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  • Writer's pictureAntonis Pagonis

NPL SA 2024: The winners and losers from Round 2

Throughout the 2024 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 2.

Front Page Football: Seb Goode FK Beograd NPL SA 2024

FK Beograd's Seb Goode celebrated a hat-trick against Adelaide Olympic in Round 2. (Image: Pagonis Photography)


Winners


The Comets continue their perfect start


After keeping a clean sheet against Adelaide Olympic, with all three of their forwards being lively in a two-goal win, the Adelaide Comets travelled to South Adelaide for a Friday night matchup. The Comets wasted no time taking an early two-goal lead, with new signing Roberto Fernandez Garrido grabbing a quick-fire double. The visiting side added a third when Byungatae Anh deflected a shot into his own net.


George Tsonis' decision to play regular midfielder Nathan Andijanto at left-back and Minsung Park, usually a fullback, in the midfield paid dividends during the opening stanza, with both players confident in their roles and assured on the ball for the dominant Comets.

South Adelaide stemmed the bleeding after introducing captain Rob Parker off the bench, but the Comets cruised through the second half and even added two late goals through Allan Welsh and substitute Lukas Ikonomopoulos. The Comets enter their clash against Adelaide City in a great state, having not conceded a goal in two games, with their attacking play the best it has looked for a while and seven goals to show for it.



Seb's Goode night out


Seb Goode signed for FK Beograd from Croydon over the off-season, and his quality was apparent in Round 1 against the MetroStars. After FK Beograd went two goals down, they threatened to get back in the game. Most of Beograd's first-half chances fell to Goode, who forced a couple of strong saves from Cody Oestreich but could not find a goal.


With his team looking to turn around their fortunes in Round 2, Goode contributed in the 15th minute. A Josh Kavenagh ball was controlled and played forward by Jason Konstandopoulos, before Goode applied the finishing touch. Yudai Koike made it two for Beograd in the first half before Goode showed his quality again when he met a bouncing ball in his stride in the Olympic box, proceeding to smash it past his helpless former teammate Gianni Tramontin.


Just after the hour mark, Goode completed his hat-trick with a tap-in to make a statement about what to expect from him and his team. The match concluded with the two sides exchanging impressive goals, but Goode had well and truly claimed the headlines.


City's unlikely knight in shining armour


An hour into their match against the Para Hills Knights, Adelaide City did not need saving, nor did they look likely to be in a situation requiring a saviour. After Peter Akot opened the scoring for his side in the 26th minute, he was joined on the scoresheet by fellow new signing Yared Abetew from their first attack of the second half.


Two goals up, Paul Pezos' City side seemed poised to cruise to a second straightforward win in as many weeks. Nevertheless, a hungry Para Hills side had different ideas. Logan Marley-McFall gave the hosts a lifeline by opening his account for the season in the 64th minute, adding intrigue to the match.


In the 80th minute, Harrison Conant's deflected shot made it to the back of the net to bring his side, which looked resigned to defeat 20 minutes earlier, back into the game. But it was not to be for Para Hills, with Gideon Arok finding the back of the net with his head for the second straight week, ensuring his side claimed the three points the hard away.


Astonishingly, all three Adelaide City goalscorers on Friday night played for FK Beograd in 2023.
 

READ MORE NPL SA COVERAGE ON FPF


Losers


Round 1 strugglers double down on their misfortune


Two of the losers from Round 1 stood out due to the immense score-lines inflicted against them. In the first week of the season, Adelaide United conceded five goals without scoring. South Adelaide also failed to find the back of the net while conceding four goals; the two clubs found little reprieve in Round 2.


While Ryan White opened the score for Adelaide United against Modbury in the first minute, it was all the away side after that. Dion Kirk levelled the score 15 minutes later before a Hamish McCabe hat-trick put the game beyond the Young Reds heading into the break. Jeanpaul Membe's red card in the second half caused another headache for Airton Andrioli as Jagajeet Shrestha made it five, the Jets dominating the 2023 Grand Final rematch.


South Adelaide opened the round on Friday night against the Comets and were powerless at both ends of the pitch. The Panthers could not defend their box effectively and even lost goalkeeper Lewis Moss to an injury. Their goalscoring struggles in the absence of Jonathon Rideout were only extended.
Front Page Football: Hamish McCabe Modbury Jets NPL SA 2024

A Hamish McCabe hat-trick only compounded Adelaide United's early season NPL troubles in Round 2. (Image: Pagonis Photography)


Woodlands goes from hero to villain for Campbelltown


Alex Woodlands made the highlight reel in Round 1 after a spectacular penalty save against Adelaide United, and he caught attention once again the following week, but for all the wrong reasons.


Just after the 15-minute mark, a swift Croydon attack caught Campbelltown flatfooted, which led to Woodlands exiting his box to confront Roger Djuma. The goalkeeper's challenge was mistimed, and referee Christian Verdicchio did not hesitate to produce an early red card.


The sending-off led Michael Matricciani to sacrifice forward Alessio Melisi for substitute goalkeeper Matt Centofanti, as the Red Devils had to understandably adopt a more cautious approach. The Campbelltown resistance was beaten when Centofanti did not deal with a deflected cross in goal before Andre Carle gave the hosts the lead in acrobatic style, a lead they kept, marking a crucial win against quality opposition.



Croatia's industry goes unrewarded


After finding themselves on the wrong end of a one-sided pre-season encounter against the MetroStars, Adelaide Croatia arrived at T.K. Shutter Reserve with a point to prove in Round 2. After a positive Round 1 performance, the Raiders shocked their hosts to open the scoring through Calum Campbell. But Danny Graystone's side hit back fast through a wonderfully taken solo effort by Michael Cittadini.


Ren Nagamatsu gave Metro the lead heading into halftime from the penalty spot. Regardless, Adelaide Croatia remained resilient. New signing Stefan Matteo continued his positive start to life in Gepps Cross with a second goal in as many weeks.


Nagamatsu restored the MetroStars' lead to some controversy, with the striker seemingly returning from an offside position upon receiving the ball. Still, the recently promoted visitors did not let that get them down. Frank Busasa scored a goal of the week contender to level the scoring for the third time.


Unfortunately for Raiders, a moment of lax defending in their box in the first minute of injury time was a blow they could not recover from, as Cam Woodfin sealed a MetroStars victory.


Despite the disappointment of not claiming a point, Croatia can be proud that they went toe-to-toe with one of the strongest teams in the competition.

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