Adelaide United’s Youth Team and MetroStars have played out a 2-2 draw in Round 4 of the National Premier League at the Elite Systems Football Centre on Sunday.
With Mark Ochieng, Riley McGree, Ruon Tongyik, and John Hall all part of Guillermo Amor’s team that faced Western Sydney Wanderers in the Hyundai A-League, the Young Reds looked in control throughout the early stages of the match, holding possession and forcing MetroStars to work hard for the football.
In the third minute, and after some relentless pressure from the Young Reds, Samed Altundag forced a turnover within United’s attacking third, allowing him to slide in a pass to Dylan Smith, who made no mistake with his finish into the bottom right corner of the goal, giving his team a valuable advantage.
But MetroStars reacted quickly after they conceded, former United First Team footballer, Fabian Barbiero, and Bailey Truscott, finding time on the ball to link-up with wingers Rocky Callisto and Liam Wooding.
After pressuring the Young Reds well, in the 17th minute the visitors were rewarded after a well-weighted delivery from a Wooding corner allowed Doni Pollock to power a confident header past John Hall and evening the ledger at 1-1.
Michael D’Aloisio then came close ten minutes after, as another trademark delivery by Wooding eluded everyone in the box, but D’Aloisio flashed his header wide of the post.
However, it was the Young Reds five minutes before half-time that doubled their tally, as some neat work from Blake Carpenter allowed him to cut inside and fire a low driven shot that forced Isaac Carmody to tip the ball into the path of Dylan Smith. With only one thought in his mind, Smith then tapped the ball into the net, converting his second for the match.
After the restart, MetroStars burst out of the blocks in search of an equaliser, increasing the intensity of the match as well as the stubbornness of the Young Reds defence.
Rocky Callisto came close in the 53rd minute, turning inside and shooting just wide of the far post. Yet it was the Young Reds who were missing the final pass in the front third, as both McGree and Carpenter were combining well to push for a third goal.
United rallied and continued to fight for a third goal, as substitutes Alec Maiolo and Nick Polli impressed trying to test Carmody in goal.
However, Adelaide were made to pay for their missed chances, as with virtually the last kick off the game MetroStars Captain, Adam Van Dommele, hit the ball sweetly into the top corner past John Hall rescuing a point for the visitors.
Following the match, Young Reds Head Coach, Mark Jones, described the game as a battle, saying he was pleased with the way his team played against a tough opponent.
“We obviously had a depleted squad and we put ourselves in good positions twice to win the game, but we just weren’t able to hold on in the end,” Jones said.
“In the second half we knew they were going to come out strong and we wanted to pick them off on the counter and we had a couple of opportunities, but they kept pushing and at the end of the day a 2-2 draw against a good football team is still a decent result.
“I think, overall, this week is a positive result and was good about our performance is that we were well disciplined and we defended reasonably well.
“Now we look forward to Croydon next week, focus on performing well again, and we hope for a good result.”