Demons make finals

NORTHERN DEMONS 4 UNI SA FC 2

Gawler Eagles 1 Adelaide University 3

Playford City 3 Eastern United 0

Adelaide Victory 4 Modbury Vista 0

Mt. Barker United 1 Adelaide Hills 7

Adelaide COBRAS 0 Vipers F.C. 0

Northern Demons 3 Mt.Barker United 0

(Mt.Barker forfeit Rd.6 Catch Up Fixture – Demons win 3-0)

“The Northern Demons’ busy week did not eventuate – instead it won its catch-up game via a forfeit with a 3-0 result and then went onto win last Saturday afternoon in a game against the bottom Uni SA FC outfit that did issue the Reds with a stern challenge in Byrne Park’s final season game. Now, get ready for the finals.”

Mount Barker forfeits to Reds in catch-up game

Last Wednesday night’s planned round six catch-up game that was always going to trigger the three winning league points for the Northern Demons fizzed out to nothing when the Parks Football Centre at Angle Park night game saw Mount Barker forfeit conceding the Northern Demons a 3-0 win. 

It was that some viewed as an opportunity to climb to fifth spot with the Reds rounding the season with wins and the chance to take over from Adelaide Victory in the higher position in the top six finals series. 

However, fast forward to last weekend and the State League 2 ladder did not deviate to stop status quo with the Demons winning 4-2 to remain sixth and Victory winning 4-0 to stop in fifth.

DEMONS WIN AGAINST UNI SA IN EXCITING FASHION ON SATURDAY

Well it wasn’t a busy week as first thought for the Reds but the last game of the State League 2 season at Byrne Park provided real entertainment, much excitement and a thrilling finish to the ‘season ender’ when the Northern Demons scored two goals in the final eight minutes to defeat Uni SA FC 4-2 and now should be all set to for the finals.

But the main topic as far as the Demons will be really concerned about is the loss of top keeper Pranav Kotra who had proven to be an invaluable asset for the Reds since joining the Byrne Park team – Kotra’s departure comes due to pure personal and family reasons.

Meanwhile, the sixth-placed Demons’ scripted and expected simple home win against the cellar dweller took a different turn when the Magill Campus team opened the scoring then led 2-1 at halftime before the storming Reds finished with venom to win fearlessly in what was my first live look at the impressive renovated Byrne Park soccer venue. 

It was an eventful weekend for the club that was celebrating the undefeated 1988 NASA soccer premiership season and Saturday’s round 22 win topped up its achievements and certainly pleased the strong home crowd.

In the meantime, after Saturday’s results the league ladder saw no change and the Northern Demons will now revisit St Clair Oval to play Viper FC in an elimination final where the two statistical level head to head teams have another shot at each other. 

But it was Saturday’s game at Byrne Park that was interesting although Reds coach Joel Porter described the contest as one his team was never going to lose even though the experienced soccer mentor did make telling changes in the second half that indeed altered the context of the Byrne Park contest.     

UNI SA FC scored at the 10th minute through Harry Thomas and Jacob Sakoulidis replied five minutes later before Frank Connolly’s 30 metre thunderbolt restored the lead for the visitors as they kept surprising the Demon and took a 2-1 lead into the away dressing rooms.

The second half and the 2-1 lead to the Andres Cortes coached team was not any big surprise after the two teams played a mid-season 2-0 encounter that the Reds won.

But it was Porter’s personnel changes that came to the fore when the likes of Mateusz Marczuk went forward of midfield and the likes of skipper Daniel Cox and Chris Annese released off the reserve bench replacing the Spadavecchia duo. 

And it was quickly noticed how much the Reds lifted and played somewhat differently that led to a nice Chris Mara curling shot from outside the box from the right side into the Uni net for 2-2 at the 72nd minute.

It was now full steam ahead for the Northern Demons and when another good Chris Annese ball made the visitors box it was Uni’s Oliver Connolly that headed into his own goal giving the Demons the lead for the first time in game.

It turned out to be a ‘hurry scurry’ last ten minutes where the Demons played with confidence and had the Uni outfit very much on the back foot with Jack Scoot getting another close in goal to close the game at 4-2 for the Reds.     

BEST PLAYERS

DEMONS: A.McMillan, M.Marczuk, J.Sakoulidis, D.Introna. 

UNI SA FC: M. Stephanopoulos, C.Wulff, H.Proudman, O.Fofana. 

GOAL SCORERS

DEMONS:  J.Sakoulidis, C.Mara, TOG,  J.Scoot.

UNI SA FC: H.Thomas, F.Connolly.

DEMONS RESERVES & UNDER 18 

Both Northern Demons teams won their early games against Uni SA FC on Saturday at Byrne Park with the Reds Under 18’s thumping the Magill outfit 8-0, while the Reserves won 3-0. 

The major goal scorer in the opening game was young Pierre Hellmans with an impressive bag of 4, and singles to Ben Sciancalepore, Jake Noble, Liam Gaudio and Bailey Biedenweg.     

However, while the Demons Reserves who had James Pisani, Michael Tattoli score goals as well as an own goal kept fourth spot will play in one elimination final against Adelaide University next weekend the Under 18’s have just missed out on goal difference after finishing seventh even though it won so convincingly last Saturday.

Demons in final with Vipers

The Northern Demons will play its elimination final against Vipers FC at the Adelaide Shores Football Centre in West Beach after the Reds held their sixth spot and the Vipers kept their third position to play State League 2 finals football.

