A late goal from substitute Dylan Smith was enough for Adelaide City to complete a superb comeback as they defeated long-time rivals West Adelaide at Adelaide Shores on Sunday afternoon.
By Michael Barbaro (@michaelbarbz22)
The win was enough for Adelaide City to consolidate their four-point lead at the top of the PlayStation 4 National Premier League South Australia table.
It was a frantic opening to the encounter as Adelaide City pressed the visitors right away, and after nine minutes a golden chance went begging through Anthony Costa.
Mamadi Kamara’s shot was parried by West Adelaide goalkeeper Lewis Moss into the path of Costa, who fired his follow-up right into Moss.
It was a great chance for City to break the deadlock, and they were made to pay for the miss in the 26th minute through Tom Briscoe.
A West Adelaide corner was unable to be dealt with by the City defence, finding the head of Briscoe, who was unmarked in the box.
It was a massive blow to City as they had dominated the early stages of the game.
City came close to levelling the scores in the 43rd minute through Costa again, who shrugged off the West Adelaide defender before firing his shot just past the upright.
Two minutes later on the stroke of half time, however, the hosts were inches away from doubling the advantage.
Matt Bouzalas’ quick free kick found Briscoe in the attacking third, who waltzed past three City defenders before slotting the ball past City’s Luke Ostbye – before rebounding and striking both uprights.
The hosts went into the break with the one goal cushion.
After the break, tempers began to flare in the encounter, as West Adelaide’s Vlassis appeared discontent with Costa’s challenge on him, leading to a mini-scuffle between the two teams with referee Daniel Goodwin issuing Vlassis and Kamara with yellow cards.
Six minutes later, scores were level.
Centre-back Paul Blefari sent a long ball over the top through to Evan Kostopoulos, and despite the pressure of two Hellas defenders, the winger was able to slot it home through the legs of Moss.
Damian Mori seemed eager to find a winner, by replacing Joseph Costa and Mamadi Kamara with Thomas Love and Dylan Smith respectively.
It was City who continued to press the hosts in search for the winning goal, and substitute Thomas Love came close to giving City the lead.
He connected with Costa for a quick one-two, but couldn’t slot his shot past Moss, who again parried the ball to safety.
But finally, in the 85th minute, City found a way past the Hellas defence.
Anthony Costa worked hard on the byline to beat West Adelaide defenders before firing a cut back into the six yard box to substitute Dylan Smith.
Smith then placed the ball into the bottom corner and sent the City faithful into raptures with the goal.
The goal ensured City took home the three points, and finished the first half of the NPL SA season four points ahead of second-placed Comets.
Adelaide City host Campbelltown next week in the historic home double header.