Adelaide United Youth have succumbed to a third straight defeat after a narrow 1-0 loss to Adelaide Blue Eagles at the VALO Football Centre on Saturday.
Evan Kounavelis’ clinical finish in first-half stoppage time for the ladder leaders proved the difference in an even contest.
United did have a chance to draw level with virtually the last kick of the game but Kristin Konstandopoulos saw his penalty well-saved.
Carlo Armiento and Pacifique Niyongabire were two of three changes made to the starting XI by Head Coach, Paul Pezos. Jared Clark also returned to the line-up at centre-back.
It was a slow start from both teams, indicative of the stop, start nature of the game due to several fouls.
It certainly prevented any side from gaining the momentum early into proceedings.
After about 10 minutes however, Adelaide began to settle, controlling possession but failed to manufacture any real openings.
Armiento was lively early and had a tame effort comfortably collected before seeing a free-kick from distance curl harmlessly wide.
The match again petered out as both teams continued to give little away in the cagey affair.
In the 32nd minute, Adelaide threatened again from a set-piece.
Louis D’Arrigo sent a free-kick inches wide from the inside of the post and appeared to have Blue Eagles goalkeeper Richard Goss beaten.
It looked to finish scoreless heading into the break, but that dramatically changed when Blue Eagles struck through Kounavelis in the second minute of injury time.
He capitalised on a poor defensive clearance from a cross, dispatching a low strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
The Young Reds lifted their intensity early in the second-half and Armiento had a shot from the flank which thudded off the crossbar on 51 minutes.
For the next 15 minutes, Blue Eagles were happy to let the hosts dictate the play. But Adelaide could not find a way through with Christian D’Angelo and Christopher Annicchiarico standing firm in defence, committing several interceptions and clearances.
D’Arrigo did force a diving stop out of Goss soon after, though it was courtesy of a hit from more than 30 yards out, highlighting just how difficult United Youth found it to break Blue Eagles down.
That said, the hosts were thrown a lifeline after they were awarded a penalty when Niyongabire was fouled following a coming together in the 92nd minute.
Konstandopoulos stepped up but his low spot-kick was repelled by Goss, diving to his right.
The Young Reds will look to snap their three-match losing streak against Raiders next week.
Adelaide United Youth Reserves
Adelaide United Youth Reserves maintained first place on goal difference with a resounding 6-1 win over Adelaide Blue Eagles Reserves.
Adelaide United Youth host Raiders Round 11 of the National Premier League 2019 season on Saturday, 25 May at VALO Football Centre – The Parks. Kick-off is at 3.00 PM.