MANLY AND MARCONI BATTLE FOR POINT
By Football NSW
Manly United and Marconi Stallions were forced to settle for a share of the spoils after playing out a toughly-fought 1-1 draw at Cromer Park on Friday night.
After both sides struck the woodwork in the opening 45 minutes they found a goal each in the second half, with experienced NPL campaigner Richie Cardozo opening the scoring on the hour mark before the clinical Marko Jesic drew his side level ten minutes later.
In a game that offered the opportunity for both sides to achieve a long-awaited return to winning ways, it was Marconi who started the brighter.
Peter Tsekenis’ side held the majority of possession early and their first opportunity arrived on 20 minutes as Mitch Mallia nodded an effort narrowly wide.
After the half hour, Manly began to turn the tides and if it were not for a stunning stop from Nenad Vekic to deny a powerful Jack Fulton header, they would have taken the lead.
Four minutes the home side came even closer as Dejan Pandurevic shot was palmed straight into the path of Cardozo, who inconceivably struck the underside of the crossbar from close range.
Fresh off the let-off the Stallions pranced up the other end and struck the woodwork themselves.
Marko Jesic’s well-struck free kick cannoned off the post and only after the rebounded crashed off the crossbar, Manly eventually cleared the ball to safety.
Eighteen minutes into the second half, Cardozo went from villain to hero as he found Manly their elusive opener.
The veteran maestro found himself on the end of a slick team move and calmly chipped the ball over Vekic into the back of the net. It was Cardozo at his very best as he notched up his second for the 2021 season.
But hosts weren’t in the lead for long as 12 minutes later, the hard working Connor Evans delivered a pinpoint set piece for the Stallions’ skipper to head home the leveller.
The equaliser was from a familiar suspect, with Jesic bagging his sixth goal this season.
Both sides emptied their bench in search of an elusive equaliser, but despite late chances at either end, the match would end all square.
Post-game, Marconi boss Peter Tsekenis was left understandably frustrated after Marconi’s seventh draw in 11 games.
“I thought we totally dominated the first 30 minutes of the game, I haven’t seen that kind of domination in a while,” he said.
“But we didn’t get anything out of it and then we fell asleep and conceded the goal. But the boys dug deep and we found the equaliser, but I’m a bit disappointed that we couldn’t get in front and go on with it.
“There’s a lot of frustration at the moment with things not falling our way, but I thought the performance was very reasonable.”
Adam Griffiths provided a similar reaction to the result.
“I felt we kept good possession in the first half and had some good moments,” he said.
“We didn’t get the goals we deserved, and then a lapse in concentration let them back in.
“I thought we dominated a lot of the second half but were vulnerable at set pieces.
“I’d prefer to win but at the same time we played some good football.”
Manly United FC: 1 (Cardozo 58’)
Marconi Stallions: 1 (Jesic 70’)
Friday, 7 May 2021
Cromer Park, Dee Why
Referee: Craig Fisher
Assistant Referees: H. Fenton-White and A. Filacouridis
Fourth official: A. Morris
Manly United FC: 19. Sam Benton, 2. Kieren Paull, 15. Jesse Piriz, 4. Jimmy Oates, 16. Seiya Kambayashi, 24. Finn Ashton (5. Sam Gallagher 83’), 3. James Georgaklis, 7. Jack Fulton (13. Scott Balderson 86’), 12. Luca Kmet (31. Ben Gibson 75’), 10. Richie Cardozo, 14. Dejan Pandurevic
Substitutes not used: 1. Jacob Madden, 20. Alen Aganovic, 18. Lucas Rainbird
Yellow cards: Ashton 81’, Cardozo 90’
Red cards: Nil
Marconi Stallions: 1. Nenad Vekic, 2. Nathan Millgate, 3. Giorgio Speranza, 4. Roberto Speranza, , 8. Connor Evans, 10. Marko Jesic (7. Christopher Hatfield 74’), 11. Mitchell Mallia (21. Emmanuel Peters 64’), 14. Anthony Frangie, 16.Liam Youlley, 19. Zach Cairncross, 23. Brandon Vella (17. Martin Fernandez 64’)
Substitutes not used: 5. Mason Ingram, 20. Dion Shaw, 6. Mark Rodic
Yellow cards: Nil