The Northern Demons went onto defeat the ninth-ranked Playford City 3-2 but not after another ordinary half of soccer against the Patriots mirroring the team’s previous encounter in last Saturday’s penultimate State League 2 round at Byrne Park.
Saturday’s results saw the Vipers and Eastern United lose and Cobras win, changing the complexion of the ladder, but kept the Demons in third spot where Reds coach Andrew McMillan strongly anticipates his team winning a home game in week one once the finals get underway.
Saturday’s contest saw referee Aaron Galanti award as much as three penalties all to the Reds with the opening spot kick being missed at the seventh minute mark before getting a second at the 20th that opened the scoring and relieved the early jitters.
The Demons first half against Playford was described as awful especially when Demons skipper Daniel Cox was forced off with a shoulder injury in the first few minutes of the round 21 home game.
The Demons had Jaylan Capurso and Chris Annese out for this game but it was expected the locals would have learnt from their previous encounter against the underperforming Colin Bajkusev Patriots outfit this time.
It was Marco Balsamo that missed the first set shot off the spot, but James Capurso made no mistake with the Demons second penalty after a hand ball, but Playford’s Alfred Munoz soon levelled the scores at the 31st minute with that score line taking the team to the halftime break in the Byrne Park game.
The second half was described as a reversal of the first by the Northern Demons although the locals found themselves 1-2 down when Munoz scored his second goal early in the new period that forced coach McMillan to make decisive moves with both Matt Lobasso and Antony Introna going into the middle of midfield.
Lobasso went to score at the 74th minute to make it 2-2 making the balance of the contest interesting as second position and a double finals chance could be achieved only with an unlikely upset loss to Fulham against Uni SA.
But somehow a winner in this contest was to be found and it was a James Capurso intervention when he took on the Playford City goalkeeper and was fouled with Sonny Calabria being sent off and Marco Balsamo given a second chance at scoring a penalty that he did at the 88th minute giving the Demons a 3-2 win.
In last Saturday’s game the better outfit found ways to foil a brave visiting Patriots team and better teams find ways of winning soccer games!
Demons – M.Lobasso, N.Young, A.Introna, J.Capurso.
Playford City – J.Kirk, A.Munoz, M.Capone, S.Calabria.
Demons - J.Capurso (pen), M. Lobasso, M.Balsamo (pen).
Playford City – A.Munoz 2.
NORTHERN DEMONS RESERVES & UNDER 18s
The Northern Demons Reserves defeated the second-placed Playford City 1-0 thanks to a Jacob Matthews 33rd minute screamer, a left foot volley from outside the box that had visiting defenders unaware and in what proved the only score in the game .
It was Matthews who had doubled up in superb fashion and personal effort after the youngster had scored in the early Under 18s Byrne Park game where he scored another striking goal as the Demons and the Patriots settled for a 1-1 draw with all goals scored in the first half.
The two Northern Demons teams played incredibly well against their more fancied ladder opponents last Saturday, and have done so on both occasions this season.
Can Demons pinch second spot on the ladder?
The Northern Demons can pinch second position away from Fulham United and secure a double chance final six finals series spot provided the Reds defeat 10th-placed Mount Barker United at Cornerstone College this Saturday afternoon and Adelaide University continue their winning form by upsetting Fulham.
However, the highly defensive Barker team will be no outright pushover for the travelling Andrew McMillan coached-Demons, especially after the Reds were a narrow 1-0 scoreboard winner back in round 11 and in last season’s corresponding final round the Cornerstone College outfit defeated the Reds 2-1.
The Demons have lots to gain and nothing to lose in Saturday’s final minor round State League 2 fixture where the Reds should see the return of forward Jaylan Capurso and also left wing back Chris Annese, however is not expected to be without their injured captain Daniel Cox.
Meanwhile the McMillan-coached Demons will probably need to start playing their best soccer as it was when it once led the league ladder and the Reds are several games in arrears from its first half performance but no doubt enjoying the club’s very best season for many years.
It’s a matter of winning against Mount Barker this Saturday afternoon, enjoying its long trip home and getting ready for its first home final against either Eastern United or Adelaide Vipers at Byrne Park.
NORTHERN DEMONS RESERVES & UNDER 18s
The Northern Demons by all rights should win their two early games at Cornerstone College this Saturday after having played two impressive games against the strong Playford City teams last week.
The Reserves won 1-0 and the Under 18s drew 1-1 in those games, while Mount Barker United lost 0-7 and drew 2-2 to the Adelaide Cobras and the Demons are more strongly placed on both ladders whereas Barker hold seventh and ninth spots.
It would be ideal should all three Reds team win all games on Saturday.