R2 Wrap: West Adelaide v West Torrens Birkalla

West Adelaide grabbed a first win of the season in a 4-2 result against 10-man West Torrens Birkalla in Round 2 of the South Australia PlayStation4 National Premier League at Adelaide Shores Football Centre on Friday. 

Ryan Kitto gave Birkalla the lead, but the match was level at half time thanks to Tom Briscoe. Robby Lippett completed the turnaround shortly after the interval, with Briscoe getting a controversial second. 

John Paul Cirillo converted a penalty, but Birkalla had David Thornton sent off and Cirillo missed his second attempt from the spot. Briscoe then completed his hat-trick. 

West Adelaide coach Paul Pezos said after a slow start his side controlled proceedings. 

“I thought we got better as the match went on. They were fresher early on, but overall it was a good performance from the guys,” Pezos stated. 

“After the 20 minute mark we were in control of the game. They got a couple of dubious penalties and nearly equalised, but then we got the fourth to seal it. 

“You always want to score, to be clinical in the final third. Tom did well, but it’s not just about him. It’s also about the service into the strikers and we did that well.” 

West Torrens Birkalla coach Steve Degiovaniello was unhappy with West Adelaide’s third goal, but proud of the effort shown by his team. 

“I couldn’t be prouder. I thought we were fantastic and desperately unlucky,” he said. 

“Our boys can walk away with their heads held high. We showed great character when down to 10 and the score does not reflect how the match went. 

“We do need to take our chances. They did in the first half, we didn’t. We need to learn to bury teams when we are on top, but we’ll get better.” 

Ryan Kitto gave Birkalla the perfect start, cutting on to his left foot on the edge of the penalty area, evading another defender and slotting his low shot into the far corner. 

West Adelaide were level on the half hour mark when Alex Rideout cut the ball back for Briscoe to sweep home at the near post. 

The Blue and Whites took the lead in the 52nd minute when Ricardo Da Silva’s corner was met by the head of defender Lippett. It was his first goal for his new club. 

They extended the advantage 120 seconds later, but controversy surrounded the goal. Birkalla felt West should have returned possession at a drop ball, but Briscoe swooped to go through on goal and finish. 

Cirillo netted from the penalty spot to reduce the deficit after a foul by Evan Metanomski on Kitto. 

Their efforts in recovering the contest were made difficult when Thornton was given his marching orders following a second yellow card. 

Yet with seven minutes to play a foul by Ryan James sent Birkalla to the spot once again. With the chance to equalise, Cirillo blasted the penalty over the bar. 

West Adelaide went down the field and James cut the ball back for Briscoe, who netted his third with a neat finish to seal the result. 

Pezos’ team have moved up to four points from their opening two matches, one ahead of Birkalla. 

Article by Luca Cetta - @l_cetta


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