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  • Writer's pictureAntonis Pagonis

NPL SA 2023: The winners and losers from Round 7

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 seven.

West Adelaide held Campbelltown City to a frustrating draw in Newton. (Ken Carter)


The Winners


Super-sub action bookends the round


Croydon FC and Adelaide City have not had the smoothest of starts to their respective seasons. Round seven saw both sides again behind as their games ticked towards their conclusions. But both were saved by their difference makers off the bench.


Thursday night saw Croydon surrender an early lead to enter the last 10 minutes of its game against Comets a goal down. Substitutes Vianne Kurikwimana and Froribert Niyonkuru immediately changed the game's complexion after their introduction. The former earned Travis Dodd's side a late point, capitalising on the space afforded to him to place a shot into the top left corner.


Kurikwimana started the round with fireworks but his former side, Adelaide City, closed it with similar heroics, courtesy of fellow super-sub Matt Dawber, who was introduced in the last 10 minutes while his side was two goals down to Modbury. Similarly to his former teammate, Dawber changed the game, pegging one back after getting his head on a Nicholas Bucco corner before dramatically snatching a point for his side in the 94th minute.

Josh Mori leads from the front


Season 2023 has yet to meet the ambitious standards FK Beograd expects of themselves. Despite snatching a win against West Adelaide in round six, frustration returned to Frank Mitchell Park when Jonathon Rideout opened the scoring for South Adelaide, despite the ball seemingly going out for a throw-in in the build-up. Despite their best efforts, Josh Smith's side entered halftime a goal down, again facing the prospect of dropped points.


The hosts looked like a different side when they re-entered the game. To no one's surprise, their captain and round six match-winner Josh Mori equalised two minutes after the restart. The goal galvanised Beograd, and minutes later, Yared Abetew put his side ahead for the first time in the day, with 45 frustrating minutes overturned in five.


Paul Radice got on the scoresheet 10 minutes later before Mori put the finishing touches on the comeback he sparked. James Temelkovski and Jonathon Rideout have been the standout forwards in 2023. But Josh Mori is beginning to heat up. Should his side continue rising with its captain, as it did on Saturday, Beograd will become a problem for many teams.


Musa Toure leaves Metro seeing stars


T.K. Shutter Reserve saw two of the competition's high-flying teams meet in Metro Stars and Adelaide United Youth. Despite James Temelkovski entering the match as the league's hottest forward, a Young Red stole the headlines. Luka Jovanovic's A-League Men commitments and Asad Kasumovic's injury and suspension opened the door for Musa Toure to start. The young striker grabbed the opportunity with both hands.


Minutes after Noah McNamara was sent off, Jonny Yull took advantage of the space in Metro's midfield to slip Toure through on goal with a perfectly weighted ball. The young forward did what he does best, finding the bottom corner with a composed finish past Isaac Carmody.


The second half saw the home side attack the Young Reds hard. After being let off the hook by conceding a goal dubiously ruled offside, the visitors rapidly hit back at their vexed opponents. A ruthless counterattack left the shortchanged Metro struggling to keep pace. Toure once again tucked the ball into the bottom corner. The decisive goal saw the Young Reds leap the hosts at the league's summit.

The Losers

Campbelltown miss the opportunity to go top


Metro dropping points to Adelaide United Youth opened the door for Campbelltown City to claim the top spot for the first time in 2023. Coming up against the recently promoted West Adelaide at home, Michael Matricciani's side would have expected to win comfortably.


Campbelltown dominated possession but had a tough time breaking down Hellas. Early in the second half, a clumsy Jordan Maricic foul during a corner led to the visitors unexpectedly opening the scoring from the penalty spot.


The hosts were shocked into action, with Josh Barresi equalising minutes later. Despite bringing the firepower of Antoni Trimboli and Marc Marino off the bench, the Red Devils could not find a winner. West Adelaide's desperation for a point was compounded by Campbelltown's lack of cutting edge, which Matricciani's side will have to rediscover should they take advantage of the wide-open state of the league in 2023.

McNamara sees red in Young Reds reunion


Joining the Metro Stars after years in Adelaide United's system, former Young Reds' captain Noah McNamara would have been awaiting the day he clashed with his old side. The young centre-back has fit in at his new club and started every game for the league leaders coming into round seven. His previous side was just a little behind in third on the ladder.


Just eight minutes into the encounter, McNamara was dispossessed by Musa Toure, which left the defender with no choice but to commit a professional foul on his ex-teammate, leading to a booking. This tackle put McNamara in limbo early. After he slipped 12 minutes later, which saw Toure pounce at the chance, the defender dragged him down again to avoid a certain goal. McNamara was served with a red card only 20 minutes into his first game against his old side.


If it is a consolation to McNamara, his side stood up and arguably deserved a point against the Young Reds. But questions remain about what the game could have looked like if Metro had 11 for 90 minutes.

Adelaide Olympic short on points and players


Sitting rock-bottom on the table, Adelaide Olympic's visit to Karinya Reserve to take on fellow relegation battlers Sturt was a must-win for both sides. It started well enough for the visitors, with a Christos Pounendis goal of the season contender giving Olympic the lead 22 minutes in.


Unfortunately, that was the only joy Olympic got out of round seven. Gonzalo Rodriguez equalised in first-half injury time before midfielder Liam Wooding was sent off after connecting a flailing elbow with Samed Altundag's jaw.


Despite being a man down, Olympic pushed hard for an equaliser before Jason Konstandopoulos was sent off for dissent after claiming the referee missed a handball in the box by a Sturt player. It left his side with nine players to finish the game. Both sides needed more than a point. However, Olympic would have left the match more frustrated, with the visitors still ranked 12th and missing two crucial players for their next game.

Adelaide Olympic's Jason Konstandopoulos received his second yellow card after confronting the referee late in his side's clash against Sturt. (Adam Butler/80Kms)


Click here to read our NPL SA winners and losers from Round 6!

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