Adelaide United move four points clear of the relegation zone after Hamish McCabe’s winner against Adelaide Blue Eagles in Round 18 of the PlayStation 4 National Premier League at Marden Sports Complex on Saturday.
The Reds dominated for the first half an hour of the battle, before letting Adelaide Blue Eagles seep back in for the fragment of the last 15 minutes.
It was clear the Young Reds wanted the win more when they walked out for the second half, as they dominated their opponents all over the park.
The Reds hit the woodwork four times, until a well-deserved goal was slotted in by Hamish McCabe with only minutes left.
The 1-0 win over the Azzurri meant the world to United, as this huge win now clears them out of the drop zone with four games remaining.
Nathan Konstandopoulos sought out an early goal, breaking through the defence, but was unable to get a clear shot.
Pacifique Niyongabire also found plenty of space to slot a through ball to McCabe, but although a great effort, was not any threat to Blue Eagles ‘keeper, John Solari.
On the 30th minute mark, Konstandopoulos came close but missed the mark, following a direct pass from McCabe.
Chris Christofilos had a chance for the home side, but his shot crept off target.
Adelaide United continued to press, and what looked a sure-fire lead, fell through as Konstandopoulos miss-directed his one-on-one opportunity.
However, his shot found an anticipating Niyongabire but his tap-in missed the back of the net.
Five minutes into the second period, McCabe sent a ball into the penalty area for Niyonagbire who was again unfortunate as his tap-in was saved off the line.
In the 55th minute, Konstandopoulos whipped a great ball in for McCabe, but his volley smashed the crossbar.
The Young Reds continued to run at their opposition, piecing together passes and making crucial forward runs with quick pace.
And in the 88th minute, an in-swinging free-kick by Ryan Strain found Zak Waters, whose in-bound header fell to McCabe, who chested the ball down to sting the back of the net with great anticipation.
Adelaide United Head Coach, Huss Skenderovic was ecstatic with the three points, and said that his side could have definitely won by more, but got the job done in the end.
“From the character of the team to be able to keep a clean sheet with what was riding on the game and to stay within their structural elements of grinding out a win, I think we demonstrated that today,” he said.
“Again, we created so many chances but there is no answer for it, we take it to a certain point and we don’t finish.
“And we hit the post several times, and created chances in which the defenders had blocked or it ricocheted, and that’s football, but we just have to be more clinical in front of goal.
“We don’t want to be fighting and scrounging to grind out a result when we have had chances.
“And we had done that to many teams this season, and if we had taken our chances we could have been in the top four.
“At the end of the day, we did get one today which was positive and it was enough to win.”
Looking ahead to the end of the season, Skenderovic said every game is important to prove why his side belongs in the competition.
“We will treat every game as if it is a final now, because we want to be able to demonstrate consistency, and in the last four games we want to solidify ourselves comfortably.
“We want to finish off on a high, and we have shown we belong in the NPL, and we will play these last four games with even more fight.”
Next week, Adelaide United face a second-placed MetroStars at TK Shutter Reserve.
Adelaide United 2
Adelaide Blue Eagles 0