Cassandra Treppiedi reviews Saturday's bottom of the table clash at The Paddocks.
The Para Hills men have been knighted with their first win of the season, following a 2-1 triumph over Adelaide United in Round 5 of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues at The Paddocks on Saturday.
New signing, Yohei Matsumoto provided a magical touch, netting two lethal goals for the hosts to ultimately secure the three points, in what was a crucial clash between the two teams at the foot of the table, who battled until the end.
Despite Adelaide United who grabbed the ascendency early with an explosive lead through striker, Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, they were not able to hold the Knights down.
The Knights went out to protect their home ground, although it was an even affair, given their positions on the National Premier League ladder.
With both sides down to 10 men at stages of the match, it was final execution on goal that proved the difference between who shielded their glory by the finale.
— Adelaide United YT (@aufc_YouthTeam) March 18, 2017
There were countless chances at either end throughout the first half, with Adelaide United Captain, Josh Mori getting off to a flying start, along with Lachlan Brook, who had his first attempt on goal skew off target.
Matsumoto and Alex Mullen were also lively, a delivery put Mullen through on goal, only for the forward to lob it over the crossbar from close range.
It took 11 minutes for United to open the scoring, with an anticipating Stamatelopoulos who sliced through defence to fire past Knights ‘keeper, Timothy Ramsey, in galvanising fashion.
The Para Hills cavalry were able to set up an alacritous Matsumoto, who equalised within four minutes of the opener, with an expertly weighted shot to beat Reds goalkeeper, Isaac Richards.
A great pass by Alex Mullen graced Dylan Centrone with an opportunity to lead, but that effort would be his last of the match, as he received his marching orders in the 44th minute.
Seconds before the half time whistle, the magical Matsumoto fired a piercing shot from the wing, into the top left corner, in which United had no armour to defend against, sending shockwaves throughout the ground.
A hat-trick for Matsumoto looked certain when the second half commenced, but his goal was ruled offside.
Sparking the bravery within the Adelaide side, Brook and Ryan Strain had two close chances, merely missing the target to get themselves back on level terms.
Tyler Bailey clinched the ball inside the 18-yard-box, looking to tap into goal, but Paul Wilson stood firm on the goal line to clear the danger.
In the latter moments of the match, Stamatelopoulos was eager to find the desired equaliser, with an acute turn, his shot went wide of the left post. Brook then hit past a flurry of Knights defenders, only for his shot to go wide once more.
The Para Hills crusade did not stop their firing, with tantalising chances that could have seen them win by more.
A noble Para Hills Knights Captain, Matthew Mullen, said the win was important and a crucial morale booster to set a positive tone for the side.
”The win today was huge for us, we need the morale and especially the momentum,” he said.
“It was really crucial to get the win as it was a bottom of the table clash, and a loss would have set up the rest of our season quite negatively.
“The momentum from this win is really important for us, moving forward.”
Mullen mentioned that the Knights now have their full squad at the helm, which will bring even more confidence for the rest of the season.
“We are very confident, and it also helps that we now have a full squad, as there had been players out through suspension and overseas commitments.
“Now they are all back, we are at full strength, and we are much more confident with everything, and our abilities.
“Today was the first time everyone was back, so morale is high and we are definitely ready to take on the top six.”
Mullen believes his side were the better team on the park, but says it will be important to execute more opportunities on goal, for a chance to make it to finals.
“We were definitely the better side today, and had the better chances to score.
“Now it is really important to start finishing off those chances, as it will be quite dangerous and then we can push for the finals.”
In Round 6, Para Hills will travel to Marden Sports Complex to face Adelaide Blue Eagles, while Adelaide United visit the Riverland for their clash with West Adelaide.
Written by Cassandra Treppiedi
Photo by Daria Shanta