking the ball towards goal only to see it take a deflection and finish just wide of the post.
In the 33? minute Sydney United were extremely close to equalising the ledger when Mitchell Thompson sent in a beautiful cross from left to reach a charging Milicic, but his powerful attempt from close range was only fractionally off target. It was the home side?s first real chance of note.
Shortly afterwards Damon Collina rose beautifully to meet an in-swinging corner kick, but his powerful header from the edge of the six-yard box ended up just over the crossbar.
Right on the stroke of half-time Davor Bajsic sent his free-kick just over Chronopoulos? goal as Sydney United desperately tried to enter the sheds on an even footing.
In the second-half the early chances fell to Marconi. Firstly, Vuko Tomasevic superbly set up Alexander Canak unmarked in front of the goalkeeper, but he obviously didn?t expect to receive the pass because his finish hardly troubled Vedran Janjetovic.
Minutes later Al-Hilfi somehow attempted to be too cute after overcoming two defenders, but in the end skyed his shot when he should have done a lot better.
On 67? minutes though Sydney United equalised when David Zdrilic took advantage of poor clearing by the Stallions defence which had ample opportunity to dispose of the ball but didn?t and Zdrilic, with all his experience, slotted the ball home. This was clearly the turning point in the game. Sydney United had the momentum and the crowd while Marconi, even though they had some more chances, never really looked comfortable.
In the 73? minute Al-Hilfi charged towards goal but his trusty right boot deserted him and the powerful finish sailed just wide of the mark.
In the 82? minute Barkhousir should have put Sydney United ahead but was denied by a brilliant Chronopoulos save from close range diving to his left.
Ironically it was a poor effort from Chronopoulos that would lead to Barkhousir?s goal in the 93? minute but not before Ricky Perinich faced a straight red card a minute earlier for a late tackle on Graziano Trimboli.
Afterwards Marconi Stallions mentor Lee Sterrey didn?t look for any excuses despite the late winner going against his side:
?I was still very disappointed with our overall performance tonight,? he said.
?We didn?t play with a second central midfielder ? we played with one ? and, in the end, we probably in 90 minutes only played 15 minutes of football of real Marconi quality.
?We were 1-0 up and they [Sydney United] didn?t realistically have a chance, but we took two goals from really just nothing.
?They were two direct balls and the middle of the defence didn?t deal with them and that was it.
?Alex Canak had a one-on-one six yards out and missed and Ali [Al-Hilfi] had another, so we should have been 2-0 up and game over.?
Meanwhile, in the under-20s Youth League game prior to the main encounter the Marconi Stallions defeated Sydney United 4-1.
Sydney United 2 (David Zdrilic 67?, Elsid Barkhousir 93?)
Marconi Stallions 1 (Arrarte (pen) 20?)
Sunday, 29th March, 2009
Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park
Referee: Kris Griffith-Jones
Assistant Referees: Sarah Ho and Bachar Allam
Sydney United: 1.Vedran Janjetovic; 5.Damon Collina, 4.Milan Bosnar, 6.Joe Vrkic, 21.Dominic Rossi, 19.Mitchell Thompson, 9. David Zdrilic, 2.Ricky Perinich, 12.Davor Bajsic (15.Lisandro Berbis 55?), 10.Ante Milicic (16.Elsid Barkhousir 46?), 11.Luka Glavas.
Substitutes Not Used: 18.Glen Trifiro, 24.Andrija Petkovic, 20.Michael Frost
Yellow Cards: Bosnar 82?, Barkhousir 90?+3?
Red Card: Perinich 90?+2?
Marconi Stallions: 22.James Chronopoulos; 4.Umut Tokdogan, 5.Abel El-Jamal, 6.Vuko Tomasevic, 7.Ousmane Toure, 8.Alexander Canak, 10.Ali Al-Hilfi (15.Tim McGowan 74?), 13.Ben Vidaic (9.Erick Anabalon 85?), 23.Christopher Nunes (18.Graziano Trimboli 61?), 26.Nahuel Arrarte, 30.Andrea Merenda
Substitutes Not Used: 2. Wade Oostendorp and 20. Cem Akili
Yellow Cards: Vidaic 22?, Arrarte 45?, Canak 78?, Chronopolus 80?
3 ? David Zdrilic (SU)
2 ? Abel El Jamal (MS)
1 ? Luka Glavas (SU)
-By Joe Russo