NPL SA Round 22 Recap: Young Reds play out 1-1 stalemate to end season

Adelaide United Youth has been held to a 1-1 draw against South Adelaide in the final round of the season at VALO Football Centre on Saturday night.

The Young Reds conceded a sloppy goal before Noah Smith’s powerful half-volley in the 24th minute got them back on level terms.

Despite dominating for large periods of the match they could not muster a winner to have any hope of reaching the top six.

However, ultimately it did not matter with both Adelaide Blue Eagles and MetroStars winning their respective matches to secure finals spots.

Paul Pezos made three changes to his side that played out a 2-2 draw with Blue Eagles last round. Dakota Ochsenham returned in goal, while Cooper Nunn and Pacifique Niyongabire were also named in the starting line-up.

Ninko Beric had the ball in the net from a lowly-driven cross into box from left-back, Smith, but the assistant referee raised his flag for an apparent offside.

Moments later, it was the Panthers who took the lead.

Jai Conroy pounced on a hesitation involving United Youth’s goalkeeper and defender to open the scoring on eight minutes.

Adelaide continued to attack and found a way through courtesy of an opportunistic strike from Smith; the ball bouncing kindly for the defender as he arrowed his effort into the bottom right corner.

Pezos’ side dominated the corner count as they tried desperately to get a second and approaching half-time their endeavour was nearly rewarded.

Niyongabire was played through over the top and his audacious lob attempt over the onrushing Ryan Veitch almost found its way in.

The second-half saw the Young Reds control possession for lengthy portions of the game and apart from hitting the post from close range, they struggled to penetrate a solid South defence.

The Panthers ventured forward late on in the hope of snatching the three points, but it ended all square.

Adelaide United Youth Reserves

Adelaide United Youth secured a finals spot, finishing in fifth place on the ladder, after a 10-0 demolition of South Adelaide Reserves earlier in the day.