Bonnyrigg White Eagles have fought back to clinch their first point of the National Premier Leagues NSW 2018 season after a 1-1 draw with Marconi Stallions at Bonnyrigg Sports Club on Sunday night.
A Jewook Woo strike on the cusp of halftime, his second of the season, ensured Brian Brown’s side avoided a second straight defeat after Marko Jesic gave Marconi the lead from the penalty spot only six minutes into the match.
Unlike their first round victory, Marconi’s early advantage wasn’t enough to make it two wins from as many games as Bonnyrigg found their form in the later stages of the clash.
Bonnyrigg will be disappointed to have not found a winner after a dominant second 45 minutes but late heroics from Marconi’s shot stopper Nenad Vekic kept the scoreline locked at the final whistle.
Marconi started the brighter forcing David Bradasevic into two saves in quick succession, the first tipped over from Judah Cleur followed by Mateo Poljak firing through a mass of bodies from the resultant corner.
It went from bad to worse when the visitors were awarded a penalty that Jesic duly despatched straight down the middle with just six minutes of play.
Bonnyrigg cast aside the early set-back and slowly started to gain inroads into the Stallions defence but it held firm in denying the home side.
A free-kick, awarded just prior to the drinks break, had Bradasevic down sharply at his right-hand post when Poljak laid the ball off to Jesic to strike sweetly and with some venom.
Jewook Woo was sent away in the 26th minute down the left before cutting in and unleashing a shot the Stallions ‘keeper, Vekic, did well to palm away.
Jesic had a shot deflected away for a corner after a slick piece of interplay with Cleur.
In truth, Marconi were the better side in the first period, but it wasn’t enough to stop the White Eagles from finding an equaliser right on the stroke of half-time.
Woo found the net from another corner leaving the sides going into the break all square.
It was a different tale in the second-half when Bonnyrigg finally found their feet and pressed hard to gain the lead but for a catalogue of squandered chances and the fine form of Vekic keeping them at bay.
Woo, who had been involved in almost all of the White Eagles’ better play, curled a shot tantalisingly around the post in the 54th minute.
Marconi countered with a free-kick that Jesic did well to curl around the wall only for Bradasevic to be in the right place once more.
The move of the match belonged to the home side. In the 59th minute Woo stole the ball from Chris Nunes inside the Marconi penalty area and squared a pass for Tynan Diaz, who should have struck it first time.
He dithered before laying it off to the on rushing Asmir Kadric whose wayward effort was way wide of the mark an yet another opportunity eluded Bonnyrigg.
The visitors dug in and held out a fast finishing White Eagles in energy sapping heat and created a few half-chances on the break before a minor flurry of substitutions which also saw Woo switch from the left to right flank.
The final action of the game came in the 88th minute when a Diaz free-kick found Sam Galloway inside the box, but under heavy pressure from Vekic saw the ball limp over the crossbar and out.
Bonnyrigg coach Brian Brown rued his side’s slow start
“We started really slow and couldn’t get possession and then when we did we gave the ball away,” he said.
“We went compact and in the second-half we had enough chances to win a couple of games.
“The ‘keeper played really well but we also had two or three open goals. I’m pleased with the second 45-minutes performance.
Marconi gaffer Peter Tsekenis said his side were their ‘own worst enemy’.
“We gave away too many free-kicks in vulnerable areas and we didn’t deal with dead ball situations as well as I would have liked,” he said.
“In general play I felt we always looked dangerous and we know they (Bonnyrigg) are a good side and you cannot dominate an entire game, particularly with their quality and we knew they were going to come back at us.
“We should have shut the game out in the first-half, especially in this weather which was always going to play a factor in the outcome but in the end we dug in.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Jewook Woo 45+3’)
Marconi Stallions 1 (Marko Jesic 6’)
Bonnyrigg Sports Club, Bonnyrigg Heights
Sunday, 17th March 2018
Referee: Michael Weiner
Asst. Refs: Janush Adabjou & Nathan McCorist
Fourth Official: Michael Bailey
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 21.David Bradesevic, 2.Arron Avery (12.Dean Bereveskos 75’), 3.David Vrankovic (8.Jacob Ott 75’), 5.Adam Jenner, 6.Nikola Zonjic, 7.Tynan Diaz,11.11.Asmir Kadric, 15.Ray Miller, 16.Sam Galloway, 18.Mun-Soo Gil, 22.Jewook Woo
Subs not used: 1.James Chronopoulos, 13.James McKenzie, 20.Ben Tosi
Yellow Cards: n/a
Red Cards: n/a
Marconi Stallions: 1.Nenad Vekic, 4.Troy Danaskos, 5.Michael Beauchamp, 6.Sean O’Connell, 10.Marko Jesic, 11.Judah Cleur (25.Emanuel Ponce 69), 14.Peter Pelenkanos, 15.Mateo Poljak, 18.Peter Triantis, 22.Brandon Vella, 23.Christopher Nunes,
Subs not used: 2.Braden Cheng, 9.Shane Webb, 16.Marty Lo, 21.Kristian Sekutkoski
Yellow Cards: Troy Danaskos 9, Juda Cleur 52’, Peter Triantis 90+1
Red Cards: n/a
3 – Bradasevic (BWE)
2 – Vekic (MS)
1 – Woo (BWE)
-By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Micky Brock