R19 Wrap: West Torrens Birkalla v Modbury Jets
West Torrens Birkalla has moved to the top of the table after a 3-0 success over 10-man Modbury in Round 19 of the PlayStation 4 National Premier League South Australia at Jack Smith Park on Saturday.
Akira Miyayama netted twice after half time, with Paul Radice also on target. Earlier, John-Paul Cirillo saw his first half penalty saved by Paul Reilly, before Tim Henderson was shown a second yellow card before the interval.
Defender Haris Vuckic didn’t expect Birkalla to be leading the competition.
“Overall it was a good game and a solid performance for us. Their red card in the first half made it a lot easier for us. It was a good win,” he said.
“We did not expect to be in this position at all. At the start of the year Steve [Degiovaniello] said we had a good group. However, the aim was to make the finals after the team just avoided relegation last season.
“Now we will take it game by game. We have a chance to rest next weekend and then we have some tough games ahead of us.”
Jets captain Reilly said the red card did not aid their cause.
“We are disappointed with the outcome. We went in level at the break and it was a tight game. But playing Birkalla with 11 men is tough enough, playing with 10 is near impossible,” he stated.
“We felt comfortable until the red card. You could say it was a turning point, but we won’t use it as an excuse.
“We’ve got a week off and then an important game against Raiders. The focus immediately switches to that game.”
The home side was awarded a penalty in the 37th minute after a foul on Taro Kawamura. Cirillo stepped up, but Reilly guessed the right way to stop the spot-kick.
Two minutes before half time the Jets were reduced to 10 men as Henderson was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Birkalla took the lead in the 56th minute as Scott Nagel’s cross was diverted past Reilly by the head of Miyayama, despite the goalkeeper getting a hand to it.
Ryan Kitto burst through two Jets defenders and squared the ball for Miyayama to tap into an empty net and double the advantage with 17 minutes remaining.
Mitchell Coull’s free kick hit the top of the crossbar as Modbury searched for a way back into the match.
Yet it was Birkalla who sealed the points moments later. Kawamura beat the offside trap and slipped the ball across for Radice’s simple finish.
Article by Luca Cetta - @l_cetta