Round 13 saw games being played in inclement weather, but it did not stop the Young Reds from recording the biggest win of the season, while the champions finally cast aside their bogey team.
Can’t Be Split
FK Beograd 1-1 Adelaide Olympic
Beograd and Olympic entered Round 13 desperate to take another step towards survival, and in the hosts’ case, potentially finals. A windy, rainy afternoon at Frank Mitchell Park provided another obstacle for both sides.
After being dragged into the relegation battle in recent weeks, Olympic needed to get off to a fast start, and it did exactly that, scoring just two minutes into the match. A Tito Bontor cross expertly picked out an unmarked Michael Cittadini who made no mistake, converting with his head from close range to give the visitors the perfect start.
Beograd pushed for an equaliser all half and managed to find one deep into time added on. Two minutes into injury time, Olympic could not deal with a ball into the box, Evan Kounavelis snatched on the opportunity, cutting to his left foot and finishing past Lewis Moss.
Despite looking the more likely side to score a winner, Olympic could not convert, with the sides not able to be split and the points shared. FK Beograd now face competition in their chase for a finals appearance, meanwhile Adelaide Olympic are just one point clear of the relegation zone.
Lion Lift Late
Sturt Lions 4-2 West Torrens Birkalla
The Sturt Lions continued their streak of home games by welcoming bottom of the table West Torrens Birkalla to Karinya Reserve. With the sides entrenched in finals and relegation battles respectively, it was always going to be a hard-fought battle in the rain, but it did not always seem that way.
The Lions looked to clearly be the better side in the first half and recorded an advantage that showed just that, Alex Sortini curling a beautiful effort into the top corner to open the scoring, followed by Tyreece Conway heading home a second minutes before the break. Complacency set in in the second half and the visitors took full advantage.
67 minutes into the match Birks put on a counterattacking clinic, with the ball going from goalkeeper Nick Harpas to Ethan Stevenson in three passes, the latter finishing with composure from a tight angle. The scores were leveled when Yasmin Sudic converted a penalty just 12 minutes later but that sprung the hosts back into action.
Only two minutes later Conway was found in the back post and tapped in his brace to restore Sturt’s lead, but there was more drama to come. Birks thought they had found an equaliser at the death, only to have the goal ruled out for offside; minutes later.
Will Plush disguised a time-wasting move to the corner flag, only to burst inside and set up Zack Gomez who put the cherry on top of a dramatic, late win.
Wedding Day Massacre
Adelaide United Youth 8-0 South Adelaide Panthers
The Young Reds welcomed the Panthers to the State Centre for Football, and a contentious wedding was all the talk in the buildup of the game. South Adelaide star Jonathon Rideout was not present as his wedding fell on matchday, along with him, fellow star Alex Rideout and coach Anthony Rideout missed, and the Panther’s request to postpone the match fell on deaf ears.
The Young Reds looked to be the better side in a convincing first half, with Asad Kasumovic and Nestor Irankunda giving their side a two-goal advantage at the break and Ethan Cox producing a couple of strong saves. Matters only got worse in the second half for the visitors.
Despite holding a comfortable lead, the Young Reds had vengeance in mind after shipping six goals to South earlier in the season, and vengeance they got, recording a further six goals in the second half with Asad Kasumovic grabbing his second, Panashe Madanha recording a ten-minute hat trick, Guiseppe Bovalina, and Musa Toure also joining in on the fun. There was no consolation for the visitors, Ethan Cox comfortably saving a Jack Rudge at the death in a symbolic end to the evening.
South will be glad to regain its Rideouts next week and coach Anthony will be hoping Jonathon and Alex fire if their side is to avoid relegation. Meanwhile, after an awful start of the year, the Young Reds now have a positive goal-difference and are only a couple of points out of a finials berth, a position that would have been unheard of a couple of months ago.
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Bogey Team Downed
Adelaide City 1-0 Croydon FC
It was not pretty, but Paul Pezos and his Adelaide City charges would not care one bit. Football is a funny game and no matter how good a side is, a bogey team exists and for Adelaide City that thorn has been Croydon FC as of late.
Despite City’s domination of NPL SA under Paul Pezos the last two seasons, his side has failed to defeat Croydon in a league match, instead recording three draws. After a scoreless first half, despite black and white dominance in the torrential rain, the game was taking a familiar shape.
A well-weighted Daniel Bressan ball flipped the script. City forward Ali Mekawir got to the ball before an oncoming John Hall whose momentum shoved the striker out of the way, the referee instantly awarding a penalty.
70 minutes into the game, Aladin Irabona once again made no mistake from the spot, ensuring City did not stumble, finally casting its bogey team aside in an ugly, but effective fashion.
Mother Nature Wins
North Eastern MetroStars 2-0 Campbelltown City
Unfortunately, due to inclement weather and an unsafe spot to for filming, the MetroStars Campbelltown matchup was not filmed on NPL TV which makes recapping a challenging task.
The home team got its way after a scoreless first half, Anthony Solagna and Cam Woodfin scoring in a 2-0 win to down a depleted Campbelltown City side. The win sees Metro jump Campbelltown into the third spot on the NPL SA ladder.
Adelaide Comets 2-1 Cumberland United
A game that was smothered by the rain ended up being decided by two bits of Adelaide Comets individual brilliance recorded just a minute apart from each other. Despite looking competitive against last year’s Premiers and the conditions, it ended up being too big of a task for the Foxes.
The scoring was opened when a cross made it all the way through the box to Tom Briscoe who despite the bodies in the area and the conditions remained focused and hit as sweet volley on his right that Luke Schoen could not deal with.
Just a minute later, the Comets iced the game. Right from kick-off, Lachlan Stead was switched on and determined to pile the misery on the visitors. Stead read the play well and from full-back intercepted a ball, followed by a one-two with Nikolas Ikonomopoulos, before a spin and a deflected left-foot shot ended up in the top corner to double the Comets’ lead.
Sam Carmichael converted a dubious penalty at the half-hour mark to bring the Foxes within a single goal. The Comets were keen to hang onto their lead and managed the game well, playing to the conditions, with the game ending without any significant goalmouth action and the hosts cementing their spot in the top two after Campbelltown lost its second game in a row.
Match to Watch in Round 14
Round 14 kicks off on Friday night with Croydon FC hosting the MetroStars at Jack Smith Park. The hosts will be hoping to get back to winning ways and further entrench their spot in the top six, while Metro will have their eyes on a top-two spot if results go its way.
Despite a loss, Croydon was a handful for Adelaide City in Round 13, proving they will be no pushovers for any side they come up against. Metro were able to dispatch of fellow big hitters Campbelltown City for the second time in season 2022 proving they possess quality to trouble any opponent.
With both sides possessing dynamic attacking players and being solid at the back, Friday night should be an arm-wrestle with three valuable points that may potentially be decided by individual brilliance by either side.
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