The Adelaide United Youth Team defeated South Adelaide 2-1 in Round 3 of the 2016 National Premier League season at O’Sullivan’s Beach Sports and Community Centre on Saturday.
Backed up by a solid defence, two early goals by Young Reds Captain, Dylan Smith, and Clifford Maina were enough to outlast a tough South Adelaide side for their second win of the National Premier League (NPL) season.
A game that had hearts racing from start to finish, both sides saw plenty of the ball, pressuring hard throughout the full 90 minutes, also giving the goalkeepers no rest.
But it started all Red, as Mark Jones’ men made countless amounts of quick runs, through balls, and chances on goal.
United’s early dominance proved too much for South Adelaide, and in the 2nd minute Mark Ochieng broke through the opposition’s defensive line and scored – only for it to be ruled offside. But, three minutes later, the Reds hit the front through Smith, who curved his strike into the back of the net.
The Young Reds made it 2-0 soon after when Smith struck a free-kick that found the feet of Clifford Maina, who slotted the ball passed South Adelaide ‘keeper, Addison Rodgers.
Despite showing clear intent to extend their lead, United weren’t able to capitalise on the chances they created, coming through Ochieng and Riley McGree.
With 30 minutes on the clock, South Adelaide pulled a goal back from a free-kick that beat United ‘keeper, John Hall.
A frantic final 15 minutes finished the opening half off, but neither side were able to register further additions to the score line.
After the break, South Adelaide burst out of the blocks in search of an equaliser, increasing the intensity of the match as a result. This raised the ferocity of the match, with the physicality reaching new heights, so much so that goal scorer, Maina, was given a straight red card on the hour mark.
Five minutes later, the Young Reds were forced to see the match out with just nine men when Ben Warland, who had already received one booking, was given his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card.
United rallied and continued to fight for a third goal, as substitute Blake Carpenter impressed as soon as he stepped onto the field and Smith also continued to test Rodgers. However, the match wouldn’t see any goals, the Reds winning the second match of the season in dramatic fashion.
Following the match, Young Reds Head Coach, Mark Jones, described the game as a battle, saying he was pleased with the way his team fought and stood up against their opponents.
“We should have wrapped the game up in the first 20 minutes as we could have been four, or five-nil up with the amount of chances we created,” Jones said. “But we’ll learn a lesson in that.
“South Adelaide scored from a set-piece, something that still needs to be worked on defensively by us.
“We had a battle, we did lose a bit of discipline at times but what was magnificent was how every player worked hard and didn’t stop until the end which was the ethic we wanted.
“It wasn’t the way we wanted the win to happen, but it was a test of character and we got there, now we have to enjoy the win.
“I believe we could have pinched a third goal, but with one player down we coped and kept possession, and then two short makes it difficult, but we held on.
“If they can do that with nine men, there is no excuse with eleven, and we hope to work as hard as we did again MetroStars next week.”