The Adelaide United Youth Team fell to their first loss of the season at the hands of West Torrens Birkalla in Round 2 of the National Premier League at the Elite Systems Football Centre on Sunday, losing 3-1.
A tough battle in wet conditions found both teams with even touches of the ball, but as Birkalla worked the final third more dominantly than the Young Reds, it was proven to be the difference between the two.
Starting at a high intensity and with much physicality, the ball was seen from all areas of the pitch and at the feet of many players.
The Young Reds went close to opening the scoring in the early minutes when Blake Carpenter free-kick narrowly sailed over the crossbar. However it was Birkalla who got an early goal through Paul Radice, who swiftly capitalised upon the visitor’s first chance of the night.
United worked hard for an equaliser, and in the 10th minute Mark Ochieng confidently tested Birkalla goalkeeper, Julian Torresan, but Ochieng’s effort was denied. Young Reds Captain, Dylan Smith, then attempted a shot from outside the box, but it drifted wide of the mark.
As the match grew older the downpour of rain became heavier, whilst Birkalla refused to let Mark Jones’ squad retain easy possession of the ball.
And despite an array of strong defending from the Young Reds, their hard work was undone when Radice completed his brace with a well-taken header that passed United ‘keeper, Daniel Margush, and nestled into the back of the net.
Despite their two goal disadvantage, the Young Reds went in search of a goal to keep them in the match and in the 30th minute, Jordan O’Doherty bagged his third goal of the season when his deflected free-kick beat Torresan.
Nevertheless, Birkalla extended their lead 11 minutes later through Ian Kamau, and although United fought desperately in the second half to pull a goal back, they were unable to finish the chances they created.
Following the game, Young Reds Head Coach, Jones, said his team have now learnt just how difficult the NPL will be for them, but will continue to work tireless to improve and remain competitive.
“We were out-worked tonight, especially in the first half,” Jones said. “We needed to give them more respect and show more urgency for the ball, and where we didn’t work hard enough.
“Conceding two goals so early on definitely lost us the game in the first 30 minutes.
“With set pieces, we know that we will be under pressure as the teams are experienced and giving away fouls that should not have been was a lack of patience.
“This match was an eye-opener for the players, putting into perspective where they stand in the league and they will have to work hard because there is plenty of potential in our group.
“Onto South Adelaide next week, we cannot underestimate sides and we have to avoid making those mistakes that can cost us.”
Sunday, 6 March 2016
South Australian National Premier League Round 2
Adelaide United 1 (O’Doherty 30’)
West Torrens Birkalla 3 (Radice, 6’ 24’, Kamau 41’)
Venue: Elite Systems Football Centre
Attendance: Approx. 300