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  • Writer's pictureAntonis Pagonis

NPL SA 2024: The winners and losers from Round 16

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 16.

Front Page Football Josh Barresi Campbelltown City NPL SA 2024

Campbelltown City's Josh Barresi celebrates a goal against South Adelaide. (Image: Pagonis Photography)


Winners


Conway steps up for the Panthers


After an impressive away win against the Adelaide Croatia Raiders, a rejuvenated South Adelaide hosted Campbelltown City, a team in dire need of points. Despite that, the visitors started the strongest. After going close multiple times, captain Alex Mullen opened the scoring from the penalty spot five minutes before half-time after being tripped in the box by Caden Yates.


On the other side of the break, a superb cross by Panthers fullback Mason Cahill picked out Tyreece Conway, who headed his side level. After drawing level, the Panthers seemed primed to cause an upset, but a curling Josh Barresi finish caught Lewis Moss off his line to restore Campbelltown's lead.


After conceding with 15 minutes to go, South Adelaide found themselves nine points away from safety on the live standings. It would have been understandable if they mentally checked out, but the Panthers showed they are willing to keep fighting.

Fresh off the bench, Dan Evans worked hard to dispossess the Red Devils in a dangerous position. The ball spilled to Jonathon Rideout, whose shot cannoned off the post before falling to Conway, who finished to secure his brace and an important point for the Panthers against a tough opponent.

Croydon enter the six


In Round 15, Croydon FC recovered from a heavy loss against Modbury by beating Adelaide United in a seven-goal shootout. On the cusp of the top six, Iain Fyfe's team returned to Regency Park to host the Para Hills Knights, a side vying for the same position on the ladder.


The visitors began the match strongly, but it was Croydon who found the opening goal. Santana Bartkowski's intelligent through ball released Daniel Bradshaw-Scott, who entered the Knights' area unimpeded before finishing past Yanni Dalangas in the 21st minute. Shortly after half-time, an overzealous Vianne Kurikwimana sent Andre Carle to the penalty spot, with the striker recording his 12th goal of the season to double the home side's lead.


Harrison Conant scored yet another goal of the season contender to pull one back for Para Hills, but it was not enough, with the hosts claiming all three points.


Since taking over as head coach, Fyfe has overseen three wins and a draw across five games, with his Croydon side now entering the top six for the first time since the early part of the season.

No Nagamatsu, no problem


After the NPL SA's top scorer, Ren Nagamatsu, was sent off in the top of the table clash against the Modbury Jets in Round 15, MetroStars entered their match against Adelaide United needing other contributors in the attacking third. The Young Reds may have shipped a bucketload of goals in the past month, but they have scored just as many.


A Michael Cittadini free-kick picked out Cam Woodfin, who opened the scoring for MetroStars in the 27th minute. A mistake from Oscar Page then allowed Woodfin to double his side's lead with a well-placed lob. Metro captain Fabian Barbiero concluded the first half by scoring with a superb volley.


The Young Reds have made a habit of coming back from improbable margins. But a strong MetroStars start in the second half showed that it would be a difficult feat to repeat, one that became impossible when Eduardo Castaneda scored his first goal for the club. The home side's intent remained clear, with Barbiero instructing his side to chase more goals despite the large margin, and substitute Lochlan Czapla obliged, making it five.


Ryan White continued his positive month for the Young Reds by finding another goal - his fifth in June - but there was not to be another miraculous comeback.


Not many teams can score five goals without their top goalscorer, but MetroStars are a team full of contributors who will make life hard for any NPL opponent.

The MetroStars celebrate one of their five goals scored in a dominant win over Adelaide United. (Image: Ben Blaess/BDb.media)

 

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Losers


Costa's unfortunate City return


Half-time of Round 16 at Oakden saw Adelaide City and the Adelaide Croatia Raiders level at 1-1. The scoring was opened when Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio got behind the Raiders defence before audaciously chipping John Solari in the 20th minute.


Just 15 minutes later, former City player Jai King came back to bite his old side with a stunning shot, giving Dakota Ochsenham no chance of saving it. Croatia boss Vlado Blazeka had a weapon on his bench in the shape of former City forward Anthony Costa, who he gave his club debut just after the hour mark, in the hope he could break the deadlock.


Just seven minutes after coming on, a desperate Costa lunged to reach Katsuyoshi Kimishima's cross and collided with Ochsenham, who had already collected the ball. Referee Curtis Wordsworth sent off the forward on his return to Adelaide City Park.


Adelaide Croatia's 10-man resistance was eventually undone in injury time by a Yared Abetew header, which saw Adelaide City extend their unbeaten run to seven games, with Paul Pezos' side notching six straight wins.

Beograd denied an important win


In Round 5, despite going down to 10 men, FK Beograd recorded their first win over the Adelaide Comets in over a decade. With results not going their way in the past fortnight, Adrian D'Aloia's side needed another big win over the Comets to rise back up the ladder.


Beograd did open the scoring in the first half when Maksim Ivanic played Antoni Trimboli into the box before the ball was returned to him, and he tapped home the opening goal. Despite entering half-time with the lead, Beograd did not relent and looked to add a second goal while the Comets chased an equaliser.


A willingness from both sides to attack did not lead to any more goals until the 90th minute. The ball spilled out of the area from a late Comets corner, and midfielder Niko Ikonomopoulos tried his luck with a volley. The effort was on target, but Beograd goalkeeper Jamie Signorello seemingly had it covered before Jayden LoBasso redirected the shot with his chest to claim a point for his side.


Both teams leave this match disappointed, with Beograd leading most of the game and the Comets now falling behind in the race for the top two after Modbury and the MetroStars emerged victorious in Round 16.

Olympic outclassed


Seeing MetroStars win convincingly over Adelaide United while temporarily claiming the top spot meant that the Modbury Jets had to respond when they visited Adelaide Olympic for the last game of Round 16. The Jets took their time to build to their devastating best but scored with their first effort on target in the 21st minute when Lachlan Wilson scored his first senior goal, heading home a Hamish McCabe cross.


An Olympic counter-attack, led by Teeboy Kamara, allowed the hosts to equalise through Binyam Kebede in the 44th minute, but it did not last long. In their next attack, Modbury earned a free-kick on the edge of the area. Gianni Tramontin saved Jesse Francesca's effort, but Francesco Schimizzi was able to tuck away the rebound from close range.


The late goal dealt a hammering blow to Olympic's confidence, and the Jets carried that momentum into the second half. Hamish McCabe eventually scored with a low, curling effort in the 61st minute before securing his brace and Modbury's spot as league leaders for another week with his 10th goal of the season in the 78th.


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