A young Sydney FC National Premier League outfield started brightly and took the lead against Marconi Stallions but were ultimately undone by their older opponents at Marconi Stadium on Sunday.
The win moves the Peter Tsekenis coached Stallions side to sixth in the competition standings, three points behind fifth placed Rockdale City Suns as they battle for a Finals Series position.
The Young Sky Blues opened the scoring after only two minutes thanks to a Jackson Bandiera who cooly finished after a Nenad Vekic save fell at his feet.
It took until just before the interval for the home side to equalise when Mateo Poljak converted from the penalty spot.
Sydney FC took it to Marconi in the first half, but it was a far different story in the second stanza.
Hassan Jollah scored a brace against his former side inside nine minutes while Marko Jesic put the icing on the cake to wrap up the 4-1 victory.
Sydney FC had the perfect start to the match with Bandiera finding himself in the right spot at the right time to give his side the lead tapping home after a save from Marconi keeper Vekic fell to him in the penalty area.
Jordan Swibel attempted to double Sydney FC’s lead in the 6th minute from a free-kick but his effort lacked power and Vekic scooped it up with ease.
The Marconi shot stopper was called into action again soon after when he produced a double save to keep Sydney FC at bay and with only eight minutes on the clock.
Marconi slowly but surely pinned the Sky Blues back as they searched for the equaliser. However, Sydney FC were making it difficult for the hosts who looked frustrated at times as they struggled to break down our young defence.
Marconi had plenty of possession but were unable to create a clear cut chance, Charles Mendy missed a golden opportunity when he failed to get a touch on a ball headed back across the box.
However in the 43rd minute Bandiera upended Sean O’Connell inside the box.
Poljak maintained his composure to restore parity from the spot sending Duro Dragicevic the wrong way.
The swirling wind didn’t help the cause and the home side struggled to come to terms with the tough conditions and were lucky to be heading the break on level pegging.
Robbie Stanton rang the changes for the Blues after the break with Giuseppe Tilio coming on for Andreas Agamemnonos, Peter Tsekenis responded by bringing on Marko Jesic to replace Brandon Vella.
Sydney FC were quick in transition from defence to attack with neat one-touch football, but often outran their support players and found it difficult to create anything of note.
Charles Mendy struck a fierce left-footed volley that arrowed its way toward the net only for Dragicevic to pull off a magnificent full-length save to deny the Stallions’ striker. With so little to do it was a fine effort from the gloveman.
But he was powerless on the hour mark when Hassan Jalloh stole into the area and slotted home from close range to give the home side the lead.
A double change from Stanton swiftly followed for Sydney, Daniel Maskin and Patrick Scibilio replacing Jordan Swibel and Cameron Devlin respectively as they now chased the match.
The changes mattered little as Jalloh added his second, and Marconi’s third of the afternoon, to give the home team a decent buffer in the remaining 20 minutes.
Marconi had their tails up and were dominating the game and secured a comfortable victory when James Andrew picked up the ball and pulled it back into the path of Jesic to slide home from the edge of the box.
Marc Warren ensured the scoreline when chasing back in the 87th minute with a last ditch tackle inside the area to deny Jeremy Cox from scoring into an empty net.
Sydney FC Coach Robbie Stanton rued what could have been after his side’s impressive first half performance.
“We got the early goal and could have had another two,” Stanton said.
“We got penned back after that and I felt we defended really well in the first-half.
“The pitch is really bumpy and the wind didn’t help today. Our players struggled with their touch and even though they were hungry to get themselves back into the game it was always going to be tough when a team like Marconi pressures you.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit in the second-half with some of the goals we conceded but there were some positive signs for us in this defeat.
“We are not going to change the way we play due to the pitch or the conditions, you’ve just to accept it and move on. At end of the day that is football.”
“It took us a while to adjust,” said Stallions’ coach Peter Tsekenis.
“Credit to Sydney FC, we gave them some space and they were hurting us, especially with the early goal and perhaps they should have added another.
“It was all about the points today to give ourselves a chance of making the finals, that was always our target at the start of the season.”
Marconi Stallions 4 (Poljak 43’p, Jalloh 60’, 69’, Jesic 80’)
Sydney FC 1 (Bandiera 2’)
Sunday 29h July, 2018 – Marconi Stadium, Fairfield
Referee: Daniel Stack
Assistants: Jack Bell & Cameron Wright
Fourth Official: Bradley Wright
Marconi Stallions: 1.Nenad Vekic, 2.Mark Warren, 3.Liam Youlley, 5.Michael Beauchamp, 6.Sean O’Connell, 9.Charles Mendy (12.James Andrew 70’), 11.Judah Cleur, 15.Mateo Poljak, 17.Theo Kofinas, 22.Brandon Vella (10.Marko Jesic 50), 38 .Yianni Nicolaou
Substitutes not used: 8.Sean Rooney, 14.Peter Pelekanos, 21.Kristian Sekutkovski
Yellow Cards: Warren 58’
Red Cards: None
Sydney FC: 30.Duro Dragicevic, 3.Patrick Flottman, 4.Liam McGing, 6.Andreas Agamemnonos (11.Giuseppe Tilio 46’), 7.Jerry Skotadis, 8.Sam McIllhatton, 10.Cameron Devlin (25.Patrick Scibilio 65’), 12.Jackson Bandiera, 13.Jordan Swibel (9.Daniel Maskin 65’), 15.Jeremy Cox, 16.William Mutch
Substitutes not used: 1.David Milishev, 26.Joel King
Yellow Cards: McGing 56’
Red Cards: None
Marconi Stallions FC 2-4 Sydney FC, 1pm at Marconi Stadium
Sydney FC surged to a huge win over Marconi Stallions at Marconi Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with Benjamin Koop and Marco Tilio adding to a Hamish Lamberton double to keep Sydney a point behind Blacktown City as the competition enters the last two weeks before finals.
With a match against Blacktown to come next week Sydney have every chance of finishing first ahead of both the current leaders and Sutherland Sharks, who they trailed by eight points back in Round 11.
Despite a terrific run of form in recent week Marconi Stallions were always relying on a perfect finish to make a late charge into the finals, and it now looks all but beyond them with matches against the Sharks and Wollongong Wolves to come in the next two weeks.