Newcastle v Stallions

Round 16 report by Mick Kmet
Newcastle United v Marconi-Fairfield

Newcastle United's impotency in front of goal was again their undoing as they crashed to their second 1-0 home defeat in a row.

The lack of a prolific goal scorer is costing Newcastle dearly this season as otherwise enterprising play in all other areas of the park is going without reward. The well organised Marconi outfit would be happy with the result as they drew level with Newcastle on points as they look towards a top six finish.

Marconi nearly capitalised as early as the 4th minute. A defensive error by United stopper Craig Deans saw Alex Brosque with the ball in front of goal. Brosque's shot forced Tom Willis to dive low and save the tricky shot.

After this early threat on goal play stifled in the middle of the park. There were no pickings for the opposing strikers as both teams had highly organised and strong defences.

Marconi finally broke through in the 29th minute. Brosque, who had been a threatening figure up to now, evaded two Newcastle defenders and sent a clever ball across goal. Brad Maloney was on hand for an easy tap in.

Marconi went close to going two up in the 39th minute. A low Nick Carle free kick was blasted across goal but the visitors could not get their second tap in.

A minute later Brosque was causing problems again with an unmarked header that had Willis at his best tipping over the bar. The opportunity came after a pinpoint cross from Angelo Costanzo.

Willis was tipping over the bar again a minute later after this when Grant Lasi sent a speculative cross that dipped towards goal. A minute after this a Luke Casserly free kick from just outside the box went dangerously close.

Newcastle appeared to have a certain penalty just before the break when Michael Thwaite viciously hacked Ryan Griffiths in the box. Inexplicably referee Brett Hugo gave Griffiths a yellow card for diving.

The action was coming thick and fast before half time with Brosque blasting a tight-angled shot into the side netting. If Brosque would have played across goal he would have found an unmarked Spiteri with only the keeper to beat.

The second half started as the first. Both defences were keeping some enterprising midfield play from developing any further.

The game was petering into a non-event until a melee in the 73rd minute sparked the match. What started as a tussle between Deans and Brosque turned into a 22-man push and shove affair. After referee Hugo restored order Deans was carded for his instigation.

Five minutes later the all-in melee was on again when Scott Thomas crudely tackled Lasi. Again the instigator was carded although Peter Tsekenis can consider himself lucky to stay on the park after man-handling Hugo.

Newcastle coach Ian Crook basically echoed his words at the press conference two weeks ago in saying, "We don't win because we score goals".

Crook believed that the match was lost in the first half in a performance that has been their worst all year.