WT Birkalla vs Para Hills Knights
Venue: VALO Football Centre – The Parks
Date: 8/07/2018 03:00 PM

WT Birkalla: 1. Alexander Woodlands (GK), 4. Christopher Ashwood, 6. Anastas Kristo, 7. Fumiya Suzuki, 10. Ian Kamau, 11. Dylan D’Agostino, 14. Oliver Zafiridis, 15. Oluwanisola Abolaji, 17. William Plush, 18. Tomas Maricic, 20. Jasper Kelley, 25. Anthony Quici, 29. Davide Zerillo, 35. Jordan Maricic, 80. John-Paul Cirillo (C)
Coaches: Simon Catanzaro, Emanuel Pais, Neil Tate
Team Staff: Barney Smith, Jessie Hartley, Roger Williamson

Para Hills Knights: 1. Timothy Ramsey (GK), 2. Carter Bailey, 3. Matthew Marchioro, 5. Hirofumi Kochi, 6. David Biar, 7. Yamin Jamal, 8. Shinya Yoshida, 9. Michael Ndjekompte, 10. Luke Colalancia, 11. Andrew Butler, 12. Chante Mayol, 13. Deale Chamberlain, 15. Pierce Stephens, 16. Bailey Truscott, 17. Mohammed Sumaoro, 18. Pietro Piantedosi, 20. Todd Leahy, 21. Isaac Mullen
Coaches: Darrell Avery, Mark Ellul, Jamie Ocego-Kingsley
Team Staff: Geoff Sullivan, Dwayne Hall

Last time they met:
2018 NPL Round 7 – Para Hills Knights 2 – 1 WT Birkalla

Sunday afternoon will see West Torrens Birkalla take on Para Hills Knights at VALO Football Centre.

The Birkalla Senior team are ‘keeping the faith’ according to Oliver Zafiridis, who has shared his thoughts on Sunday’s 3-2 loss to league leaders, Campbelltown City.

“After the game on Sunday we were shattered,” he said.

“Everyone worked so hard and to give away a 2-goal lead in the first half was very unfortunate.

Photo by Adam Butler, 2018

Para Hills knights endured a round 17 loss, as they went down 3-1 to Adelaide Comets at home. Andrew Butler was able to get a goal back in the 75th minute, but it wasn’t enough to spark a comeback for Darrell Avery’s side.

Birkalla have slipped back into the relegation zone, sitting in 11th. They started the season in horrid fashion, but towards the midway point of the season, they were able to lift themselves out of the bottom two. Para on the other hand have moved into 8th, but only four points separates them and their round 18 opponents.

Zafiridis commented on his team’s position on the ladder, saying “Obviously everyone feels that we don’t deserve to be where we are on the ladder but that is how it stands, so we just have to deal with it in these last 5 games.

“For the situation we are in and how the season has panned out for us, we’ve just constantly taken it game by game without looking too far ahead.

“Credit to our group of boys for sticking together and the faith that we have from our coach, coaching staff and all the good people around the club which has helped a lot; I believe that will shine through in this last push to finish the year strongly.”

Sunday began with a goal from Will Plush in the 3rd minute of the match, followed by a successful strike from Dylan D’Agostino at the 11-minute mark.

Unfortunately for Birkalla, in-form side Campbelltown responded with their own successful shots at 33 minutes, 38 minutes and again at the 44-minute mark to seal the win.

Photo by Adam Butler, 2018

Zafiridis says despite the result, his side takes positives from the match.

“We know that Campbelltown are a high-quality team and top of the league for a reason,” he said.

“We matched them on and off the ball with a goalless second half and all of us really felt like at least a draw would’ve been fair.

“Moments proved the quality we have as a unit, so we will continue to stick together like we have, stay positive, train hard and work hard and we all still believe things will turn.

“To be honest, we’re still looking at a chance to play finals if we can put away the chances we get.”

Last time the two sides met, Para were victorious at home. In round 18, Avery and his side travelled to VALO Football Centre, where they look to make it two from two in the 2018 season.

“Looking at Para Hills, we know that it is a mini grand final for us, as is every week now until we finish the year,” said Zafiridis.

“They’ve picked up a few good wins throughout the year and we know that they’ll fight hard right to the end so it’s not going to be an easy game at all.

“I think what will be looked at most from Sunday’s game will be just keeping that high intensity effort as a whole and not losing our concentration in important moments during the game.

Round 7 saw the two sides level at one a piece, but in the 81st minute, Andrew Butler broke the hearts of Birkalla. His strike put Para Hills in front and made sure his side collected all three points on the day.

It may have been an unlucky result for Catanzaro’s side and a points should’ve been shared, but that’s football.

Both clubs must re-focus after their round 17 loss and look forward to next five games to keep their seasons alive.

Zafridis is keeping positive, along with his team mates, with hope Birkalla can get out of the drop zone and still play top flight football next year.

“Everyone in the club has been as positive as we can, and training hasn’t dropped off one bit, so continuing with this attitude and some fine tuning will get us a long way to winning on the weekend and climbing up the ladder to finish the year strongly.

Written by Arija Molitor