Adelaide City Captain Matthew Halliday competing for a ball with Campbelltown City's Josh Barresi (Image: Ken Carter)

NPL SA Round 12 saw the Champions further stamp their authority on the competition while the Lions unveiled their new home against the Young Reds.

NPL SA Round 12 saw the Champions further stamp their authority on the competition while the Lions unveiled their new home against the Young Reds.

Adelaide City Force

Campbelltown City 0-2 Adelaide City

It is a moniker that has been retired for a long time, but Paul Pezos’ Adelaide City are certainly a force to be reckoned with. Despite losing to the Champions in the first game of the season, Campbelltown came into Round 12 undefeated since February but met their match, with Adelaide City not having lost at a league match in 2022.

The hosts showed that they were not going to rollover for their star studded visitors and went toe-to-toe with them in an absorbing but goalless first half. As Adelaide City kept applying pressure, mistakes started to creep into Campbelltown’s game, none more costly than a Shaun Harvey handball in the box, with the resulting penalty coolly converted by Aladin Irabona who is becoming a specialist from 12 yards.

An Adelaide City lead meant the Red Devils needed a goal, and without talisman Alex Mullen on the pitch to pick up the ball and direct traffic in the midfield they slowly unraveled. The hosts cheaply gave away the ball countless times as Adelaide City suffocated them with the relentless press that is a trademark of Paul Pezos coached teams. The game was iced when Kur Kur picked up a gorgeous Ayom Majok through ball and converted past Alex Woodlands with eight minutes to go.

Back To Winning

Croydon FC 3-0 Cumberland United

Croydon and Cumberland entered Round 12 five points adrift from each other, a sizeable gap, but the form guide said a different story. Despite finding themselves in the finals mix, Croydon entered the match without a league win since the beginning of April, meanwhile Cumberland had started showing sings of life and a scoring prowess in recent weeks.

Croydon saw off a strong Cumberland first half to turn the game on its head after the break, a low and slow Patrick Caraccia ball somehow ended up at Seb Goode’s feet who; he made no mistake and opened the scoring. Goode turned provider six minutes later, leading a counterattack with his lighting speed and laying off Dion Kirk who doubled his side’s lead with a confident, well-placed finish.

Caraccia made it three to seal the game and ensure that his side returned to the winner’s list and the finals chase. Meanwhile, the Foxes would be frustrated that they could not pile on to Croydon’s trouble in their hunt for desperately needed points to avoid the drop.

Five Goal Half

Adelaide Comets 4-1 West Torrens Birkalla

West Torrens Birkalla were welcomed back to the NPL SA in Round 1 by the Comets who crashed the home coming by scoring five goals against the new boys. Birkalla was desperate to ensure that its visit to the State Center did not produce a similar result.

Despite a first half that saw both sides produce chances, the match was scoreless after the first 45 minutes. The second half compensated for all that the first promised but did not deliver and it all started in the first minutes of action, with Augustus Williams finishing up a tidy team move to open the scoring.

Nathan Andijanto scored a header from a corner and Tom Briscoe converted unconventionally in the air to give the Comets a three goal lead. Ethan Stevenson stopped the bleeding momentarily with an unstoppable volley but Comets skipper Allan Welsh gave his side the final say in injury time with a confident penalty.

Both sides will go their separate ways, fighting their own uphill battles in contrasting ends of the table, with the Comets chasing Adelaide City to the Premiership and Birks hoping to beat the drop.

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Tame Lions’ Homecoming

Sturt Lions 1-1 Adelaide United Youth

Round 12 saw the Sturt Lions host the Young Reds in their new, picturesque home, Karinya Reserve, in Eden Hills. The matchup saw the two sides compete for three important points that could make the difference between playing finals and relegation in the pointy end of the season.

The Young Reds came to play, with Ethan Alagich running the show early, but the Lions were the team that did the scoring, opening their account at their new home ground with Jacob Atkinson’s sweeping finish doing justice to a lightning quick Sturt counterattack 12 minutes into the encounter. The visitors remained focus but could not convert, with Asad Kasumovic being left red-faced after being denied on the goal line by Michael Marrone soon after rounding the ‘keeper.

The young striker was the most relieved person in the ground when a Panashe Madanha cross was tapped in by fox in the box Luka Jovanovic that clawed the visitors level. The Lions were left frustrated having to share the points at their first game at home, but the Young Reds will be happy to snatch a point from their stingy hosts.

Coaches Finally Settle

South Adelaide Panthers 1-1 FK Beograd

South Adelaide were rocked by the resignation of coach Andrew Calderbank just days before kick off, with Anthony Rideout taking over for the remainder of the season. On the other bench, Beograd rediscovered stability this week, with Damian Mori’s interim stint as Adelaide United assistant coach ending with the Red’s A League Men season and the coach being able to fully focus on his NPL SA duties.

The visitors started the brightest and after a commanding opening 10 minutes, found the back of he net after Ninko Beric fooled the Panthers’ backline into thinking he was lining up a shot, instead laying off Stanisa Velinov whose tidy finish opened his account for the season and Beograd’s for the day.

The goal sprang South Adelaide into action and Jonathon Rideout exploited a gap between Beograd defenders Cooper Nunn and Filimon Asefa to get one on one with the ‘keeper to bring his side level. The sides split the points on their chase for finals football, but it was not without contention, with Cooper Nunn clearing the ball of the line to keep the scores level but with claims the ball had crossed the line!

FK Beograd defender Cooper Nunn clearing the ball off the line while South Adelaide players claim the ball had crossed the line (Image: South Adelaide Panthers)

Justin Davis Day

North Eastern MetroStars 2-0 Adelaide Olympic

Both Metro and Olympic were keen to get back to winning ways, with Justin Davis celebrating his 300th game being a sideshow to an encounter that could have serious ramifications in the finals and relegation race. Little did the spectators know that the sideshow was about to become the main event at TK Shutter Reserve!

Davis, a player who is not used to finding himself on the scoresheet, did exactly that 35 minutes into the encounter with an outrageous finish to open the scoring, celebrating his goal in style with the crowd.

With Olympic unable to cause the hosts any major troubles, Davis only went and popped in the the opposition box again! This time nodding in a free kick that was not adequately dealt with by Olympic.

Metro returned to the winner’s list while celebrating Davis’ big day, meanwhile Olympic is counting its lucky stars that both Cumberland and Birkalla lost their games as it is now within touching distance with the relegation zone, with every slip up now becoming crucial.

Match to Watch in Round 13

Two of the NPL SA’s traditional big hitters have been revitalised in Season 2022 and they take on each other in Round 13 when the North Eastern MetroStars host Campbelltown City.

Both Clubs find themselves firmly in the hunt for finals, with the visitors only one point ahead in the standings. With Marc Marino and Ren Nagamatsu spearheading their team’s lines, even if opportunities are at a premium, it would be no surprise if the game was high scoring.

If their previous encounter this campaign, a 3-2 thriller that went the way of the MetroStars, is anything to go by, expect goals, drama and storylines that will be talked about for the rest of the season!

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