Adelaide United will officially continue to play in the top flight next season, courtesy of their 3-2 win over West Torrens Birkalla in Round 21 of the PlayStation 4 National Premier League at The Parks Football Centre on Saturday.
After a campaign of defying the odds, Huss Skenderovic and his resilient Young Reds have successfully kept their well-deserved place in the National Premier League South Australia for next season.
The dashing Lachlan Brook bagged a brace with ease, which helped to grant the three points.
WT Birkalla’s Jake Monaco and Fumiya Suzuki both scored equalisers, before second half substitute Hamish McCabe made an impact off the bench, scoring the winning goal in the 73rd minute on his return from injury.
The first 15 minutes of the contest was end-to-end, as neither side were able to grab complete ascendency.
Brook opened the scoring for the Reds in the 20th minute, as he teared the oppositions defence apart to blaze through and slot a composed shot into goal.
Moments later, a nice delivery by Blake Carpenter gave Brook the opportunity to snatch a second, but Birkalla’s ‘keeper, Julian Torresan was prepared for the threat.
Monaco equalised for the “hosts” in the 28th minute, as his crippling pace left United’s defence behind.
But almost immediately, Brook scored his second to regain the lead, judging his curled shot perfectly against the wind.
Adelaide’s conceded a second equaliser into the second half, as Suzuki netted in his spot-kick to square the scores up again.
Skenderovic turned to his bench in search for the winning goal, and brought on Hamish McCabe and Aladin Irabona.
With 20 minutes remaining of the game, McCabe’s dynamic strike from just outside the 18-yard box saw the Red’s claim all three points.
Delighted with the win, Head Coach Skenderovic emphasised on how far his side has come since the beginning of the year.
“The weather played a huge part today, one half we played with the wind and the other against, in which I thought we played better,” he said.
“We did get overzealous trying to score goals and lost a bit of discipline when we conceded.
“But we got better and structured ourselves around the game, and to score the way we did in the end was fantastic.
“Josh Mori gave us great running power and was dynamic in his usual position, when Hamish came on.
“We have showed maturity, and it shows how far the team has come, whereas had that been the start, or mid-year, we really would have struggled.
“And today, structurally we were fantastic and to get the three points was even better.
“It is the business end of the season, and we have hit our straps and we are playing some good football.
“We are a lot more mature and physically, we are stronger, so it is a job well done to everyone.”
The Young Reds last match of the regular season will feature Cumberland United, back at The Parks on Saturday.
Adelaide United 1
WT Birkalla 1