A solo strike from Brenton Fox wasn’t enough to overcome an experienced Marconi Stallions side on Sunday afternoon at Pluim Park where the away side fired late to take three points in PS4 NPL 2 round 1.
The Mariners Academy started strong but it was Marconi who took the lead in the 5th minute when striker Mirjan Pavlovic played a pin point through ball to his winger Sean Rooney. The former Newcastle Jet made no mistake from just inside the box, slotting the ball into Adam Pearce’s bottom corner.
The Mariners looked likely to strike back four minutes later when Marconi’s provider for the first goal went from hero to zero. Pavlovic obviously handled the ball inside his own box whilst defending a free kick, giving the referee no choice but to award the Academy with a penalty. Mariners’ FNYL golden boot winner, Duncan Stewart stepped up but his shot flew over the crossbar.
The Mariners, however, hit back in the 20th minute when Stewart made up for his penalty miss, when he provided Fox with a perfect ball into the box. Fox, who still had plenty to do, beat his defender and slotted his shot into the far corner to level the scores.
Tensions were running high between former Mariner Michael Beauchamp and young gun Sean Pratt in the first half. Pratt didn’t take a backwards step on the veteran, going toe-to-toe, beating his opponent on a number of occasions.
The Mariners went so close to taking the lead in the 54th minute when a parried shot from Peter Kekeris was followed up by Shelford Dais. Dais’ shot looked destined for the back of the net, but a smart piece of keeping from Nenad Vekic kept the scores level.
Marconi then went close at the other end when Pavlovic got in behind the back four and found the net before being ruled offside.
The away team then took the lead in the 75th minute when a mishap in defence paved way for Pavlovic to finish into an empty net to put the Stallions.
Marconi sealed the deal in the 88th minute when a composed finish from Marco Jesic found the back of the net.
18s: WON 1-0 (own goal)
20s: LOST 3-1 (Lee)
The Academy will be back in action away from home next Saturday, as they face Blacktown Spartans at Blacktown International Sportspark.
Kick off times are as follows:
First Grade: 7pm