United delights in ANZAC Day special

Adelaide United has reinforced its hold at the top of the RAA NPL SA table, with two consecutive victories in Rounds 8 and 9.

Adelaide United has reinforced its hold at the top of the RAA NPL SA table, with two consecutive victories in Rounds 8 and 9.

The Young Reds first dispatched of FK Beograd 3-0 on Saturday, before a hard-fought 1-2 win over Campbelltown played out on ANZAC Day Tuesday in a quick turnaround of games.

Steve Woodcock Sports Centre was brought to a standstill as players and supporters paused before kick-off to recognise the memories and efforts of those who have served and continue to serve.

The win marked three in a row for United’s young Seniors, who are rapidly improving against experienced competition week by week.

Three days prior, Saturday’s victory was capped by a superb, last minute free-kick by Luke Duzel that caused early raptures for United’s contingent. Duzel also scored the last goal to see off Campbelltown in a physical encounter.

Youth Head Coach, Airton Andrioli, was particularly pleased that his Young Reds were able to resist and rise against a stern Campbelltown challenge.

“Campbelltown is not an easy place to go and play by any means,” he said.

“They have so much experience and ex-A-League players who were really focussed on making things difficult for us.

“That’s exactly what we want for these young boys at our Club, to face these challenging environments and players who have been around for a long time.

“Campbelltown did not want to lose this game so I’m especially proud of the fight that we showed to dig in, stand up, and keep the result in our favour.”

It was a successful two games right through the NPL ranks, with the Reserves also claiming consecutive wins; 2-1 over Beograd (Luka Blazevic 46′, Mohammed Hassan 83’) and 1-2 against Campbelltown (Patrick McGregor 39′, Jacob Thang 81’).

Crawford’s comeback:
Much to the delight of young midfielder Harry Crawford and his team, he marked his third game back from a serious knee injury with a goal in the Seniors against Beograd on Saturday.

Crawford impressed in a few pre-season games with United’s first team, scoring against Adelaide Cobras last September, before a knee injury cruelly struck him down.

Born in 2007, Crawford is one of Adelaide’s youngest players with the world quite literally at his feet.

Andrioli was delighted with Crawford’s return and his future potential in the game.

“I’m very, very pleased for Harry and to see him back and doing well after so long on the sidelines,” he said.

“He scored with just about his second touch in the game and he was so lively in his 20 minutes off the bench.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing him get more opportunities and continue his full recovery to 90 minutes of football and further development.”

Crawford is an ‘extremely quick’ winger who will be especially helpful for United come the pointy end of the season.

Duzel dazzles:
Midfielder Luke Duzel responded to his late withdrawal from the Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s squad that travelled to Perth with an extraordinary direct free-kick from range against Beograd.

Duzel has shone in the NPL since his move to Adelaide from Western United in the January transfer window and has been putting his hand up to feature in the A-League since he made his debut off the bench against Victory at the end of February.

Andrioli has been impressed with his progress.

“Luke is an outstanding player that has some attributes that not many players have,” he said.

“His ability to play in tight areas, pick up passes, and execute passes is second to none.

“He probably still doesn’t know 80 per cent of the names of the NPL boys because he doesn’t train with us, but you can see the way we celebrated the free-kick that he has left an impression already.

“My message to him is that he keeps working now because he’s definitely got something about him.”

Duzel has made a further case for selection ahead of United’s final home regular game of the season against Central Coast Mariners on Friday night.

Image by Ken Carter.

Croydon contest:
United will next face Croydon Kings at Mount Barker’s Summit Sport and Recreation Park in what looms as another tough battle of the reds.

Polonia has picked up some form in recent matches after a tough start to the season, most recently beating South Adelaide Panthers 3-1 at home.

Andrioli says his players will need to raise the bar again to keep their place at the top.

“Croydon are probably not in the position they would like to be, with a good coach and a good set-up with some players who have been around for some time now,” he said.

“There’s a lot of pride in that club as well, which will contribute to the match and make it a tricky one at a neutral venue.

“Along with the concentration, hopefully we can raise the bar and let our quality shine through.”

The Reserves will kick-off Sunday football in Mt Barker at 12:45pm, followed by the Seniors at 3:00pm.

The day will include player appearances from Adelaide United’s A-League Men’s and Liberty A-League Women’s teams, and discounted merchandise for sale.

Upcoming match details:
2023 RAA NPL SA – Round 10
Adelaide United vs Croydon Kings
Sunday, 30 April 2023, Kick-off: 3:00pm (ACST)
Summit Sport and Recreation Park

Only at Coopers – Adelaide United memberships on-sale now.