A battle between two Western Sydney powerhouses did not disappoint when the Western Sydney Wanderers took on Marconi Stallions in the PS4 NPL2 at Popondetta Park.While never having played each other before, it was a match steeped in history as the four-time national champions, Marconi, drew 1-1 with the 2014 Asian Champions, Wanderers.
With both teams in the top four it was a match that every player was desperate to win and that was evident from the opening whistle with tough tackles, desperate defending and a very vocal crowd riding every challenge.
Marconi started the stronger of the teams and had the best of the opportunities including a double chance with Jonathan Aspropotamitis having to clear off the line as Marconi followed up a rebound from Matthew Symes’ save.
The next two chances also went the way of the former National Soccer League heavyweight but both were off target before the Wanderers’ first real shot at goal was put high by Lachlan Scott.
While Marconi started strongest, the Wanderers forced their way back into the game and were the dominant team heading into the break until a lapse of concentration undid their hard work with Sam Perre giving the Stallions a 1-0 lead in the 44th minute.
If the first half was a battle of attrition, the second half was Marconi doing their absolute best to hold on, sitting deeper and deeper as the match went on, leaving ten men behind the ball.
The Wanderers struggled to breakdown the compact defensive lines of the Stallions but gradually began to make inroads as chances started to flow the Red & Black’s way.
Youngster Ramy Najjarine, winger Tariq Maia and fan favourite Mario Shabow all had opportunities on goal but it took Lachlan Scott to break the deadlock.
Following a number of shots, saves and deflections in the box, Scott drove one towards goal and it hit the back of the net via a deflection from Marconi’s Bright Appiah to be recorded as an own goal.
Kyle Cimenti and Scott both had chances in the final ten minutes but no-one could break the deadlock.
Up next for Wanderers is their namesake, Mounties Wanderers, at Blacktown Football Park on Saturday 21 May. First grade kicks-off at 7pm.
Western Sydney Wanderers: 1 (Own Goal 78’)
Marconi Stallions: 1 (Sam Perre 55’)
Western Sydney Wanderers: Matthew Symes (GK), Lachlan Roberts, Daniel Alessi, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Shayne D'Cunha, Keanu Baccus, Mario Shabow, Cameron Devlin (Kyle Cimenti), Tariq Maia, Ramy Najjarine (Jordan Morfitis), Lachlan Scott
Unused subs: Nick Suman, Malcolm Ward, Joshua Gaspari
U20s WSW 1-2 Marconi
U18: WSW 5-1 Marconi
U16: Marconi 2-0 WSW
U15: Marconi 0-2 WSW
U14: Marconi 3-0 WSW
U13: Marconi 2-1 WSW