West Adelaide's Cooper O'Donnell celebrates sealing the three points for his side against Adelaide Olympic (Image: Adam Butler/80Kms.)

Two teams tipped to fight against the drop record important wins, while two heavy hitters fail to impress under the Monday night lights. All that an more in the second round of NPL SA 2023

Home Sweet Home

Croydon FC 5-2 Sturt Lions

After spending the last few seasons training at Ethleton and playing at Birkalla, Croydon regained a home base in 2023 with the hosts taking on Sturt in the first NPL SA match at the new venue. Fittingly it was club legend Łukasz Klimek that opened the scoring at the new ground with an impressive header from an Adam Martinello set piece to give his side the lead heading into halftime.

A conservative affair exploded in the second half, with the goal of the day being scored by Croydon’s Japanese import Meiya Hisamoto before Andre Carle’s effort was adjudged to have crossed the line by the referee to make it three for the hosts. The next 15 minutes incredibly saw the two sides trade goals, with Hisamoto and Niyonkuru putting the game beyond doubt for Croydon, while Gonzalo Rodrigues recorded two consolation goals for Sturt.

After a disappointing loss to Adelaide Olympic in Round One, Croydon has baptised its new home with a commanding victory and an uncommon scoreline for it in recent times. After being hard to score against, while also finding it hard to score themselves in 2022, Travis Dodd’s side has been leaking goals while also scoring freely on the other end in the first two rounds of the new season.

Game Of Substitutions

West Adelaide 2-0 Adelaide Olympic

West Adelaide hosted its first game back at the NPL level, and it was one that lacked action until late. A largely uneventful first half was not helped by the fact that Adelaide Olympic talisman Christos Pounendis, who scored twice in Round One, was substituted due to injury only 15 minutes into the encounter.

The second half began in a similar way, but the substitutions Hellas coach Jim Tsekinis made early in the half proved to be decisive. With 15 minutes to go, a careless Alex Karnas giveaway set up a West Adelaide counterattack that second-half introduction, Harry Thomas tap into an empty net after an intelligent dummy from fellow substitute Cooper O’Donnell.

As the game drew to its conclusion and Olympic gambled for a goal, a deflected Hellas shot fell to O’Donnell who turned scorer to earn the home side the three points on the day. Jim Tsekinis will not only be delighted with his side’s first win but also with the fact that he is already seeing game-turning contributions from his bench, a must for a side that will be required to fight hard for all its points.

Missing Key Players

Adelaide Comets 2-0 Adelaide United Youth

With Bernardo and Johnny Yull (international duty), along with Luka Jovanovic, and Luke Duzel (A Leagues call-up) missing from their Round One starting XI, the Young Reds entered their game against an Adelaide Comets side featuring an array of its former young stars with a distinct disadvantage. Despite that fact, Adelaide United’s Youth team fought admirably in the first half and arguably looked the better side in the first half, with only the crossbar denying them the opening goal.

That was quickly forgotten when a chain of defensive calamities opened the door for former Young Red Binyam Kebede to open the scoring for the Comets with a chaotic tap-in. From that point onwards, George Tsonis’ side looked comfortably the better side, and substitute Nikolas Ikonomopoulos ensured that fact was reflected on the scoreboard with a well-taken goal doubling his side’s advantage.

The Comets will be relieved to earn three points after a flat start to the season in Round One, but the Young Reds are beginning to show signs of maturity. Despite being left disappointed, the circumstances surrounding this fixture could have spelled a blowout in previews seasons; for a good part of the game, the Young Reds produced a respectable, if not at times unlucky, performance.

More Football News

Mori Haunts Metro

North Eastern MetroStars 1-2 FK Beograd

It was clear that this was not going to be the MetroStars day early in the proceedings. Not only did an errant Isaac Carmody clearance open the door for Donny Pollock to open the scoring for FK Beograd, but Danny Graystone’s side was also pinned back and made to look second-best for an entire half of football.

The second half looked much more even and a talented striker always finds a way to cause problems which is what James Temelkovski seems to keep doing. Metro’s striker only needed one chance early in the second half to smash a volley past a helpless Jamie Signorello to bring the game level.

Since leaving Metro for FK Beograd Josh Mori has proved a constant thorn in his old team’s side, scoring five goals against them in 2022. It was no surprise that it was the forward that once again decided this tie, scoring a header late in the game, after missing some big chances, to once again claim all three points against his former employers who must be tired of the same old, frustrating ending to this fixture.

Monday Night Drama

Modbury Jets 2-2 Campbelltown City

Modbury welcomed Campbelltown on Monday night and the visitors began with a bang, Marc Marino converting a strong start to a lead by placing the ball into the top corner in the early minutes of the match. The Red Devils dominated the first half with the Jets only piecing some good play together late in the first half before carrying that momentum into the second half.

Despite the home side’s positive start to the second stanza, forward Cooper Wegener fouled Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio in his defensive box which allowed Sergio Melta Medalist Alex Mullen to put his side two goals to the good from the spot. Things seemed to go from bad to worse for the Jets after captain Jesse Francesca got sent off for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

The red card seemed to breathe life into Modbury who soon after the dismissal pinned back the visitors in search of what they thought may be a consolation. The home crowd’s expectations were not just met but exceeded and the elation was palpable when Brandon Centofanti and Rocco Caruso stole a point with a goal each in the dying moments of the game to top off an exciting Monday night match.

Unplayable Jonathon Rideout

South Adelaide Panthers 3-1 Adelaide City

Round One could not have treated South Adelaide and Adelaide City any differently. While the Panthers got rocked to the tune of a 6-2 scoreline at the hands of Adelaide United Youth, the back-to-back Champions handed out their own four goal thrashing to old rivals West Adelaide.

Most would have tipped City to claim the points on Monday night, but Jonathon Rideout had different ideas. The forward burned off City captain Matt Halliday early in the match to open the scoring, before putting the ball on a silver platter for Phil Cash to make it two.

The wounded Champions dominated the second period and cut down the lead through a superb Nicholas Bucco free kick. But as the game drew to an end, a super Jonathon Rideout counterattacking run saw the forward tap the ball in an empty net to condemn the Champions to an early defeat in Season 2023.

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