VIPERS FC 3, NORTHERN DEMONS 0
ADELAIDE VICTORY 3, ADELAIDE COBRAS 1
ADELAIDE HILLS 0, PLAYFORD CITY 2
NORTHERN DEMONS 3, ADEL UNIVERSITY 0
EASTERN UNITED 0, VIPERS FC. 1
ADELAIDE HILLS 2, PLAYFORD CITY 0
The Northern Demons league team lost their elimination final last Saturday afternoon against the same opposition that it proved so tenacious against when it drew just three weeks ago again in Adelaide. The Reds this time, and when it counted most, was way off line and never produced nor repeated that gutsy effort as it failed to fight its way back into the final.
In the past two more recent soccer seasons the Demons that have now played in three State League 2 final games have yet to win either home or away. However, the Demons Reserves on the same afternoon had much better luck when it defeated Adelaide University 3-0 to keep their finals race alive.
Demons lose and exit finals
The Northern Demons had no double chance this time and Saturday’s 0-3 elimination final loss against Vipers FC at the Adelaide Shores venue proved a quick exit for the Joel Porter coached Port Pirie soccer team that probably should have accomplished more from the West Beach final after a solid soccer season. The Demons lacked fight and tenacity like it had displayed so well when it drew 1-1 with Vipers FC at St Clair Oval just weeks ago and raising hopes that the visiting Reds would perform at an optimum and really challenge the Woodville outfit even stronger that has now topped the head-to-head stats between the two.
And strangely enough it had been the Demons that tasted scoring first when a good floating Andrew McMillan right freekick into the Vipers box sailed over all players before the Reds scampered the ball in the net and a quick score, but with referee Nicholas Quirk conferred with his linesman the goals was disallowed due to a handball in the jam-packed penalty area. On Saturday, Reds coach Joel Porter played a more experienced starting eleven except for young gloveman Jaikob Matthews who had a first half blip but the result by no means being his fault at Adelaide Shores synthetic pitch that should have suited the Reds more in the elimination final played in cold and windy conditions.
And it was at the 13th minute that the Reds fell a goal behind in similar circumstances to when the teams met three weeks ago when against the run of play the Vipers scored to get a stronger grip on the elimination final contest. It was a good goal to Hudson Proudman who beat Matthews with a low left shot in the Demons goals and then an easier goal to captain Nicholas Stefanopoulos for 2-0 that gave the Vipers a strong hold on the final and plenty of confidence for the second period in tricky weather where in the teams’ previous game the Demons almost overtook the home team in a spirited second half performance.
However, when speaking to the Demons coach Joel Porter over the weekend there were no positives about the final and there was little else he could say except that the Reds had no excuse, his team was mentally not switched on and very little to show about a finals appearance.
But Porter, who was shocked at the Demons overall performance and that most players played bad games, did indicate the Reds on Saturday played their worse game at the wrong time and one that probably very much surprised Vipers coach Peter Stefanopoulos. Nevertheless, it was an unfortunate and messy second goal at the 44th minute that made a statement especially with the Adelaide outfit scoring goals against the wind where a 0-2 deficit gave the Northern Demons an almost impossible task by playing a brand of soccer that offered no scoreboard pressure and how the visitors were playing.
Match winners like top goal scorer Chris Mara, midfielder Mateusz Marcuzuk, Jacob Sakoulidis never featured for the Reds and it was left to too few Reds players in Andrew McMillan and Damien Introna. Last Saturday’s first half at Adelaide Shores would have worried Reds coach Joel Porter in a performance that was well below for locals who had played out an impressive string of seven undefeated games going into last Saturday’s final.
The second period showed no signs of a Demons fightback like last time and with the wind in their backs the Adelaide team had demonstrated all game how well it contained the Demons, and even though Porter substituted last season’s top scorer Marco Balsamo with young Joshua Spadavecchia at the 65th minute it was busy Jimmy Okello who had earlier copped a yellow card and bee a menace all afternoon that made it 3-0 at the 85th minute. Indeed the Demons would have sorely missed Pranav Kotra in goals but the 0-3 loss came simply and due to the Northern Demons not performing for a game of soccer that it should have against its rivals.
BEST PLAYERS – NORTHERN DEMONS: A.McMillan, D.Introna, J.Scoot, D.Cox. VIPERS FC: N.Sefanopoulos, V.Riviere, H.Proudman, J.Okello.
GOAL SCORERS – VIPERS FC: H.Proudman 13th, N.Stefanopoulos 44th, J.Okello 85th.
Reserves' finals hopes still alive
The John Louis Bellifemini coached Northern Demons Reserves on Saturday afternoon defeated Adelaide University in one of two elimination finals to keep their finals hopes alive at Smith Partners Stadium. The Reds Reserves who once again have had a strong soccer season saw the Modbury final being goalless at halftime in a contest that both teams went head-to-head before a big change came over the game and a top Demons result. The University team played their best and senior goalkeeper before three unanswered Northern Demons goals killed off the elimination final.
Reds goals to proven goal scorer Peter Capurso at the 60th minute followed by a 65th minute goal to Nathan Introna made it 2-0 before a late goal to James Spadavecchia made the end score line 3-0 for the Demons. The best players for the progressive Demons finalist went to James Pisani, goalkeeper Michael Roros and Jake Noble.
NORTHERN DEMONS: J.Pisani, M.Roros, J.Noble, P.Capurso.
NORTHERN DEMONS: P.Capurso, N.Introna, J.Spadavecchia.
State League 2 - RESERVES
NORTHERN DEMONS v VIPERS FC
@ The Parks Football Centre – Angle Vale
PLAYFORD CITY v ADELAIDE HILLS
@ Ramsay Park – Elizabeth
Demons Can Win This Final Too
The Northern Demons Reserves team that last Saturday eliminated Adelaide University from this season's finals with a strong second half 3-0 win at Modbury will return to Adelaide to take on Vipers FC in another winnable game of soccer. At the time of print the venue was likely to be Parks Football Centre at Angle Vale.
The Reds can win this final too going on the full season results and final ladder endings in a game that will assure some entertaining finals soccer when two even combinations go head-to-head in what can possibly be a defining and crucial step to the grand final.
Last week’s opening to the finals series saw a narrow 1-0 win to Vipers FC over Eastern United, Adelaide Hills defeated Playford City 2-0 and the Demons impressive win over Adelaide University.
The John Louis Bellifemini coached Demons Reserves have had a top soccer season generally and on Saturday plays a team that it drew 1-1 in round 21 just recently after the Reds won 2-1 back in round 11 at Byrne Park.
And last week the Demons 3-0 win will be stacked up against the Vipers unexpected 1-0 win over the favoured Eastern United team and on a weekend that did see Adelaide Hills defeat minor premiers Playford City also. For the Demons, another win in this ‘finals series’ will be crucial to the locals challenging either the Hills or Playford for a grand final berth and right now it’s the Adelaide Hills who find themselves two goals down in the major playoffs.
For the Demons, goalkeeper Michael Roros, tearaway goal scorer Peter Capurso, experienced defender Nick Capurso and Slade Petry will be the Reds' leading quartet against the Vipers.
In the meantime, the Northern Demons Reserves who finished fourth can win Saturday’s second elimination final against the sixth-placed season Vipers before we probe into what’s coming next week.
- JOHN BELLIFEMINI