Marconi Stallions and Bonnyrigg White Eagles were forced to share the spoils after playing out a hard fought 2-2 draw at Marconi Stadium on Saturday.
Bonnyrigg snatched a point from the result thanks to a clinical Shervin Adeli penalty in the 62nd minute.
It was another difficult result for Marconi who were in prime position to claim victory before conceding a second half equaliser.
Bonnyrigg captain Ray Miller gave the visitors the perfect start with a goal in the eighth minute which proved to be the only goal of the first half as the White Eagles went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
However, the home side hit back early in the second stanza as a 48th minute strike from Peter Pelekanos levelled the score before Sean Rooney put Marconi in front 2-1 ten minutes later.
But it wasn’t to be for the Stallions as a handball in the box only moments later gifted Bonnyrigg an equaliser and an all important competition point.
Bonnyrigg had the best of the early action and went ahead in the 8th minute when a free kick from outside box was beautifully hit by Miller into the back of the net.
There was really nothing anyone could do to prevent such a thunderbolt from hitting the target but unfortunately Miller was replaced shortly afterwards due to injury.
In the 10th minute Marconi tried to equalise when a corner by Marko Jesic was met by a powerful Sean Rooney header that flew just over the crossbar.
The Stallions pressed again in the 16th minute when a dangerous shot from outside the box by new signing Marc Warren went just wide of the goal.
Bonnyrigg should have done better in the 29th minute when Adeli delightfully threaded the ball to Benjamin Tosi free on the left, but his shot was straight into the waiting arms of Nenad Vekic.
In the 38th minute, after a bit of a scrap in the mixer from a corner kick, the ball fell to Rooney who lifted it only marginally over the crossbar and another Marconi chance went begging.
In the second half Marconi had the early chance in the 47th minute when a long corner found Rooney at the far post but his header was knocked away for another corner.
From the next play the Stallions scored when a Rooney ball through the middle reached Pelekanos lurking dangerously close to goal and the defender made no mistake from close range.
Momentum was with the home side in the 50th minute and it was Jesic who lined up the goal from outside the box but he fired just wide of the post.
Shortly afterwards, Marconi scored again.
A cross from the left reached Jesic once more in the middle but his header was beautifully turned away for a corner by David Bradasevic.
From Warren’s subsequent corner, a powerful Rooney header was adjudged to have crossed the line even though Mun-Soo Gil volleyed off his line but still couldn’t manage to keep the ball out.
In the 62nd minute Bonnyrigg White Eagles equalised and it was game on again.
A hand ball in the box by Chris Nunes from a ball that bobbled onto him was adjudged to be intentional and consequently the penalty spot was pointed to without hesitation.
Up stepped Adeli who made no mistake driving it low into the bottom corner of the net despite Vekic guessing the correct way.
The rest of the game became a battle of attrition with neither side having any more clear-cut chances on goal and the end result was inevitable.
After the game Marconi Stallions coach Peter Tsekenis was pleased with his side’s performance but fully aware that one point probably wasn’t enough from such an encounter.
“You just said it about two dropped points and I agree,” he said.
“I am disappointed that we didn’t win that game. We conceded an early goal from a set-piece but we asked a lot of questions in the first half and got back early in the second half when we scored our two goals.
“We maybe could have scored a few more but unfortunately then we conceded a penalty and it became anyone’s game after that. I thought that we played some really good football and that they resorted to the long ball.
“They [Bonnyrigg] were not really interested in playing but we dealt with it quite well. Overall, it was probably an important draw based on the Club Championship given that we won the 18s and 20s as well tonight, so that was important and we’ll take positives away from tonight.”
Over in the Bonnyrigg dressing room their mentor Brian Brown was cautious and described the encounter as a battle.
“Not the prettiest football game, just a battle,” he said.
“I am happy with the point given that we went 2-1 down and had to come back but I am not sure about their first goal.
“We lost Ray Miller early and James Chonopoulos our goalkeeper was called away before the game, so we were down to the bare minimum so getting a point is probably not a bad result for us in the end.”
Marconi Stallions: 2 (Pelekanos 48’, Rooney 57’)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 2 (Miller 8’, Adeli 62’ (pen)
Saturday, 2nd June 2018
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Craig Fisher
Assistant Referees: Janush Adabjou, Scott Edeling
Fourth Official: J. Casey
MARCONI STALLIONS: 1. Nenad Vekic, 2. Marc Warren (38. Yianni Nicolau 88’), 5. Michael Beauchamp, 6. Sean O’Connell, 8. Sean Rooney (11. Judah Cleur 64’), 10. Marko Jesic, 12. Andrew James 14. Peter Pelekanos, 15. Mateo Poljak, 22. Brandon Vella, 23. Christopher Nunes
Substitutes not used: 17. Theo Kofinas, 19. Eros Bergamin, 21. Kristian Sekutkoski.
Yellow Cards: Beauchamp 74’, Warren 81’
Red Cards: Nil
BONNYRIGG WHITE EAGLES: 21. David Bradasevic, 3. David Vrankovic, 10. Shervin Adeli, 12. Dean Bereveskos, 14. Brodie Smith, 15. Raymond Miller (11. Asmir Kadric 14’), 16. Samuel Gallaway, 17. James O’Rourke, 18. Mun-Soo Gil, 20. Benjamin Tosi (4. Nikola Krljar 88’), 22. Jewook Woo.
Substitutes not used: 2. Aaron Avery, 23. Amir Adilovic, 76. Max Rowston
Yellow Cards: O’Rourke 5’
Red Card: Nil
-By National Premier Leagues NSW Reporter Joe Russo