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  • Writer's pictureAntonis Pagonis

NPL SA 2023: The winners and losers from Round 8

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 eight.

Musa Toure and Harry Crawford are two players that have successfully stepped up for the league-leading Young Reds. (Adam Butler/@8zerokms)


The Winners


Campbelltown's Japanese connection adds another dimension


When Campbelltown scores, the usual suspects are forward Marco Marino and midfielder Alex Mullen. On Friday night against South Adelaide, the duo was back to what it does best, with Marino opening the scoring and Mullen doubling the Red Devils' lead from the spot.


A side that is challenging for silverware needs multiple threats in attack. The addition of Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio has helped the Red Devils in that regard. But their Japanese duo stole the show late in the game. NPL SA veteran Yohei Matsumoto found fellow countryman Shogo Yoshikawa. The latter delightfully dinked the ball through the defence to pick out the former's perfectly timed run.


Matsumoto finished capably to put the cherry on top of a decisive win. Coach Michael Matricciani would be delighted to see new signing Yoshikawa starting to gel with his new teammates. Second-placed Campbelltown will have their attacking options challenged in tomorrow's ANZAC day clash when they are tasked with dismantling the league-leading Young Reds.

West Adelaide keeps grinding


When speaking to Front Page Football after his side earned its promotion back to the NPL SA, West Adelaide coach Jim Tsekinis was honest, stating that before Hellas could think about the finals and silverware, the goal was to consolidate their gains and remain in the division. After losing several key players in the offseason and losing 4-0 back in Round 1, it looked like it would be a long season for Hellas. But they have performed admirably since, keeping their heads above water.


Since conceding heavily against Adelaide City in that round-one clash, West Adelaide has been one of the best defensive sides in the competition, which is necessary for a side that has only scored seven goals across the first eight rounds. Hellas scored early in their match against Croydon but would not surrender the lead easily.


West Adelaide maintained their advantage to earn three points. The 11 players Tsekinis fielded were aware of their roles, offensively and defensively, and made it hard for Croydon to mount a comeback. Hellas may not write headlines in 2023, particularly with a likely fight for survival. But they are shaping up as a tricky side to break down.

Depleted Young Reds win emphatically to remain top


Injuries to A-League Men players Jay Barnett and Zach Clough, along with a Sunday clash in Perth, left the Young Reds light on numbers for their Saturday night match against FK Beograd, with many vital players required interstate. Nathan Amanatidis, Joey Garrucio, Jeanpaul Mbembe, Fabian Talladira, and Ryan White have all seen significant time on the bench in 2023. But they were entrusted with starting berths in round eight.


The young charges did a capable job replacing the likes of Nestor Irankunda, Jonny Yull, Ethan Alagich, Panashe Madanha, and Bernardo. They went in at half-time level, unlucky not to be leading. Regular first-team player Kane Vidmar gave his side the lead early in the second half, decisively heading a corner home at the near post.


Young winger Harry Crawford took his chance off the bench with both hands, pouncing onto an Ethan Cox long ball - the goalkeeper turning goal provider - to double his side's lead. Luke Duzel responded to his omission from the A-League Men squad by smashing in a free kick in injury time to decisively restore the Young Reds' position at the summit of the NPL SA, despite his side's notable absences.

The Losers


It's hard to win without a shot on target


When the opposition restricts you to 90 minutes without testing its goalkeeper, the chances of a successful result are slim to none. Adelaide City, Sturt Lions, and FK Beograd found themselves in that awkward situation.


City and Sturt were second-best in their respective matchups against MetroStars and Adelaide Comets. Both sides rode their luck and were eventually spared by the inability of their opponents to find a cutting edge in front of goals. The two teams escaped their lacklustre performances with a lucky and arguably undeserved point.


As mentioned above, FK Beograd was not as lucky, with the Young Reds scoring three goals and having a strike cleared off the line while keeping Beograd to zero shots on target. All three sides must improve their ability to respond to the opposition's press, should they get anywhere in 2023.

Sturt Lions were one of the multiple teams under siege in round eight NPL SA action. (Adam Butler/@8zerokms)


Outplayed Croydon sink to the bottom


Winless in the league since February, Croydon FC visited West Beach to take on West Adelaide, expecting a change in round eight. Despite advancing to the next round of the Federation Cup by defeating Sturt in its previous outing, Croydon's league misfortune struck early on.


An errant Kristos Stefanopoulos clearance fell to Hellas midfielder Cooper O'Donnell, who set up teammate Harry Williams to open the scoring only six minutes into the encounter. Despite being unable to find consistent wins, Travis Dodd's side has shown a willingness to claw back deficits. But on Saturday, that tendency was not present.


West Adelaide did not get complacent after scoring early, instead fighting to protect and extend their lead. Croydon's performance did not warrant a point. It was not rewarded with one, as Hellas picked up a vital win in the relegation battle. Meanwhile, Croydon sank to the foot of the table after Adelaide Olympic won.

Modbury aids Olympic to three vital points


Adelaide Olympic would use any help they could get having entered round eight rooted to the bottom of the table. That is what they received from the Modbury Jets. Maurice Natale's side took the lead but, minutes later, became the architects of their destruction.


Soon after Modbury opened the scoring, Jets' goalkeeper Ryan Neild parried right into the path of Olympic forward Christos Pounendis, who brought the hosts level. Then Matt Mullen's errant clearance fell the way of James Polli, who made no mistake to give his side the lead heading into halftime.


Rocco Caruso damaged Modbury's comeback bid after being sent off for a second bookable offence after the restart. Just after the hour mark, Abu Hussein's close-range tap-in attempt rebounded off the post and hit Ryan Neild's leg before going in for an own goal. It fittingly gave the home side the three points they needed to exit the relegation zone, despite Luka Chikwuba's late consolation.

Click here to read our NPL SA winners and losers from Round 7!

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