Stallions and White Eagles share the spoils


Despite the 0-0 score line, the 2,500 spectators were treated to some end-to-end action as the two sides managed to nullify one another with some strong tackling in the defensive third.
Matthew Gordon had the Stallions supporters on their feet in only the second minute of the match as he created a yard of space to deliver a cross into the penalty-area, denied only by an alert Phillip Zabaks in the White Eagles goal who was quick off his line to claim the ball.
The Stallions enjoyed the early running with a stronghold on possession, marshalled perfectly out of midfield by Nahuel Arrarte and Umut Tokdogan, and used to quick effect in the front-third by a very lively Erick Anabalon and Aleksander Canak in the final third.
The home-side?s first effort on goal arrived on 5? minutes as Aleksander Canak rose highest to head on target, only to be denied by the ever-ready Zabaks.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles responded moments later via the right-boot of Michael Brown. The defender?s long-range effort packed a real punch though lacked accuracy as James Chronopoulos watched the ball sail over his crossbar.
Marconi?s best chances continued to arrive via the left-flank, covered proficiently by Gordon and youngster Giorgio Speranza, and on 20? minutes, a partially dealt with corner by the White Eagles defence allowed Brenton Rhodes to try his luck from the edge of the penalty-area, though his effort too finished well-over the crossbar.
The White Eagles? better forward forays arrived via the feet of new signing Shane Webb, and on 23? minutes, it was Webb who very nearly caught Chronopoulos unawares with his low-driven effort flashing inches wide of the shot-stopper?s left-hand post.
Bonnyrigg?s best chance of the opening half-hour arrived on 24? minutes as the Stallions this time failed to clear a Bonnyrigg set-piece. The loose ball fell into the path of Jamie McMaster who blasted his effort inches over Chronopoulos? crossbar.
Moments later, a defensive lapse by the Stallions allowed Daniel Severino a look-in on goal from the right touch-line. The attacking midfielder cleverly cut the ball back from the byline though the Stallions defenders scrambled well to thwart the danger.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles thought they had scored when a Severino free-kick from deep was powerfully headed into the bottom corner, only to be denied by a tremendous diving save by Chronopoulos down to his right. The shot-stopper was called upon again moments later to quickly leave his line and clear a loose ball on the edge of the penalty-area.
The White Eagles finished the half strongly with former Stallions defender Wade Oostendorp almost netting from point-blank range against his former club. Oostendorp failed to stay on his feet, and despite his lunging effort, could not make contact with the ball to test Chronopoulos.
White Eagles goalkeeper Zabaks ensured the two sides would go into the break level with a fine save, to rival Chronopoulos? fine effort earlier, down to his left. Gordon?s diagonal-hit volley was parried at the first attempt by the outstretched Zabaks, before the shot-stopper quickly pounced on the loose ball to deny Gordon a second chance.
After the break, Anabalon turned cleverly on the edge of the penalty-area to create the yard of space needed to get a shot in on goal, though the White Eagles? defence scrambled to divert the ball behind the goal line for a corner. The resulting corner very nearly rewarded the Stallions with the opening goal as Umut Tokdogan saw his effort thwarted, and cleared away to safety.
Bonnyrigg?s responses were sporadic, and on 55? minutes, Severino unleashed a venomous long-range effort with his trusty left-foot, though again, the effort lacked accuracy.
Striker Brad Boardman had been kept quiet throughout the evening though on the hour, the burly striker did use his muscles to get a look-in on goal. The striker was denied though by some fine defending by Rhodes.
Rhodes turned hero to villain in the space of 60?? seconds as the defender blasted over the crossbar from point-blank range. A perfectly worked free-kick by the Stallions had Arrarte head a clever ball across the face of goal and into the path of a lunging Rhodes at the back post; the Stallions number 2 could only blast over despite Zabaks seemingly beaten.
The visitors did create a huge chance on 62? minutes via the left boot of David Gullo. The midfielder played a neat ball across the Stallions goal line and into the path of Jamie McMaster at the back post, though the former A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers player could not steer the ball inside the left-hand post.
Shane Webb sprung into action in the 70? minute, latching onto a pin-point square pass by Boardman, before volleying towards goal, though the effort again failed to hit the target.
At the other end, Canak and Arrarte combined well to beat the offside trap before Arrarte?s forward foray was brought to a halt by a perfectly timed Michael Brown tackle inside the penalty-area.
The home crowd was forced to face a nerve-wracking final minute of injury-time as the Stallions conceded a free-kick in Daniel Severino territory. The Premier League?s answer to David Beckham for his exceptional free-kick ability swerved his effort over the wall, though could not be Chronopoulos who was well-positioned to make a routine save.
In the end, the point keeps both sides equal first, in anticipation of the remaining round 3 matches to come on Sunday.
Marconi Stallions boss Lee Sterrey had mixed feelings about the results:
?I guess we are and we aren?t happy about the result in the end,? Sterrey commented.
?We did play some good football, and we created a couple of goalscoring chances. Considering that we have had a lot of disruption in the pre-season, we are really happy with the way the first three rounds have gone.
?In saying that, the chances we did create do need to be taken, and we could have come away with three-points tonight,? Sterrey ended.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles coach Brian Brown remained satisfied with the draw:
?Any team that comes to Marconi and takes a point this season, I think, will be happy.
?I am pleased with how the boys played today, we have had a very good response from all the boys and although the performance tonight was not the best football you will see, the attitude and spirit of the team was very pleasing,? added Brown.
?Many have handed us the favourites tag, and that doesn?t bother me too much. I guess it is better to be considered a contender than a team that has no chance of any success this season.
?In saying this, it really is an even playing field this season, so it will be a test to continue performing and ensuring that we do reach the business end of the season with every chance of fighting for the title,? ended Brown.
In the Grade 20 division, Bonnyrigg White Eagles left Marconi Stadium with three-points following their 2-0 defeat of the Stallions.
Match Stats
Marconi Stallions 0
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 0
Saturday, 13th March, 2010
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Sandro Perticarini
Assistant Referees: Daniel Dewhurst and Paul Faithfull
Fourth Official: Brendan Johansen
Crowd: 2,500
Marconi Stallions: 22.James Chronopoulos; 2.Brenton Rhodes, 4.Umut Tokdogan, 5.Adel El Jamal, 8.Aleksandar Canak (25.Domenic Trimboli 90?+1?), 9.Erick Anabalon, 11.Matthew Gordon (38.Daniel Petrovski 87?), 23.Christopher Nunes, 26.Nahuel Arrarte, 34.Nathan Jagelman (18.Jarod Lum 33?), 42.Giorgio Speranza
Substitutes Not Used: 17.Daniel Castrogiovanni, 21.Jose Bello Amigo
Yellow Cards: Christopher Nunes 23?, Jarod Lum 85?
Red Cards: Nil
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 99.Phillip Zabaks; 20.Wade Oostendorp, 3.Graham Forbes, 6.Vuko Tomasevic (C), 7.Nikola Zonjic, 4.Michael Brown, 11.Shane Webb, 10.Daniel Severino, 19.Jamie McMaster (8.Milorad Simonovic 74?), 9.Bradley Boardman (13.Juan Carlos Chavez 87?), 17.David Gullo (16.Stefan Heleta 83?)
Substitutes Not Used: 1.Ali Akbal, 5.Milan Zoric
Yellow Cards: Shane Webb 17?, Michael Brown 57?, Jamie McMaster 72?
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings:
3 ? James Chronopoulos (MS)
2 ? Daniel Severino (BWE)
1 ? Shane Webb (BWE)
-By Joseph Carlucci