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NPLSA Round 21 Recap: Young Reds fall short to Comets despite late fightback

In the penultimate round of the season, Adelaide United Youth lost 2-1 to Adelaide Comets at Jack Smith Park on Saturday.

Substitute Musa Toure was on target 12 minutes from time but the damage had already been inflicted.

Allan Welsh and Ninko Beric had the visitors two goals to the good by the 32nd minute and in fairness did not look like surrendering their lead.

The match ebbed and flowed in the second-half with Comets appearing more threatening in attack, but United Youth did halve the deficit when Toure clinically slotted a first-time finish off a low cross.

Irrespective of the defeat, the Young Reds, ninth, are safe from being relegated with their top-flight status guaranteed for another year following Raiders’ loss to Campbelltown City.

Head of Youth Football Airton Andrioli believed his side competed with Comets for large portions of the game, but was left to rue another defensive mishap.

“I believe we had a good game again,” Andrioli said.

“We did what we asked the players to do, to go out there and try to dominate the game. Control the main moments and as far that goes again we had a good performance.

“I always say to the boys that as long as we can maintain that sort of level and what we believe is best for the players’ development that’s always a plus.

“It’s been a pattern this season. If you see the number of goals we’ve scored, we’re almost matching the top scorers in the league – the highest scoring teams.

“But then we conceded too many goals and as a minimum 60 to 70% of those goals could’ve been avoided by just a little more experience and things like that, that young players make those mistakes.”

As alluded to, the Young Reds have avoided relegation ahead of the final game of the campaign against Cumberland United.

Andrioli provided his assessment of the season and felt considering how young his side they more than held their own and was pleased with the progress.

“From the start our main goal is to develop players for the future,” he said.

“So using the present moment to put those players through those experiences and hopefully that’ll pay dividends in the long run that they’ll become Adelaide United A-League players and move forward.

“As far as that goes I think we did well.

“The other thing that’s very important to mention this is one of the youngest teams we’ve ever had in the youth team.

“It’s a very, very young squad… I think the season was very good obviously we’re happy we’re not in a battle for the last game fighting relegation.

“But we also take responsibility for the way the players play this year, because many of the mistakes and goals we conceded is because we want the players to take risks.

“Obviously, it’s about finding the balance of when and when not and we speak about that.

“But there is a certain way we want to play and there is a bit of risk involved and we believe in the long-term that’s going to positive… Hopefully with a bit more experience those mistakes will become less and less and the players will benefit in the long run.

“Overall for me a good season with a very young squad and now we’re already thinking and starting planning for next year.”