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  • Writer's pictureAntonis Pagonis

NPL SA 2024: The winners and losers from Round 14

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 14.

Front Page Football: MetroStars Campbelltown City NPL SA 2024

The MetroStars and Campbelltown City split the points in an entertaining encounter. (Image: Ken Carter)


City revival claims a serious scalp

While Adelaide City's revival from the relegation zone to the fringe of the top six has been eye-catching, it has lacked a notable victim. Entering Round 14 against the Adelaide Comets, City would have to change that to continue their surge up the ladder.

Things did not start well for City when goalkeeper Dakota Ochsenham came out to claim a corner but missed the ball, allowing Athan Karkafiris to score his first NPL goal for the Comets from close range. The home side did not let the early goal affect their spirit, creating multiple chances before halftime but eventually entering the sheds behind on the scoreboard.

Minutes after the restart, an Adam Le Cornu foul on Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio in the penalty area allowed Daniel Bressan to score his fifth goal in as many games from the spot. City eventually found the winner through a long shot from Harry Thomas, who is enjoying the opportunity to play further up the field after finding himself playing a big part of the season at fullback.

The win saw Adelaide City climb into sixth, an unthinkable scenario a month ago. They retained this position after Adelaide United and the Para Hills Knights split the points in their clash.

Olympic rediscover their grit

After a disappointing start to the season, Adelaide Olympic set some solid foundations. With an undefeated month between mid-April and May, Kristi Vangjeli's side rose out of the relegation zone and even made the Federation Cup Semi-Finals. Unfortunately, Olympic reverted to their early season form, losing their next four games in all competitions, and conceding 13 goals while only scoring once themselves.

That regression saw Olympic drop back into the relegation zone and get eliminated from the Federation Cup despite a solid showing on the night. Coming up against the Adelaide Croatia Raiders, Olympic had to remain solid and they did just that, making it hard for their usually free-scoring opponents to find an opening.

Olympic had their chances in the first half, and with the last attack of the half, Brian Habonimana found the back of the net. Andrew Marveggio made it two in the second half, a lead Croatia could not chase down despite an Oliver Trimboli goal.

It was a much-needed victory for Olympic, who showed that they were up for the fight. However, to survive relegation, grit, concentration, and determination must be paired with consistency.
Front Page Football Andrew Marveggio Adelaide Olympic NPL SA 2024

Andrew Marveggio celebrates his goal against the Adelaide Croatia Raiders. (Image: Pagonis Photography)

Konstandopoulos spares Beograd's blushes

With only five points after 13 rounds, South Adelaide welcomed the one team they have beaten in the 2024 NPL season, FK Beograd, and were desperate for another three points. An even first half tipped the Panthers way when former Beograd midfielder Doni Pollock repeated what he did in Round 3 and scored against his former side to give the Panthers the lead.

The second half saw South Adelaide absorb the pressure and become desperate for their first points since Round 8. It looked to be working, with Anthony Rideout's men remaining strong defensively and dangerous on the counter-attack. Entrenched in a race for finals football, FK Beograd could not afford to lose to South Adelaide for a second time and continued to look for goals.

A desperate effort to find a late equaliser saw Michael Jakobsen advance and run with the ball towards the Panthers' box before being fouled in the 90th minute. Jason Konstandopoulos stepped up to take the free-kick, and excellent execution saw the midfielder score his third goal in as many weeks, claiming an important point for his side on the road.




North Eastern rivals continue to leave points on the table

MetroStars and Campbelltown City have made strong starts to the 2024 season, but they have both been short of the breathtaking best which saw them separate from the pack in 2023. The two rivals entered their Round 14 clash with only one win in their last four games.

After losing to Campbelltown for the first time since the 2021 season, MetroStars started the strongest. They opened the scoring through Ren Nagamatsu, who expertly headed home a Nicholas Pedicini cross in the 10th minute. A Hamish Gow volley gave Danny Graystone's side a commanding lead heading into half-time.

The roles reversed in the second half, and Marc Marino made the fixture competitive with an early goal after the break. Shortly after the hour mark, Josh Mori and Alex Mullen popped up with their own exquisite finishes to turn the match on its head.

The Red Devils were in a strong position to claim an impressive three points, but Nagamatsu found an equaliser in the seventh minute of injury time. The match may have enthralled the neutrals, but both teams will be disappointed to drop points from winning positions.

Reds dealt a dose of their own medicine 

From the 70th minute of Adelaide United's clash against the Para Hills Knights, the home side reversed their previous match's slow start. The Young Reds started strongly with a Joey Garrucio goal, Amlani Tatu striking twice on either side of the half, and Ryan White making it 4-0.

Airton Andrioli's side astonishingly came back from four goals down the previous week, and it seemed like they had done enough to secure a win against the Knights. That was before a cheap giveaway in the 75th minute allowed Diego Santos De Oliveira to waltz into the box and score what seemed to be a consolation goal after an impressive finish found Oscar Page's bottom corner.

Just three minutes later, Theo Tsiounis' side began believing after an Ali Rayez Muradi cutback allowed Keshav Shrestha to make it two and give his side belief. Even the most pessimistic Knights fans would certainly have started believing when Harrison Conant smashed home a third goal in the 81st minute.

Injury time arrived, and with the Knights desperate to find a fourth goal, a disguised long throw went short, and a cross found the head of Abu Hussein, who brought the game level. Luka Blazevic hit the crossbar with one of the last efforts of the game for the Young Reds, who could not find a fifth and were condemned to the same disappointment of surrendering a four-goal lead that they dealt to the Modbury Jets only one week earlier.

Croydon pay after failing to take advantage of a strong start

With Iain Fyfe having a win and a draw under his belt as Croydon FC manager, his next challenge came against the Modbury Jets. Maurice Natale's side entered the game having beaten Croydon in both the league and the cup, but with some tired legs after playing midweek.

A sluggish Jets allowed the hosts to make a bright start, with Croydon dominating territory but ultimately unable to create. Croydon's wastefulness was punished in the 26th minute when Hamish McCabe won the visitors a penalty, which was coolly dispatched by captain Jesse Francesca. 10 minutes later, as he did midweek against Adelaide Olympic, Giuseppe Macheda scored for his side and made it 2-0.

McCabe was instrumental again in the second half, with an inventive outside-of-the-foot assist allowing Francesco Schimizzi to make it three before the forward got himself on the scoresheet, putting the cherry on top of a clinical performance for the Federation Cup finalists.


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