Stallions back from the brink

MARCONI proved their resilience against Blacktown City FC at Marconi Stadium on Saturday.

They also proved they're the right team to challenge Bonnyrigg White Eagles for the big one — Football NSW's premier league title at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre next Monday.

The Stallions showed that resilience when they twice came from behind to beat Blacktown City 4-2 in the preliminary final.

Marconi only made the win certain five minutes into extra time, after Blacktown's Zac Cairncross was dismissed a minute earlier after receiving a second yellow card.

First-half goals to Yuchi Yamauchi and Travis Major twice gave Blacktown that lead either side of Nahuel Arrarte's equalising spot kick, after Cairncross was adjudged to have fouled Jamie McMaster in the box.

McMaster levelled the scores soon after the restart, before a 35-yard screamer from Shane Webb was followed by that injury-time goal to Joey Gibbs.

And so the rematch everyone anticipated has come to pass, following Bonnyrigg's 1-0 win through a penalty goal in the major semi-final.

. . Marconi, the team with the on-paper strength that led many to tip them at the start of the season, against Bonnyrigg, the team few tipped at the start but who won the minor premiership by 15 points.

Said coach Luke Casserly of Saturday: "You come into these games and when it comes down to one game on one day, you know anything can happen. In the last two months we played really good football.

"We tightened things up a little bit at the back and our back four was much better in the second half, as we didn't let them hold up the ball and bring people into play.

"When we were dominating with that kind of possession in their half we know we're going to get chances, it's just a case of if we take them."

Blacktown City FC coach Mark Crittenden said "we're shattered, just gutted," but was also magnanimous.

"They pressured us and thoroughly deserved their win to be fair," he said.

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