The Marconi Stallions played host to Rockdale Ilinden in round three of the NPL season this past Saturday, March 13, as the two sides battled their way to a thrilling 3-3 draw.
The matches opening chance fell to Marconi in the 6th minute when David Bradasevic saved a shot from just outside the box.
The Stallions took the lead in the 24th minute when they pressed forward. They brilliantly took on the opposition with a nice run before clinically driving the ball into the back of the net.
It was the first time that Rockdale Ilinden had conceded a goal this season, having kept a clean sheet in the first two rounds.
The home side couldn't believe its luck as they doubled its lead five minutes later when a delightful ball on the right found the skipper Marko Jesic in the middle and he had no trouble beating Bradasevic.
In the 32nd minute, the Stallions should have done better with a clear chance, but fortunately for the visitors, the shot was just over the crossbar.
Rockdale Ilinden hit back in the 39th minute.
Mitchell Stamatellis fed ace marksman Alec Urosevski dangerously on the left flank. He majestically turned the defenders inside out before feeding it back to Kyle Cimenti in the middle, who scored from close range.
Right on the stroke of halftime Michael Neill stole the ball and fed a galloping Urosevski who fired a rocket straight into the goal, only to see it ruled marginally offside by the assistant referee on the far side.
Early in the second half, a beautiful ball found Urosevski charging through the middle and the competition's form player Rockdale had its equaliser.
Marconi regained the lead in the 66th minute when the substitutes combined for a great goal.
Blistering speed from recruit Emmanuel Peters led to the ball finding Anthony Frangie in the box, and this time he didn't miss the target with a well-struck goal.
Rockdale struck back in sheer style in the 85th minute with Stamatellis, a goal that will be well worth replaying on the highlight reels at the season's end.
The big defender charged through the middle and let go with a thunderous drive that beat all and sundry.
In stoppage time, Peters went down in the box, but instead of Marconi receiving a penalty, he was booked for simulation by referee Michael Weiner who was perfectly positioned to judge.
Rockdale Ilinden coach Steve Zoric was happy with many aspects of his side's play but would have preferred not to have conceded any goals as they did in their first two games.
"Every time we seem to come here, it is a 3-3 draw, and it was an entertaining one," he said.
"I am a bit disappointed that we only started to get strong in the latter part of the first half.
"We gave them a head start because we were a bit sloppy, but when we changed a few things, it started to work for us. We were on top of them and equalised, but then, unfortunately, we conceded on the counter-attack."
"I am not pleased that we conceded three goals because I love my clean sheets, and it is something that we will talk about during the week.
"However, after their third goal, we then had to re-group again and I was very happy with the fightback. I am just happy for the boys because these type of games are character building."
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