Jonathon Rideout celebrates oepning the scoring for his side against the Adelaide Comets (Image: Adam Butler/@8zerokms.)

The halfway point of the season was marked with two stunning strikes, a smashing win, and a red card just two minutes into a match.

Jets ground themselves

North Eastern MetroStars 5-1 Modbury Jets

The MetroStars entered Round 11 alone on the summit of the NPL SA, and only two minutes into its match against Modbury, the visitors gave the league leaders a free pass to continue their stay at the top.

With one of the first attacks of the game, James Temelkovski rounded goalkeeper Ryan Neild, before his pass found Fabian Barbiero who had his shot blocked on the goalline by Liam McCabe’s hand.

McCabe was sent off three minutes after kickoff for an action that Hamish Gow’s successful penalty conversion rendered meaningless and a hindrance to his side’s chances in the following 86 minutes.

Minutes later, Scott Nagel doubled his side’s lead, and despite Stefan Matteo grabbing a goal back in the 14th minute, the Jets were never going to find an equaliser easily.

Before the referee could blow for halftime, Temelkovski had converted a second penalty, and Michael Cittadini’s curling effort made it four for the table-topping hosts.

Nagel added his second goal 10 minutes after the restart, a low volley from outside the box, to make it five, but despite dominating for the rest of the game, Metro could not inflict any further damage to the crestfallen Jets.

Hellas keeps fighting

West Adelaide 2-2 Adelaide United Youth

West Adelaide entered Round 11 unbeaten in four games but had its work cut out for it coming up against a high-scoring Adelaide United Youth side. The Young Reds obviously saw a weakness in West Adelaide’s wide areas and feverously attacked them in the first half, with Musa Toure opening the scoring by smashing the ball home minutes after his side had a goal disallowed for offside.

Hellas was fortunate to stay within a goal heading into halftime, with goalkeeper Jackson O’Donnell pulling off an impressive save to deny Toure his second, and his striker, Joe Gatting repaid him by leveling the scoring in the 69th minute when the Young Reds were unable to clear a free kick. Minutes later, former West Adelaide player Nathan Amanatidis scored against his ex-club to restore Adelaide United’s lead.

The goal-shy hosts found a rare second goal when the Young Reds once again failed to clear their lines with Nicholas Stefanopoulos securing a spirited point against tough opposition. The Young Reds drop to third after Campbelltown’s win, while Hellas remains on the fringes of the top six in what is shaping up to be a solid first season back in the NPL.

Beograd does enough

Sturt Lions 0-1 FK Beograd

Sturt Lions and FK Beograd entered Round 11 needing to pick up three points for different reasons. The Lions find themselves at the bottom of the ladder, neither excelling in the attacking nor the defensive side of the game, while Beograd continues fighting for its spot in the top six every week.

The two sides fought hard in the first half and went into the break level, with Beograd unlucky not to open the scoring through Ninko Beric, whose shot cannoned off the crossbar. Early in the second half, it was Josh Mori who, as he does so often, opened the scoring for his side, tapping away the opener after James Klappers parried a shot in his direction.

Instead of upping the tempo after scoring, Beograd seemed to stop and that encouraged the hosts to find their bite which has been missing since last scoring a league goal on the eighth of April. The Lions toiled in search of an equaliser, but their barren run, and stay at the foot of the ladder continue into the second half of the season.

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Bucco’s unlimited range

Adelaide City 1-1 Croydon FC

Croydon visited Oakden to take on an Adelaide City side that finds itself outside the top six and desperate to begin accumulating enough points to mount a credible title defence. City’s defensive struggles continued early when Croydon forward Andre Carle was played in on goals from the halfway line, leaving the Black and White backline behind him, to confidently finish past Dakota Ochsenham for the first goal of the afternoon.

The Champions were sparked into action after conceding and found an equaliser 15 minutes later in the most spectacular fashion. City midfielder Nicholas Bucco expertly used his body to control a bouncing ball at the edge of the center circle, before proceeding to volley the ball from the halfway line over goalkeeper Gianni Tramontin to bring his side level with an effort that will be remembered for years.

The hosts entered the second half energised and gave Croydon trouble, even putting the ball in the back of the net before having Aladin Irabona’s effort rescinded for offside. Despite a rocky start to the half, Croydon finished the match looking the better side with City having to repel multiple efforts at goal. The match finished with the scores level, a result that does not favour either side in their endeavours.

Ikonomopoulos salvages point

Adelaide Comets 1-1 South Adelaide Panthers

At the halfway point of Season 2023, the Adelaide Comets can be found fighting to remain in the top six, while South Adelaide is scraping to avoid entering the bottom two. When the two sides clashed in Round 11, the first half reflected the desperation for points, with both teams fighting hard but canceling each other out to enter the break.

A Lewis Moss dropkick 12 minutes after the restart saw Jonathon Rideout take advantage on the counter to open the scoring for the visitors and blow the game open. The Panthers sat back and, while still looking dangerous on the counter, it was clear that Anthony Rideout’s side prioritised protecting its lead over potentially extending it.

It all seemed lost for the Comets as the game entered its final minutes, but halftime substitute Niko Ikonomopoulos produced a special long-range strike with one of the last rolls of the dice to rescue a point. Both sides left Service FM Stadium frustrated and in need of more complete performances in the second half of the season to secure their goals in 2023.

Clinical Campbelltown smashing

Adelaide Olympic 0-6 Campbelltown City

Jason Trimboli took charge of his first home match as Adelaide Olympic coach in Round 11, and it did not start well, with Campbelltown’s Marc Marino and Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio combining and the latter opening the scoring only six minutes into the match. Despite the abject start, Olympic matched Campbelltown for the majority of the first half and even threatened to score, but it was the Red Devils that doubled their score, with Josh Barresi’s snapshot from the edge of the box beating Callum Nissen.

The hosts began the second half positively, but Lawrie-Lattanzio and Barresi once again struck, this time four minutes away from each other, to suddenly blow the margin to four goals. With the game wrapped up, Michael Matricciani gave minutes to some of his squad players off the bench, which led to new signing Antoni Trimboli scoring his first goal for his new side.

Young Campbelltown player Santana Bartkowski also got in on the action, tapping in his first senior goal to round off a clinical display that saw the Red Devils rise to second on the ladder. Jason Trimboli has his work cut out for him, with his Olympic side struggling for confidence quality, and depth in its fight for survival.

Match to watch in Round 12

The 2023 Season kicked off with the resumption of the Adelaide Derby, but it was a day to forget for West Adelaide that, despite a positive start, got smashed by four goals at the hands of Adelaide City. The general consensus entering the season was that the two sides would be far apart on the ladder, but they enter Round 12, and their second clash of the year level on points.

Hellas enters the clash unbeaten in five games and with a chip on its shoulder, keen to get one over its old rival. The Champions, winless in the past five games, continue their struggle to find form and they would love nothing more than to do that against West Adelaide.

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