Zoran Matic's Force flew into Sydney today a little out of match fitness due to last week's cancellation of their match against Carlton but were able to contain Marconi's overall dominance in attack and grind out a win like the City teams of old.
Marconi with several key players out through injury made one change from the starting team that held Spirit last week, Pan Kuen Kim coming in with a reshuffle for the injured Brendan Renaud.
In warm conditions and with the late sun low in the sky both teams started with one- on-one battles across the park but Marconi sought first blood without much penetration.
In the 13th min however a ball across from Christian Care on the left eventually found Kris Trajanovski in the area but in facing an advancing Adrian Cagalj in goal he tried to bend his shot around the keeper, only to see Cagalj palm it away.
Adelaide struck back almost immediately with an Ante Kovacevic cross finding Pelosi in the area but his weak header gave Marconi's David Aceski no trouble.
Adelaide pushed up but a great move between Pelosi and Vidmar led nowhere and the next real chance fell to Marconi. The hard working Simon Bell received a clearance about 25m out but slammed it straight into a Marconi defender.
For the rest of the half the play flowed up and down the midfield with only vague chances to Hassell and Last raising the crowd from its slumber.
As the 2nd half started Marconi coach Eddie Krncevic saw that the dominance was not converting into chances and brought on the out of favour Chad Gibson for Grant Last. This lifted the home supporters a little.
Marconi lifted with Trajanovski receiving a great flick from Care only to be found offside, plus had a free header only to lob it into the keeper's arms. Afkos who had been well held before made a run into the box but Cagalj saved his shot. Chad Gibson hit a nice free kick to Care whose header went on to Royce Brownlie and he headed over.
Bell also hit one wide from distance and after absorbing the pressure Adelaide counter attacked through Hassell who lost his marker twice in a few minutes. About the 58th min the first time he scythed through the Marconi defence only to see his final pass intercepted but the second time one minute later he battled hard to get the ball free in the area and his cross to the left found Pelosi at the far post for an easy goal.
Marconi was unable to respond even though Costanzo hit one wide from distance and McDonald hit one straight to the keeper. Adelaide's substitute Nathan Day at the other end received from Hassell turned inside however was unsuccessful with his strike.
After the 80th min the game opened up as legs tired and markers dropped off however the standard remained ordinary, only broken by Pelosi's 2nd goal in the 82nd min off a great cross by Lugati.
After the game both coaches were honest about the level of intensity and standard. Matic was pleased to get the 3 points but proffered the view that his players 'never got out of 1st gear'. One would have expected Adelaide's young brigade to run amok in the later stages but they sat back. Marconi's gearing may have been higher but they had nothing to show for it at the final whistle.
Is it just my hard heart or is the NSL dropping in quality as we approach Christmas. One could say that those who didn't join the very poor crowd, if one can call it that, of 2,891 were better off. That would do an injustice however to Claudio Pelosi who executed the Stallions with two second half goals. Perhaps the larger numbers in the palatial club next door saw the goals on TV.