Both the Demons and Vipers have been hard to separate and records indicate how well the two matchup and this was again shown when the two drew 1-1 just three weeks ago at St Clair Oval in Adelaide – but the Demons will be forced to play a different goalkeeper this time in what could be influential to the result. 

On that occasion the Demons allowed the home team to control the first half and take a 1-0 halftime lead before the Reds retaliated in the second period to equalize in an encounter that suggests the closeness of the two finalists.   

Two wins each coupled with similar double draws and twin losses has them both level pegged and this Saturday afternoon one of the two will get the edge on the other in what is a ‘one off’ final for one of the two rival teams, but a finals encounter that does give Vipers FC the home advantage that is considered valuable. 

However, as for the Northern Demons, a new look starting eleven seems the way to go for Saturday’s elimination against Vipers FC and after plain as daylight effects in the second half last week against Uni SA FC at Byrne Park one expects changes in the Demons team for such an important finals game that the losers can go on holiday until next year.

Demons coach Joel Porter indicated earlier this week that his team will start as underdogs in the Adelaide Shores final on Saturday afternoon and he also added there will be a different team that will play the Woodville outfit this time.

However, it will be the very recent loss of the well performed goalkeeper Pranav Kotra that will probably hurt the Demons most mainly through his presence and height in the Reds defensive box that he showed so well a few weeks ago against charging Vipers offence where he kept the Demons in the game with some great keeping.

The Demons Mateusz Marczuk, Andrew McMillan, Chris Mara, Jacob Sakoulidis, and Daniel Introna will be players that are in real good form right now and if Steve Pepper and Jack Scoot can play big games at different ends of the park the Reds can restrict the Peter Stefanopoulos coached Vipers – the Demons do have their captain Daniel Cox and Chris Annese that can even start in the final and are proven performers too.

The Demons will have young Jaikob Matthews in goals and the Reds defenders will have to curtail the home team’s offensive raids like last time especially the high balls coming into his area.

 For Vipers FC it will again be strongly led by captain Nicholas Stefanopoulos, Hudson Proudman, Matthew Wallace, Chris Wulff, captain Vincent Riviere, Osman Fofana and forwards Jimmy Okello, Mantis Kosta and Augustas Williams.

Saturday’s elimination final should follow the teams usual patterns and the tightness that exists between the duo, but the Northern Demons will need to be out of the blocks quick smart and not like the last time nor last week against Uni SA FC when on both occasions conceded the lead and early goals.

It’s very different than last season when the Reds finished second and had a double chance, this time it’s a do or die affair and while the Demons can win it will be a difficult assignment although the synthetic Adelaide Shores precinct is in the Reds favour, but like Joel Porter has indicated the Reds will be the underdogs.

DEMONS RESERVES FINAL 

The John Louis Bellifemini coached Northern Demons Reserves will play Adelaide University in one of two elimination finals this Saturday afternoon in Modbury at Smith Partners Stadium with the two Reds and Port Pirie finalists playing at opposite direction in Adelaide.

In the Reserves elimination final the Demons take on a University team that it drew 3-3 with in round 18 at Byrne Park after the Reds had surprisingly  lost 1-7 in round three in Adelaide.

However, the Northern Demons since that early season defeat spiralled itself up the ladder by playing consistent and winning soccer to possie in the top six and a finals spot probably never in doubt.

In the teams’ last minor rounds just last week the Demons defeated Uni SA FC 3-0 at Byrne Park and Adelaide University defeated the Gawler Eagles 2-0 away at Karbeethan Reserve - the two teams finished equal on points and only superior goal difference favoured the Demons.

Meanwhile, depending on senior team selection their could be the high chance of Northern Demons combination playing a strong outfit this Saturday at Smith Partners Stadium where the Reds narrowly lost 0-1 to Modbury Vista way back in round one under lights. 

The Northern Demons can win this game on Saturday.

FINAL DEMONS’ SEASON RESULTS

Rd. 1 - Modbury Vista 2 Demons 4 W

Rd. 2 - Demons 3 Playford 0 W

Rd. 3 - Adel University 4 Demons 1 L

Rd. 4 - Demons 6 Adel Victory 3 W

Rd. 5 - Demons 1 Adel Cobras 1 D

Rd. 6 - Demons 3 Mount Barker 0 W

Rd. 7 - Adel Hills 0 Demons 2 W

Rd. 8 - Gawler Eagles 1 Demons 1 D

Rd. 9 - Demons 2 Eastern United 1 W

Rd.10 - Uni SA FC 0 Demons 2 W

Rd.11 - Demons 0 Vipers FC. 1 L

Rd.12 - Adel Victory 2 Demons 2 D

Rd.13 - Playford City 2 Demons 0 L

Rd.14 - Demons 3 Modbury Vista 1 W

Rd.15 - Adel Cobras 2 Demons 1 L

Rd.16 - Mount Barker 1 Demons  3 W

Rd.17 - Demons 5 Gawler Eagles 2 W

Rd.18 - Demons 1 Adel University 1 D 

Rd.19 - Demons 2 Adelaide Hills 1 W 

Rd.20 - Eastern United 0 Demons 1 W 

Rd.21 - Vipers FC. 1 Demons 1 D

Rd.22 - Demons 4 Uni SA FC 2 W

RESULTS – 13 Wins – 5 Draws – 4 Losses