R2 Wrap: Para Hills Knights v Campbelltown City

Campbelltown City came from a goal down to beat Para Hills 5-2 in round two of the South Australia Playstation4 National Premier League on Monday night.

Kento Hara and Michael Matricciani bagged themselves a brace each in a game that was very much a repeat of the two sides’ first encounter of last season.

The contest was a classic example of the idiom, ‘a game of two halves,’ as Sherwin Emmanuel opened the scoring at The Paddocks for the home side inside the first fifteen minutes of the game, before a stretch of three goals in the space of ten minutes shortly after the half time interval put the game beyond doubt for the visitors.

Para Hills’ coach Simon Catanzaro would later state that the opening ten minutes of the second half was the worst he had encountered in his four year coaching career at the club.

“We played good for first 45 minutes, but then four goals in ten minutes and my boys just went to sleep,” he said.

“At halftime I think they came in and thought they’d maybe won the game, and didn’t come out with the right frame of mind, which is very disappointing.”

Head coach of Campbelltown, Joe Mullen, attributed an increase in tempo after halftime as being key in snatching the three points.

“I thought in the second half we just moved the ball a lot quicker, and that was our intent at halftime,” he said.

“If we could move the ball quicker we would make some spaces in between the lines and our players got in those spaces.

“You have got to give credit where it’s due though. Para Hills in that first half found some good space and they moved us around, but second half was a terrific performance from us.”

Para Hills looked at ease for the majority of the first half, enjoying large spells of possession and playing a fluent passing game that saw Campbelltown struggle to contain.

The opener came after Yuto Nagai was brought down on the corner of Campbelltown’s eighteen yard box. Frank Marafioti stepped up for the set piece and whipped in a teasing delivery that met the head of Emmanuel at the back post.

Campbelltown came close to levelling a while later after a well-rehearsed set piece provided a goal scoring opportunity, but could only find the side netting.

Para Hills had a glorious opportunity to go up by two goals after Jacob Williams was sent through on goal but was denied after a spectacular double save by Campbelltown keeper Matthew Moore.

That was arguably the turning point of the game, as Campbelltown started to work their way back into it heading in to the break.

Whatever Joe Mullen said to Campbelltown during half time worked, as City hit the ground running from the start of the second half.

Kento Hara kicked off a scoring spree early on after the ball found its way to his feet after a flick on from Luigi Ditroia, which was drilled into the bottom corner to tie it up at one a piece.

Minutes later, Michael Matricciani found the back of the net on the volley after his strike partner Rhys Townsend headed back across goals into his path. Townsend would be rewarded shortly after, as he guided the ball into the back of the net with the deft of touches from a free kick that evaded everyone.

Hara got his second not long after, as Jake Monaco worked his way towards goal only to cut it back to the penalty sport for an easy tap in.

Ben De Bono grabbed a consolatory goal for the home side with a header, but it meant little, as Matricciani finished off a well worked team build up to grab his second and his sides fifth.

The win sees Campbelltown jump to third place, two points behind leaders Blue Eagles.

Article by Brendan Simpkins




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