Adelaide City consolidate top spot after tense affair against rivals Campbelltown
Adelaide City has consolidated first on the NPL SA ladder after downing rivals Campbelltown City 2-1 at Adelaide City Park.
City was the better side in the first half and deservedly took the lead through a long-range strike by Nicholas Bucco.
Campbelltown slowly grew into the game in the second half.
A free-kick by Adam Piscioneri squirmed its way through the City defensive wall and in for the equalizer.
Jai King proved to be the matchwinner for City less than five minutes later, though.
His cross-come-shot lobbed Red Devils goalkeeper Nick Harpas to ensure the three points stayed in Oakden.
The result now moves City six points clear of their rivals, who continue to struggle for consistency so far this term.
City's Nicholas Bucco and Campbelltown's Luigi Di Troia contest for the ball. (Chris Kelly)
Brilliant Bucco fires again
Bucco knows the importance of this fixture to the City faithful, having featured over 250 times for the Black and Whites.
The midfielder’s superb strike from just outside the area gave City the lead going into halftime, his sixth for the season so far.
Despite not threatening all too often, his one moment of magic halfway through the first half encapsulated his importance to the side.
Rivalry threatens to boil over in ugly first-half melee
Red Devils centre-back Joel Allwright can consider himself a lucky boy for not seeing an early shower.
He threw what looked to be a punch on Bucco in the first half.
Bucco most likely milked whatever contact came his way.
Still, the movement of Allwright’s arm towards the midfielder’s chest was not a good look from the sidelines.
Fellow centre-back Daniel Mullen did not help the situation by physically pulling Bucco up from the ground, and the referee was very lenient in not sending either of the Campbelltown defenders off.
Fortuitous strike wins it for City
City midfielder King seemed to be trying to pick out a teammate when his attempted cross lobbed Campbelltown goalkeeper Harpas to win the game for the home side.
The midfielder worked tirelessly throughout the ninety minutes.
His willingness to pick the ball up in a wide area allowed him to place the cross-come-shot past Harpas.
Adelaide City 2 (N. Bucco 21m, J. King-Byrne 72m) Campbelltown City 1 (Ad. Piscioneri 69m) at Adelaide City Park
Referee: Eric Ford Sestili
Adelaide City: 3-4-3
1. (GK) A. Woodlands, 17. T. Brown, 4. M. Halliday, 6. B. Corbo, 13. L. Barr, 45. M. Orchard, 11. C. Devereux (off 73m), 23. J. King-Byrne, 8. J. Costa (off 85m), 10. N. Bucco (off 58m), 77. A. Kasumovic.
Subs: 14. A. Irabona (on 58m), 42. A. Ayoubi (on 73m), 7. N. Harpas (on 85m)
Manager: Paul Pezos
Yellow Cards: N. Bucco
Red Cards: None
Campbelltown City: 3-4-3
20. (GK) N. Harpas, 7. J. Allwright, 6. A. D’Agostino, 16. D. Mullen, 23. J. Halliday, 14. Ad. Piscioneri, 8. A. Mullen, 10. L. Di Troia, 17. A. De Ieso, 15. Ant. Piscioneri, 9. M. Marino.
Manager: Iain Fyfe
Yellow Cards: J. Allwright, D. Mullen, M. Marino, A. Mullen, Ad. Piscioneri
Red Cards: None