Demons star forward, Mara, out with injury

The Northern Demons were agonisingly denied an invaluable win last Saturday afternoon at Byrne Park when the visiting and former Socceroo great Milan Ivanovic coached Adelaide University spoilt the party for Reds mentor Joel Porter’s team by snatching an injury time goal to draw 1-1.  

The closeness between the two teams is now even closer, where the three goal difference held by the Demons could be mean less and will count for nothing in the weeks ahead depending which team adds best to the ladder.   

The Demons took the lead as early as the 13th minute mark when Reds goal specialist, Chris Mara, converted a penalty kick and all afternoon the Northern Demons looked like protecting the gingerly winning score and three vital ladder points. Yet the buffer the Byrne Park outfit needed never came, as the Blacks were kept in the game before mounting a resolute one-man short flurry in a contest it almost won.

However, when talking to Demons coach Joel Porter following the game, he simply described his team who was the same as in the previous against Gawler as ‘one that was not smart but comfortable in a soccer contest that never reached dizzy heights’.

He continued to define Saturday’s encounter as one mainly played between respective box perimeters and a game of soccer that no one would rave about; as one did expect between the two teams that are both vying to play finals football in August.

Nonetheless the Byrne Park contest had an exciting finale to it and a result that will keep the Northern Demons on their toes in the next few weeks as it completes the State League 2 minor round.

However last Saturday’s game saw the Demons go on the offensive quickly, especially when forward Peter Capurso’s pace forced the Blacks defenders to foul and win a penalty that Chris Mara scored; sending the Reds to a 1-0 and a score line that remained at the halftime break.

The second period somewhat copied the first with the Demons trying to find a second goal that it never looked like it would. Adelaide University attempted to catch the Reds narrow lead was also what they struggled to do.

As for the Demons, indication suggest there was no standout player before coach Joel Porter was forced to bring on Jack Scoot for the injured Mara who did a hamstring at the 64th minute mark and later substituted Josh Spadavecchia for Samuel Spadavecchia at the 83rd. 

As the contest rapidly headed for the end result, it was the Adelaide University combination that rallied hard after having Michael Fighera sent off with just eight minutes remaining and quite noticeable pressure from the home team to the extent that Perez-Garcia for the Blacks found the 90+1 minute equalizer and shared the points as the two teams were forced to settle on an unfavourable note.  

Other scores saw the Cobras lose again this time to going down 1-2 to the Adelaide Hills, league leaders Playford just getting the points over Gawler with a 1-0 win, Vipers also won and Adelaide Victory thrashed Mount Barker 8-1.

BEST PLAYERS

DEMONS:  M.Balsamo, J.Spaddavechia, C.Annese, J.Sakoulidis. Adel UNIVERSITY: A. Perez- Garcia, T.Folly, J.Fighera, N.Tsiknis. 

GOAL SCORERS

DEMONS:  C.Mara (pen). Adel UNIVERSITY:  A.Perez-Garcia.

DEMONS RESERVES & UNDER 18 

The Northern Demons Reserves drew 3-3 against Adelaide University last Saturday afternoon and the Reds Under 18’s played out a strong 4-0 win against the visiting Blacks.

The Reserves were all locked up at 1-1 at the long break with Samuel Spadavecchia scoring at the 15th minute before both teams set out on winning, and while the Blacks led 3-2 it was another Nick Capurso goal that assured the Demons drew the contest after Bailey Beidenweg had scored.  

In the Under 18’s the Demons proved too strong for University transforming a 1-0 halftime lead into a 4-0 victory – Beidenweg scored as did Jake Noble with two goals and Dominic Albanese with another.

DEMONS & ADELAIDE 

The Northern Demons and Adelaide University who are level on ladder points and the Reds having a three goal better difference and who drew 1-1 last week, will battle it out to win the ‘Top Six Finals’ and last remaining available ladder berth. 

With the Demons (6th) and having five games to play and University (7th) having four games remaining it’s the Reds Catch-Up game against Mount Barker that gives the locals the big advantage to hold its spot.

PREVIEW- Round 19 

DEMONS  v  Adelaide HILLS, Byrne Park

The Northern Demons go into their third and last straight Byrne Park home game this Saturday afternoon when it takes on 3rd place Adelaide Hills. An inform opponent that last Saturday night defeated former league leaders the Adelaide Cobras 2-1 at their Woodside Hawks Nest base.

The Demons after drawing 1-1 with Adelaide University last week, will be out to tip the scales in their favour after a win and a draw from their last two home games in the last fortnight.  A win over the Hills team will be significant for the Reds.

The Joel Porter coached Demons will play out this ladder situation week by week and if his team is good enough the Reds will deservedly play finals again.

However, one thinks that the local State League team has to do everything right and take no risks, but Porter will badly miss his frontline ace goal scorer Chris Mara, that will miss at least two weeks or more with a hamstring injury that forced him off against Adelaide University last week.

In the likely starting eleven noted goal scorer and new player Jack Scoot who has played two consecutive games coming off the reserve bench certainly be an inclusion, while automatic replacements in the likes of Steve Pepper and Mateusz Marcuzuk that would very handy for the Demons right now seem unlikely.

Joel Porter has made do with having faith in his young players that have accumulated valuable senior games of late and could be forced to continue along these lines.

Meanwhile the Adelaide Hills have steadied nicely and won four of its last five games after having lost to Adelaide University 2-3 but defeating the likes of Adelaide Victory 5-0, defeated Vipers 1-0, won 5-0 against Vista and has defeated the Cobras 2-1 and Playford in a consistent run of winning results for the Craig Leith coached team.

The Demons have not been as good in the same period and the Byrne Park team need their best players to lead from the front where skipper Daniel Cox, Andrew McMillan, Marco Balsamo, Daniel Lobasso, Chris Annese and Damien Introna can be real good.

Last week, both teams led at halftime in their games with Demons being 1-0 up against Adelaide University and the Hills getting a 2-0 jump on the Cobras.   

What can be a trigger for the Northern Demons is that they did defeat the Adelaide Hills 2-0 at the Hawks Nest back in round 7 when the Reds team was beginning to gel as they anticipated a strong soccer season.

However with no Chris Mara to kick goals in this Saturday’s Byrne Park game and a fact that can well be problematic for the locals the likes of Joshua Spadavecchia, Marco Balsamo and Jack Scoot will no doubt be prime targets to feature, while keeper Pranav Kotra also will be key to the result. 

REDS RESERVES & UNDER 18’s 

The two Demons teams will be up against rather strong opposition this Saturday afternoon at Byrne Park when Reds outfits in 3rd and 5th spots on the ladder take on Adelaide Hills teams occupying 2nd and 8th positions  in the two early games that could be interesting. 

The Reserves encounter should be a beauty where the Demons 3rd go against the 2nd ranked Hills team who last week defeated the Cobras 7-0 and the 5th Demons placed Under 18’s will take on the 8th Hawks tea.