NPL SA Round 13 Recap: Young Reds denied third straight victory after late concession

Adelaide United Youth has been forced to settle for a point after conceding a late equaliser to draw 2-2 against Croydon Kings at Jack Smith Park on Saturday.

The Young Reds were twice pegged back after Binyam Kebede and Nestor Irankunda had twice given the visitors the lead.

Kebede scored for the second straight week with a clinical finish after some good lead up play, before the Kings levelled just before half-time.

Irankunda then put United ahead after the break, after running on to Jonny Yull’s expertly weighted through ball and slotted his effort in at the near post.

However, with two minutes remaining, Croydon restored parity, denying Adelaide the chance to claim a third win in a row.

The result leaves the Young Reds in fourth place on 21 points.

Head of Youth Football, Airton Andrioli, admitted while it was disappointing to drop two points he was philosophical in his response – seeing the bigger picture.

“Our main priority is always the development of the players and producing players that can play for our A-League squad,” Andrioli explained.

“And the NPL obviously plays a big part in that because week in and week out we have the challenges that the competition brings us – always playing against much more experienced players.

“Having a young group of players that gives plenty of things to think about, so from our point of view nothing changes for us.

“Yes we want to win games as much as possible because we try to install that winning mentality into the boys, but the main priority is that the players continue to understand and learn and get better.

“Hopefully in the near to long-term future be able to become players that can play, like others who have already done, for the A-League squad and that’s our main focus.”

Andrioli went on to discuss how impressed he has been with the progress several players have made including the likes of Yull.

“Jonny (Yull) has been in this environment for quite a while now for the last couple of years,” he said.

“He’s one of the youngest players in the squad but as I said before there are obviously the obvious names that we do know already that have played in the A-League this year and the year before.

“But the pleasing thing is that there are a number of players that are starting to show potential and get better week in and week out.

“That’s what we’re all about. We’re about producing players for the Club that have that Adelaide United DNA that want to play football in a certain way.

“We have a number of other players that many people don’t know and are very young but are already starting to show potential and this is the pleasing thing.

“And we’ll continue to do that every time we go play our games in this competition. We use it to refine our players to get them better and hopefully you might see more coming through and continue that pathway we already have in place which is very good.”