It was not the result the Northern Demons wanted in Saturday’s mid-season State League 2 soccer clash at Byrne Park when the Reds lost 0-1 in an expected and usual tight and hectic affair against the visiting Vipers FC where the two teams added more of the same from last season in the duo's short association at this league level of soccer.
The Peter Stefanopoulos coached Vipers went one better than last season’s goalless draw when a second half goal was enough to win at Byrne Park this time against a Demons outfit that unfortunately could not play three regular players last Saturday afternoon.
It was a contest that the Vipers avenged its recent narrow loss against the Cobras and one that the Joel Porter coached Demons was unable to maintain its winning form of late on an afternoon the round 11 fixture had consequences for both teams. Saturday’s narrow one goal win result puts the Vipers in fourth and the Demons in fifth place on the ladder and the Reds two games it still has to play are suddenly precious for the locals after the State League ladder identified an early ‘top six’ combination with big wins going to both league leaders Playford who defeated Uni SA FC 6-0 and the Cobras 5-0 win over Modbury Vista.
The Demons went into Saturday’s game without the injured James Capurso who will now miss up to six games, while both Mateusz Marczuk and Jaikob Sakoulidis did not play for personal commitments and into the team came Steve Pepper, Peter Capurso and Slade Petry. However, when speaking to Demons coach Porter he hinted that there was no excuse about the loss to the Vipers and said his defence was sound, but in attack his team was not good before indicating the visitors played the better soccer in the tight encounter that the locals lacked imagination – Porter described the last fifteen minutes as the Reds' best period.
It was Vipers Alessandro Palombaro’s 60th minute goal that won the game and it all come about when the Demons' backs failed to stop a short corner that ended with a shot and the goal past the unsighted Demons goalkeeper Pranav Kotra for the Adelaide team’s first and only Byrne Park’s scoreboard advantage to the visitors.
It was the Reds gloveman only second goal conceded in his five games since taking over from young Demons goalkeeper Jaikob Matthews who started off the season in goals for the Byrne Park team, and on Saturday left wing Sho Fujimoto collected his coach’s first best players votes along with Andrew McMillan and Daniel Lobasso.
BEST PLAYERS – DEMONS: S.Fujimoto, A.McMillan, D.Lobasso, D.Introna. VIPERS FC: H.Proudman, A.Williams, J.Okello, J.Marusus.
GOAL SCORERS – VIPERS FC: A.Palombaro.
The winning sequence created by the Demons Reserves and Under 18s teams was finally broken last Saturday at Byrne Park after having completed four continuous rounds of winning soccer when the Reds' young 18s team drew 1-1 after the Reserves had won their game 2-1 against Vipers FC. Both early games were tough and the Reserves had to come back from trailing 0-1 at half time to score two unanswered second half goals to take the points against the strong visiting Vipers outfit. Things were tough in the opening game as well when the two Under 18s teams were level at 1-1 at the long break and neither could improve their scores as both settled for a draw.
Rd. No.11 RESULTS
NORTHERN DEMONS 0, VIPERS F.C. 1
Gawler Eagles 0, Adelaide Hills 1
Adelaide Cobras 5, Modbury Vista 0
Adelaide Victory 3, Adelaide University 1
Eastern United 3, Mount Barker 0
Playford City 6, Uni SA FC 0
Rd. No.12 – FIXTURES
ADELAIDE VICTORY V NORTHERN DEMONS
Playford City v Adelaide Cobras
Gawler Eagles v Vipers F.C.
Adelaide University v Uni SA FC
Eastern United v Adelaide Hills
Mount Barker v Modbury Vista
Repeat season performance
The Northern Demons who played finals football last season will repeat that season performance again when comparing the two soccer seasons and current results especially with the Reds having the luxury of having two games in hand and by all accounts both tipped to be wins against Mount Barker and Gawler Eagles.
The Porter coached local Reds realistically have won seven games and the prediction of adding another two copies the Demons' 2017 soccer season at the same time suggesting Porter has done his job even though one thinks he cannot settle his week in week out team.
A mirror sequence of results will see the Northern Demons play finals on their debut Byrne Park modernized soccer venue where the synthetic surface has been good but has not advantaged the locals as you would think it would if you look at all the statistics.
The Demons are all systems go and should the run home in fixture results remain consistent the Reds will be looking forward to playing finals football again.
Repeat win against Victory?
Another tough game faces the Demons this Saturday when it is away to Adelaide Victory at Rushworth Reserve before the Reds again are away to top team Playford City the following week and after having narrowly lost to Vipers 0-1 last week it is testing times for both Reds coach Porter and his Byrne Park team. The Demons and Victory are now separated by only one point on a State League 2 ladder that currently is all over the place with several teams needing to play catch-up games with the Reds having to play Mount Barker and Gawler Eagles.
But the Demons have one proven aspect favouring it having already defeated the now Yianni Stavropoulos coached Victory 6-3 back in round four at Byrne Park, the Adelaide team since then has changed their mentor with former coach Jim Karatzas now coaching Premier League soccer. However, that game ballooned out into an easy Demons win on that occasion and the Reds will be trying to repeat that again after that early round contest was all level at 3-3 at halftime and a real contest eventuating for the Reds.
But some deadly attacking soccer quickly in the second half and a hattrick of goals to leading Reds goal scorer Chris Mara completely changed that game strongly in the Demons favour as the Reds kicked three unanswered goals and won convincingly back in March. Victory have been more than adequate since then having won four, drawn once and lost twice whereas they Demons have won three, drawn and lost once, but having played two fewer games than their Adelaide opponents.
The big inclusion for the Demons this week will be strong midfielder Mateusz Marczuk who will be back in Porter’s starting 11 after missing out last week in the Demons loss to the Vipers at home last Saturday. While the Demons lost, Adelaide Victory defeated Adelaide University 3-1 with George Katsigiannis scoring twice and David Tallandira the third in a game of soccer all four goals arrived in the second period of play at Rushworth Reserve.
Victory’s aim this season is to perform well and return to the higher division it was relegated from last season, and right now the Adelaide team is in sixth spot only one point behind the Demons and last time the two met it was a super second half of soccer that destroyed them. It will be a tricky game for Porter’s team and the last two games suggest the Demons badly need a big confidence boosting win, and with no James Capurso and a Steve Pepper that’s yet to show his best for the Reds need to be careful about this Saturday’s game. But then if Chris Mara reproduces his scoring expertise again the Demons will win and leave Adelaide Victory putting its top six spot in jeopardy.
Fast rising second-placed Northern Demons Reserves take on eighth-placed Adelaide Victory away on Saturday and should win another straight game, while the Demons Under 18s will face a harder contest when fourth and fifth teams clash at Rushworth Reserve.
Last week the Demons won and drew and Adelaide lost 0-5 in the Reserves against Adelaide University and the Under 18s won 4-2, and there is no doubt the first game of the afternoon will be the toughest for the Demons against the home team this Saturday.
Meanwhile the Reds Reserves progress after a slow season start has been tremendous and is only three points behind Playford City that lead the ladder.