Adelaide United Youth played out a 1-1 draw against Adelaide Olympic at VALO Football Centre on Saturday night.
Missing a host of regulars, Jai King gave the Young Reds a shock lead inside 11 minutes before Christos Pounendis’ second-half penalty restored parity.
As intimated, Paul Pezos was forced to make wholesale changes to his starting line-up with Carlo Armiento, Pacifique Niyongabire, Louis D’Arrigo, Kristin Konstandopoulos, and Lachlan Brook all given time off ahead of the upcoming Hyundai A-League pre-season.
It meant a number of fringe Youth Team players from the NPL Reserves squad were given an opportunity.
The lack of top-flight experience clearly did not prove detrimental early with their fearless approach pushing Olympic on the back foot.
The Young Reds’ relentless pressure forced the hosts into several turnovers.
But it was on the counter-attack that United drew first blood.
Domenic Costanzo won the ball on the left wing, dribbled forward at pace before squaring his pass to King, who arrived at the top of the box and he calmly side-footed his finish beyond the ‘keeper.
King almost doubled the advantage moments later when he intercepted an errant pass from defence, but as he ran through on goal he failed to hit the target.
Olympic regained control for the latter part of the first-half without ever troubling goalkeeper, Dakota Ochsenham.
Olympic’s intensity lifted, albeit slightly, to start the second stanza and on 55 minutes they were awarded a penalty when the referee deemed a somewhat innocuous coming together in the box worthy of a foul.
Pounendis stepped up to confidently convert and level the score.
Though despite the setback, Pezos’ side continued to compete and even looked to get a winner in what was a hard-fought contest with a lot of niggling fouls conceded.
Ultimately, it finished all square as Adelaide ended a four-game losing streak.
The Young Reds remain in eighth place on 14 points ahead of their meeting with third-place MetroStars on Saturday.
Adelaide United Youth Reserves
A Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio brace has helped Adelaide United Youth Reserves to a 2-0 win over Adelaide Olympic Reserves and maintain top spot on the ladder.
Adelaide United Youth face MetroStars in Round 13 of the National Premier League 2019 season on Saturday, 8 June at TK Shutter Reserve. Kick-off is at 3.00 PM. Reserves kick-off at 12.45pm.