The Inner Sanctum takes a look at NPL SA Round 2, a round full of goals, upsets and storylines with its three word wrap for each match.
Ren’s a Gem
Campbelltown City 2-3 North Eastern MetroStars
Round 2 saw the two North Eastern NPL SA clubs take on each other in Newton. Metro fans would have been excited to see Japanese import Ren Nagamatsu make his first start for the club; he delivered on the hype just 3 minutes into the match.
In the game’s first purposeful attack, Nagamatsu rose high to nod a cross past Alex Woodlands to give Metro the lead. The advantage was short lived, with Campbelltown star Alex Mullen converting a penalty to even out proceedings.
It was last week’s unlikely hero, right back Jackson Walls, who had the last say in the first half, receiving the ball on a gut-busting overlap run to coolly restore the lead for the visitors.
The second half began in the same manner the first ended, and Nagamatsu made sure to convert Metro’s strong play into another goal, rising high to score his second header of the day.
Yohei Matsumoto finished off a lighting quick Campbelltown move to pull a goal back, but Metro saw off the rest of the game comfortably to continue a perfect start to the season.
Wonder Goals Galore
Adelaide Olympic 4-2 FK Beograd
Individual brilliance was the word of the day at VALO Football Center, with both Olympic and Beograd keen to bounce back after disappointing losses to start their seasons.
The action started early with Paul Radice’s audacious, 180 degree hook volley beating Lewis Moss to open the scoring for Beograd in the sixth minute.
With Olympic chasing the lead, Jason Konstandopoulos scored the best goal of the game, winning the goal back and unleashing a monstrous left footed strike that found its way in the top corner. A lapse of concentration saw Josh Mori and Radice combine before Ninko Beric put Beograd back ahead at the end of the half.
The second half continued the theme of the first, with Olympic left back Panagiotis Manidakis lashing an impressive half volley in the back of the net. Marksman Fausto Erba volleyed truly from the edge of the box only eight minutes later to put his side ahead.
Ioannis Simosis shortly gave Olympic its fourth goal to round off an impressive second half comeback on a night filled with spectacular goals and end-to-end action.
Kings Hold Ground
Croydon Kings 0-0 Adelaide City
Both Kings and City came out of Round One victorious, and entered Round Two keen to maintain their positive records. Instead, this match produced the first scoreless draw of the season and was highlighted by the lack of top quality chances.
Plenty of shots were taken in this match, but the vast majority came from outside the box. This resulted in comfortable saves for two top quality ‘keepers in Dakota Ochsenham and John Hall.
The champions chased the three points away from home and the Kings nearly gifted them to them, with Aladin Irabona catching a defender on the ball, only be thwarted by a proactive Hall in goals.
The game’s best chance was its last attack, with Charlie Devereux splitting past the Kings’ defence after being released by a one-two combination with Kur Kur. The imposing Hall and Croydon’s rushing defenders were enough to ensure City did not open the scoring at the 91st minute.
Croydon will be happy to hold the champions scoreless at home, but both sides will be hoping to return to scoring way in Round Three.
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Villain Saves Day
Cumberland United 1-1 Adelaide Comets
After a resounding five goal win against Birkalla, the Comets visited Cumberland United with the expectation that their form would continue. It was not that simple though, with Cumberland coming out firing after a disappointing loss to Croydon in Round One.
The sides went in level at half time and unfortunately for the hosts, that did not last long in the second half. The Comets won the first corner of the second half and it was Cumberland star Sam Carmichael that erroneously turned the ball into his own net.
Cumberland are well-aware that season 2022 is one that will see them fighting for their top flight status and did not fall flat after an unfortunate own goal.
A short two minutes after scoring at the wrong end, Carmichael found himself at the end of a smooth Cumberland move and with a neat near-post finish, restored the parity he had upset not long before.
Cumberland will need every point they can earn to survive the drop and would be happy to earn one against last year’s premiers.
Message Received Birks
West Torrens Birkalla 3-0 Sturt Lions
After conceding five goals in its first game back in the NPL SA, many dismissed Birkalla’s top flight credentials. On the same day, Sturt solidified its reputation as a well organised, high quality side by putting the Young Reds to the sword with little to no fuss.
When the two sides met in Round Two, both those reputations were flipped on their heads.
The scoring opened in bizzare fashion, with a Birkalla set piece seeming to harmlessly end up in the arms of trusted shot stopper James Klappers. Fans were stunned when the reliable Klappers carried the ball behind the line with him to give Birkalla a shock lead.
Klappers did make amends later on in the half, saving a penalty to keep Sturt in the game and only one goal down at half time.
Birkalla continued pressing Sturt, and seven minutes into the second half a defensive miscommunication gave James Polli the opportunity to double the home side’s lead. Sturt could not break a resolute Birkalla side, and Jonathon D’Arrigo rounded Klappers to seal the match in injury time.
Birkalla will be using this performance as the benchmark for the rest of the NPL SA season, which should give the side the confidence to believe it belongs at this level.
Mauled By Panthers
South Adelaide Panthers 6-0 Adelaide United Youth
The last game of the round saw a demoralised Adelaide United side visit the high flying Panthers, who produced the biggest result of the season so far.
The Panthers picked up where they left off against FK Beograd, and looked likely to score every time they went forward. The deadlock was broken when Panthers star Jonathon Rideout smartly hit a free kick under a rising wall 15 minutes into the match.
Melad Ahmad doubled the home side’s lead at the 39th minute from close range. The Young Reds’ fortune looked to be improving when they won a penalty on the stoke of half time. Unfortunately for them though, Ryan Veitch ensured his clean sheet remained intact with a strong save.
The second half was one to forget for the Reds, conceding another four goals to make it two ugly losses in a row. United are a side full of young talent, but must play out full games and convert chances if they are to survive the drop.
Meanwhile, the first two weeks of the season have seen South Adelaide establish itself as a problem for any opposition side’s defence.
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