Stallions hold out a gallant Berries for victory


The Stallions dominated possession in the early stages of the match, using the full width of the field to expose the Berries defence, allowing Vamara Diarra with plenty of space in the 10? minute.
Diarra latched on to a through ball but was unable to beat the advancing McLean, but on the second effort he looked like grabbing his side?s first, only to be denied by the scrambling Berries defence.
Nahuel Arrarte almost scored one of the goals of the season just 10? minutes later.
The skipper was quick to pounce on the loose ball, drilling a flat and powerful 30-metre shot in the direction of goal, but McLean?s glove was enough to send the ball away from danger.
The Berries were quick to hit back, as Kotsopoulos found himself in space down the left flank to cross a ball into Jones, but Jones? shot was off target.
But the flow of possession finally took its toll on the Berries, allowing Marconi to etch their name on to the scoreboard in the 24? minute.
Diarra showed off his skills to get past his opposing number, crossing a low ball past the goalkeeper to Matthew Gordon waiting at the far post to hit home his side?s opener.
Lagoudakis almost levelled the match for the Berries moments later, but his long range effort went high of the cross bar.
His side looked at their best on the counter attack but lacked the execution with their final touches and passes.
There was no lack of execution when the Stallions went forward in the 40? minute thanks to the brilliance of Arrarte and Gordon.
The pair linked up to show off their deft passing ability, allowing space for Gordon to curve his shot into the back of the net from outside the box for a 2-0 half-time advantage.
The first 10? minutes of the second-half was identical to the opening minutes of the first, as Marconi dominated field possession, although didn?t score the goal to show it.
Like he did in the first period, Diarra almost supplied his side with their third of the night, but Al-Hilfi struggled with his one-on-one with the shot-stopper, sending the ball sailing into the hill.
When the Berries did get a chance to show off their attacking prowess, the Stallions defence was up to the task with shot-stopper James Chronopoulos leading from the front.
Lagoudakis was hoping to reduce the margin 15? out from full-time, but his shot found the waiting Chronopoulos.
Fotiadis was given a yellow card in the 82? minute and just two minutes later he was awarded a second yellow card for a vicious tackle, ending his night in the 84? minute.
Substitute Tim McGowan had a shot that ricocheted off the goalkeeper, and Ben Vidaic?s shot took another deflection and off the crossbar for a corner.
McGowan had another chance moments later, but McLean was good enough to thwarhis efforts and keep the score at 2-0.
Berries coach John Calleja was pleased with his sides? effort despite the two goal defeat:
?The boys played hard, they were up for the game and they came in and put everything that they had,? Calleja said.
?Unfortunately we weren?t good enough and Marconi were as they knocked the ball around well and were definitely a class above and deserved their three points.
?I was happy with the effort and commitment.
?We changed our game plan today, we played a little bit more direct which was effective but we didn?t score off it.
?If we come up against teams lower on the table and play like that I?m sure we will transfer those efforts to points,? he concluded.
In the visitor?s dressing room, Lee Sterrey believes his side still has a lot of improvement left in them:
?Berries pushed us all the way, especially on set pieces and corners,? Sterrey said.
?Once we got the first goal I thought we controlled it at times.
?We turned it over far too much in the second half so there are things to work on but we are going forward.
?We moved the ball quite nice and got into dangerous areas but we should have taken a couple of better options,? the coach said.
The Berries got up in a close match in the Grade 20, coming away with a 2-1 win against the Stallions.
Match Stats
West Sydney Berries 0
Marconi Stallions 2 (Matthew Gordon 24?, 40?)
Venue: Lidcombe Oval, Lidcombe.
Referee: Atila Stibinger.
Assistant Referees: A Flynn, N Backo.
Fourth Official: T Klein.
Crowd: 550
West Sydney Berries: 1.Hamish Mclean, 3.Omar Saadi, 5.Michael Cunico (10.John Tsironis 58?), 6.Jack Sobczyk , 7.Peter Peralta, 8.Johnny Fotiadis, 11.Aheleas Kotsopoulos, 14.Liam  Austin (9.Cameron Jones 76?), 15.Ryan Jones, 16.Kosta Lagoudakis, 19.Dimitri Zakilas.
Substitutes Not Used: 4.Adam Wither, 22.Trinity Allen, 2.Marjan Novotni.
Yellow Cards: Ryan Jones 43?, Johnny Fotiadis 82?, 84?.
Red Cards: Johnny Fotiadis 84?.
Marconi Stallions: 22.James Chronopoulos; 2.Wade Oostendorp, 6.Vuko Tomasevic, 7.Ousmane Toure (9.Erick Anabalon 76?), 8.Alex Canak, 10.Ali Abbas Al-Hilfi (13.Ben Vidaic 71?), 11.Matthew Gordon, 17.Vamara Diarra (15. Tim McGowan 86?), 23.Christoper Nunes, 26.Nahuel Arrarte, 30.Andrea Merenda.
Substitutes Not Used: 5. Adel Eljamal, 20. Cem Akilli.
Yellow Cards: Chris Nunes 48?, Andrea Merenda 83?.
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings:
3 ? Matthew Gordon (MS)
2 – Vamara Diarra (MS)
1 ? Kosta Lagoudakis (WSB)
-By Michael Chammas