Sturdy Stallions overpower Suns at Marconi Stadium


Erick Anabalon?s 27? minute strike was enough for the Stallions to secure the three-points in a much improved performance by Marconi following their recent outing at Manly United. Despite Rockdale City?s best efforts in a positive second-half performance, Marconi ground out the result to ensure a hold of top-spot heading into Round 11.
Mitchell Mallia created the first opening of the match with a fine turn 25-metres out before stinging the palms of goalkeeper Ben McNamara who diverted the ball behind for a goal-kick.
The Stallions did find the back of the net via the boot of Jason Naidovski on 6? minutes, though the burly striker?s effort was ruled offside by the linesman following some exquisite ball movement out of midfield involving captain Matthew Gordon.
The Suns reply arrived on 13? minutes via the long-range effort by Robert Di Meglio. The Rockdale City midfielder hit his effort with power, though was denied by the fingertips of a lunging James Chronopoulos in the Stallions goal.
Despite the Stallions holding the greater share of possession in the attacking third, the Suns nearly took the lead when Marino Musumeci snuck in behind the defence only to see his effort on goal blocked by a lunging Abel El Jamal challenge.
The Stallions were dealt a huge blow when striker Jason Naidovski was forced from the field midway through the first-half following a clash with Askin Oygur. The Stallions front-man came off second best with a shoulder injury, leaving coach Lee Sterrey with no option but to replace the striker with Nathan Jagelman.
Despite the adjustment to the personnel on the park, Marconi found the opening goal on 27? minutes as Erick Anabalon calmly slotted the ball past McNamara from close-range. The Stallions passing out of midfield, starting with Arrarte and finishing with Gordon, was exceptional, as the Suns were caught out in the defensive line leaving Anabalon with only the goalkeeper to beat for the opening goal.
Stefan Donevski weaved his magic down the right-flank moments after the Stallions goal in-search of an equaliser, though some tremendous defending by Marconi youngster Giorgio Speranza nullified the striker?s forward foray.
Marconi suffered a late scare in the opening half when Chronopoulos? miscued clearance fell into the path of Musumeci, with the Marconi shot-stopper well off his line. Musumeci?s quick thinking and lobbed effort from distance though, failed to hit the target with the ball sailing over the crossbar.
Following the break Marconi nearly extended their lead when a poorly dealt with corner by the Suns defence allowed Aleksandar Canak a look-in on goal. The Stallions midfielder turned well to create the space for his effort, though McNamara in the Suns goal was equal to the task, parrying the effort before claiming the ball at the second attempt.
At the opposite end, Peter Apolevski?s pin-point cross from the right picked out the head of Musumeci in the Stallions penalty-area, though the attacking midfielder?s glancing effort failed to hit the target.
Marconi?s dominance of the ball in midfield continued to frustrate the visitors, limiting Mile Todorovski?s men to hitting the Stallions on the counter-attack. In the 65? minute, Apoloveski?s quick sprint down the right-flank to the byline opened up some space for Baturay Akin, though the Stallions retreating defence was quick to pick up the crumbs and thwart the danger.
Akin managed to free himself down the left-flank moments later, following another Suns counter-attack. The speedy midfielder this time lined-up a long-range effort of his own from the edge of the penalty-area, only just finishing wide of Chronopoulos? right-hand post.
Nathan Jagelman squandered a golden opportunity for the Stallions on 70? minutes when he was played through on goal by Gordon. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Jagelman took a heavy touch inside the penalty-area, allowing McNamara to calmly pick-up the ball for the visitors.
Marconi squandered another chance moments later when Canak failed to latch onto a loose ball in the Suns penalty-area. Canak instead played a square pass into the path of Anabalon who went down under the challenge of a Suns defender; the referee ignoring the protests of the Stallions? midfielder for a penalty.
Rockdale City responded with a shot from distance amongst a sea of legs in the Marconi penalty-area ? the final effort finished inches wide of goal.
The Suns finished the match strongly with Robert Di Meglio latching onto a corner from the right-flank, at the back post, though heading his effort wide of goal.
Suns substitute Daniel Pejovski very nearly snuck in behind the Stallions defence in the 90? minute to meet a poorly executed Adem Kir free-kick, though the attacking midfielder arrived a second too late as the ball was easy pickings for Chronopoulos.
Marconi?s Nathan Jagelman was victim again of taking an extra touch in a one-on-one situation with McNamara, and again the Suns goalkeeper was quick off his line to thwart any danger of a second Marconi goal.
Following the match, Stallions boss Lee Sterrey expressed his content for the final result:
?It was a much better performance than last week, and I am obviously happy with the win,? Sterrey commented.
?We scored a great goal, though we needed the second one to kill off the match. I am disappointed that we didn?t get the second goal, even though we did create a couple of chances in the second-half though failed to score.
?To be honest, I think that Rockdale and Mile (Todorovski) deserves a lot of credit. To come up from the Super League and perform is not easy, and they are doing it very well at the moment.
?They (Rockdale) showed to have no fear, and to come here to Marconi and push on the way they did, I thought they were good value.?
Rockdale City coach Mile Todorovski remained positive despite the defeat:
?I am proud of the boys tonight, they played with a lot of effort and I can?t ask more of them.
?It was a drop in concentration for a few seconds where we conceded the goal. Against a team like Marconi you cannot allow a loss of concentration, and tonight we conceded the goal when that happened.
?We tried to break them down, though Marconi is one of the best defensive teams and we just could not find a way through. Altogether, I am happy with the effort of the players especially in the second-half, though in the end we didn?t have enough to give them any more problems,? concluded Todorovski.
In the Grade 20 division, Marconi Stallions defeated Rockdale City Suns 3-0.
Match Stats
Marconi Stallions 1 (Erick Anabalon 27?)
Rockdale City Suns 0
Saturday, 1st May, 2010
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Ryan Shepheard
Assistant Referees: Christian Mehl and Paul Faithfull
Fourth Official: Brendan Johansen
Crowd: 600 Approx.
Marconi Stallions: 22.James Chronopoulos; 2.Brenton Rhodes, 5.Adel El Jamal, 8.Aleksandar Canak, 9.Erick Anabalon (18.Graziano Trimboli 82?), 11.Matthew Gordon (C) (17.Laurence Braude 77?), 23.Christopher Nunes, 26.Nahuel Arrarte, 16.Jason Naidovski (34.Nathan Jagelman 24?), 31.Mitchell Mallia, 42.Giorgio Speranza
Substitutes Not Used: 21.Jose Bello-Amigo, 38.Domenic Trimboli
Yellow Cards: Aleksandar Canak 76?
Red Cards: Nil 
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Ben McNamara; 2.Paul Dee, 7.Peter Apolevski (C), 8.Dominic Hudap, 12.Stefan Donevski (11.Adem Kir 58?), 13.Baturay Akin (17.George Lagoudakis 81?), 16. Steven Bozinovski, 19.Marino Musumeci (15.Daniel Pejovski 74?), 18.Robert Di Meglio, 21.Sam Awad, 23.Askin Oygur
Substitutes Not Used: 20.Andrija Petkovic, 22.Chad Taylor,
Yellow Cards: Askin Oygur 35?, Dominic Hudap 72?
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings:
3 ? Erick Anabalon (MS)
2 ? Nahuel Arrarte (MS)
1 ? Robert Di Meglio (RCS)
-By Joseph Carlucci