Alex Mullen closely followed by Ryan White as Adelaide United Youth claimed victory against Campbelltown. (Image: Ken Carter)

ANZAC Day saw a top-of-the-table clash, the Southern sides falter, and FK Beograd record a famous victory over the Champions.

Shocked into response

Croydon FC 3-1 South Adelaide Panthers

After dropping into the relegation zone on the weekend, Croydon had to produce a performance at home against an out-of-form South Adelaide side that is also fighting battles in the lower part of the table.

Any nerves the home fans had were settled by Patrick Caraccia who poked the opener home 11 minutes into the game after a rebound fell kindly to him in the box.

Despite losing Adam Martinello early, Travis Dodd’s side continued its strong start, Luis Benedetti forcing the ball home during a goalmouth scramble. Croydon pushed to put the game to bed well into the second half, and it was rewarded with a piece of good fortune when Lewis Moss spilled Patrick Caraccia’s shot, allowing the hosts to add a third goal on the board through Meiya Hisamoto.

The Panthers pushed hard for a way back into the game but were denied until Jonathon Rideout’s individual brilliance helped his side claw back a consolation goal. Two days in the relegation zone were enough for Croydon, who, with this result, pushed the Panthers into the dreaded bottom two spots.

Death, taxes, Temelkovski

North Eastern MetroStars 4-0 Adelaide Olympic

MetroStars marksman James Temelkovski entered his side’s clash against Adelaide Olympic not having scored in his last three outings. This mini-goal drought was never going to last long, but the striker’s centreback teammate Christian D’Angelo was the one that opened the scoring by heading home a Hamish Gow cross.

Temelkovski was not far behind, scoring from point-blank range 10 minutes later to break his dry run, before getting Olympic defender Kristi Vangjeli sent off for a last-man challenge in the 43rd minute, which opened the door for the striker to riffle in the free kick to record his second goal. The hattrick was not far behind, and it came through another tap in the second minute of injury time.

The hosts had no trouble containing Olympic scoreless in the second half but left the game with their own headache. MetroStars midfielder Hamish Gow was sent off for a dangerous tackle, rendering him unavailable for his side’s visit to Sturt in Round 10.

Chikwuba repays trust

Modbury Jets 3-0 Sturt Lions

Having not won a game since the start of March and finding itself in a relegation battle, Sturt travelled to Smith Partners Stadium desperate for a result against the Modbury Jets.

After stumbling against Adelaide Olympic on the weekend, the Jets were always going to come out firing and that was evident through Hamish McCabe whose persistence saw him slice through a pack of Sturt players before curling the opener into the bottom corner.

After making his senior Modbury debut off the bench against Adelaide Olympic and recording a late goal, Luka Chikwuba was rewarded with a start, and he paid off the trust shown in him by doubling his side’s lead in the 32nd minute by tapping in a Hamish McCabe cross. With one of the final plays of the half, Chikwuba got the best of former Adelaide United defender Michael Marrone to send his side three goals up at the break.

Sturt had no response, with Modbury threatening to stretch its lead at times in the second half but not succeeding. Lino Fusco’s side remains in the relegation zone and hosts the high-flying MetroStars at Karinya Reserve in Round 10.

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Hellas challenges Comets

Adelaide Comets 1-1 West Adelaide

The Adelaide Comets may not have scored against Sturt in Round Nine, but because of its opponent’s placid performance, it controlled the territory for the majority of the game.

That was not the case when West Adelaide travelled to ServiceFM Stadium to take on George Tsonis’ side. Right from the start, Hellas made it clear it was not going to sit back and accept the superior side on paper dominate.

West Adelaide looked like the most likely side to score in the first 45 minutes, and it would have if it were not for a string of superb saves from Comets’ goalkeeper Ashton Rinaldo. Despite being the underdogs on paper, Hellas opened the scoring after a Vincenzo Carbone shot got deflected past Rinaldo by his own defender Nathan Dimou for an own goal.

As the game headed towards its conclusion, Jayden LoBasso pounced on a loose ball from a corner and evened the scoring from close range in the 86th minute. The Comets had a chance to win it deep into injury time, but Hellas goalkeeper Jackson O’Donnell came up big to claim another important point for his side.

Reds remain top

Campbelltown City 1-2 Adelaide United Youth

The top-of-the-table clash between Campbelltown City and Adelaide United started eventfully in Newton. Minutes after the ANZAC Day ceremony, Campbelltown captain Alex Mullen opened the scoring for his side with his shot deflecting past Ethan Cox.

Seven minutes later, the Red Devils afforded Ethan Alagich too much space, with the Young Red’s shot finding the top corner. Disaster struck the hosts again minutes later when Yohei Matsumoto was sent off for kicking out after a challenge from Musa Toure.

10 minutes later, a goalkeeping error allowed Luke Duzel to score for a second week straight to put the Young Reds ahead going into the second half. Despite having the extra man, Adelaide United sat off Campbelltown, but despite its best efforts, the home side could not find an equaliser, the Young Reds ensuring they head into Round 10 high on the league’s summit.

Beograd shows character

FK Beograd 3-1 Adelaide City

The ANZAC Day round concluded at Frank Mitchell Park, and Adelaide City’s visit to FK Beograd saw it kick off looking like a version of its 2022 self, with Jai King hitting the crossbar minutes in, and Gus William opening the scoring soon after to give the visitors an early lead.

The hosts got a chance to level the scoring, but captain Josh Mori was denied from the spot by City shot-stopper Dakota Ochsenham to send visitors to the break ahead.

Despite going behind, Beograd’s spirit could not be faulted in the first half, and Solomon Island captain Mical Lea’alafa rewarded his side only four minutes after the restart with a stunning volley to bring his side level. Just before the hour mark Christian Sotira’s smart movement in the box and finish put Beograd ahead and sent the home fans into raptures.

City looked for an equaliser, but Josh Mori embodied its team’s spirit and shook off his penalty miss by putting the game to bed with a smart finish from close range to seal the game. Beograd claimed a much-needed win, while the Champions keep fighting to rediscover their formidable form.

Match to watch in Round 10

Campbelltown City and Adelaide City finished the 2022 regular season as the top two sides. 2023 has seen the Red Devils continue that form, while Paul Pezos’ back-to-back Champions continue on the inconsistent streak which sees them ranked seventh.

The Black and White made the 2022 Grand Final at Campbelltown’s expense and memories of that two-leg affair are still fresh in Newton. Michael Matricciani’s side has the perfect opportunity to get back to winning ways by kicking its opponents while they are down, while Adelaide City continues to look for a way to arrest its slide down the table and return to winning ways when the two clash in Round 10.

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