NPL SA 2023: The winners and losers from Round 4
Throughout the 2023 NPL SA season, Front Page Football looks at each week's big winners and losers from the action-packed South Australian top flight. Below are our picks from round four.
Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio stepped up when Campbelltown needed him most in round four. (Ken Carter)
Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio carries Campbelltown's offensive burden
When a side like Campbelltown possesses a striker with the quality of Marc Marino, it is no surprise that he becomes a focal point of their attack. The question is, what is the backup plan when he is not available?
Michael Matricciani's side faced that question when their star forward went down with a hamstring injury only ten minutes into their encounter against FK Beograd. The visitors smelled blood and had the Red Devils on the ropes until a new star emerged in Newton.
Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio well and truly announced himself at his new club, tapping in the opening goal in the 40th minute before unleashing a fierce strike to record a brace in the 58th minute. Campbelltown had secured the points, but the tricky winger was not done. He went on a solo run into the box, assisting Antony Piscioneri and providing a solution for Matricciani with his star striker unavailable.
Former Comets in Black and White
Gus Williams lined up for Adelaide City against his former side, the Adelaide Comets, in the first Grand Final rematch of 2023. Before he could adequately reacquaint with his old teammates, Williams had the ball in the back of the net only five minutes into the encounter. He pounced on an Ashton Rinaldo save, notably refusing to celebrate against the side that gave him his first NPL opportunity.
Williams' respect for his former club did not stop him from further damaging their prospects; the winger's cross somehow found the top corner to double City's lead. He went close to a hat trick near the hour mark. His attacking action did help City claim a third, though, despite Comets defender Filimon Asefa turning in Williams' effort for an own goal.
Comets fought back, but late in the match, a Nicholas Bucco strike ensured his new teammate's efforts were rewarded with all three points. It was not just Williams getting bragging rights over his old side. The Adelaide City bench is also now the new home for ex-Comets head coach Barney Smith, who would have savoured getting a victory over a club he knows so well.
Very Young Reds succeed on both ends
Panashe Madanha, Jonny Yull, and Bernardo were on Young Socceroos duty. Luka Jovanovic, Nestory Irankunda, Musa Toure, Jay Barnett, and Ethan Alagich were also unavailable due to A-League Men commitments. Thus, the Young Reds fielded a relatively inexperienced team to take on Adelaide Olympic. Despite that fact, Airton Andrioli's side looked in control from the first minute.
As the first half concluded, the Young Reds were unlucky not to be ahead. But Luke Duzel, one of his side's few relatively experienced players, ensured that changed with a superbly taken volley to open the scoring at ServiceFM Stadium. A trademark Kane Vidmar offensive run and pass also saw young forward Jake Porter record a goal in his first senior start for the club.
Nathan Amanatidis made the most of his start on the wing, winning and converting a late penalty. A three-goal win, with many players absent, is impressive. But what would please the Young Reds even more internally is a second successive clean sheet, a rarity in 2022 and a sign of a team coming together nicely.
Sturt's costly lapse in concentration
Despite claiming its first win of the season in round three, Sturt Lions have had a challenging start to the 2023 campaign. After losing at home to Campbelltown, and then being dismantled at Croydon, the Lions claimed a victory against West Adelaide. They needed a positive result against South Adelaide in round four to continue their ascent up the ladder.
Lino Fusco's side was noticeably more confident than in previous weeks and posed problems for the in-form Panthers. Jacob Atkinson put his side ahead late in the first half and gave the Lions a lead to defend after the break.
The visitors unsurprisingly took a more cautious approach in the second half. With South Adelaide unable to substantially trouble goalkeeper James Klappers for most of the game, it seemed Sturt would record their second consecutive win. That was until Alex Rideout's ball into the box saw Klappers and Michael Marrone get in each other's way and invite Jonathon Rideout to continue his goalscoring streak and earn a point for his side. The mistake condemned Sturt's defensive effort to a solitary point.
Croydon's colossal collapse
If you asked a neutral fan to watch the first 25 minutes of Croydon's clash against the Metro Stars, they likely predicted a close match, and even a victory for Travis Dodd's side, who looked promising to start the game. It was Metro, though, who opened the scoring through Cam Woodfin. Croydon's response was undoubtedly strong, with Patrick Caraccia equalising minutes later. But it was all downhill from there for the home side.
After Croydon drew level with three minutes to go in the first half, most would have expected the scoring to be over for the first period. But that was far from the case. Over the next three minutes, Metro regained their advantage and doubled it through quick-fire goals by Woodfin - his brace - and marksman James Temelkovski.
Croydon was understandably shellshocked, and their second-half performance reflected that, with Michael Cittadini making it four goals within 20 minutes of the restart. Young forward Alessio Melisi added insult to injury with a five-minute brace to leave Croydon wounded, confused, and in the relegation zone after a promising start to the game.
Modbury's Achilles heel strikes again
The Modbury Jets looked almost untouchable in State League One throughout season 2022. But one side the Jets did not beat in their premiership run was West Adelaide, with the two sides drawing on both occasions in the regular season.
In the Finals Series, Jim Tsekinis' Hellas humbled the Jets by three goals before closing out their two-leg tie with a draw, ending Modbury's championship ambitions and rendering them winless against West Adelaide in 2022. Despite beginning life in the NPL much more positively than their promoted counterparts, Modbury could not escape their bogey side from the previous season.
The Jets took an early lead through Cooper Wegener and carried it until late in the first half. But a lapse in concentration before the break saw West Adelaide enter halftime level with a Harry Thomas goal. The first 17 minutes of the second half saw Hellas regain their superiority over Modbury with two set-piece goals, which ended up being enough to secure the three points and another triumph over the Jets.
Click here to read our NPL SA winners and losers from Round 3!