A 10-man Marconi Stallions secured a 1-0 win over Sydney Olympic in a tense battle on Sunday evening, July 28, at Belmore Sports Ground and have kept their finals hopes alive and well.
A goal in the 77th minute from the Stallions' Mitchell Mallia was all it took for the visitors to claim the lead, despite Liam Youlley receiving a red card in the 85th minute.
The result will see Marconi now sit ahead of Olympic on the table, with a three point lead, breaking away from their deadlocked race for fifth position as they head towards finals football.
It was a hard-fought battle from the get-go at Belmore, with both teams looking to make an impact early.
Olympic's defence manged several crucial saves to keep Marconi at bay during the early stages of the game.
Olympic then had a chance in the 27th minute as a misdirected clearance from Marconi landed at the feet of an opposition player, in prime position, in front of the goal, but a stellar save by Nenad Vekic kept the game scoreless.
Marconi's Martin Fernandez created a great opportunity for the visitors in the 57th minute, slipping a ball through Olympic's defence to the penalty spot, but no one was able to get on the other end of the ball and their chance fizzled out.
Another chance for Marconi came in the 71st minute as substitute Damian Tsekenis set up Peter Pelekanos with a great opportunity just outside the area, but Olympic managed a terrific save to deny the visitors.
The only goal of the game came in the 77th minute as Marconi had a throw-in in line with the penalty spot.
A bicycle kick from Tsekenis at the edge of the 18-yard box landed with Mallia, who fired his shot out of reach of Olympics goalkeeper and into the back of the.
Even with the lead Disaster struck for Marconi when Liam Youlley was awarded a second yellow card from referee Katie Patterson, leaving the the visiting side with just 10 men in the late stages of the game.
Olympic took advantage of their extra player and mounted pressure on Marconi until the final whistle, but they weren't able to get the equaliser.
Marconi coach Peter Tsekenis said he was happy with his team's effort to get the win.
"I thought we created enough chances to take the lead early and when you don't take your chances you leave yourself open, but it was great to get the goal and get the result," he explained.
"Defensively we were strong when we needed to be... and we got the goal we needed with the subs coming on and doing their business.
"We got over the line on a big game and that says a lot.
"We're now going to look forward to our midweek Round of 32 in the FFA Cup and worry about one game at a time."
Check out some of the pictures captured from the Stallions victory over Sydney Olympic: