R7 Wrap: West Torrens Birkalla v Croydon Kings

West Torrens Birkalla and Croydon played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in Round 7 of the PlayStation 4 National Premier League South Australia at Jack Smith Park on Saturday. 

The home side held a half-time lead thanks to Paul Radice, but Croydon hit back in what was a see-sawing second half through Rocky Visconte. 

Ryan Kitto restored Birkalla’s advantage, yet the Kings turned the game around with quick-fire goals from Visconte and Shaun McGreevy. Birkalla hit back through Jordan Watson and ended with 10 men following the dismissal of Haris Vuckic. 

West Torrens Birkalla coach Steve De Giovanniello believes his side must learn to defend set pieces. 

“I’m very disappointed not to get the three points. I thought we deserved to win and were the better side. In saying that we could have got nothing after going behind. It’s an okay point, but not what we deserved,” De Giovanniello noted. 

“We scored three really good goals and worked hard to do so, and then we gave up cheap goals. We did it against MetroStars too. Teams are not creating a lot of chances against us, but we must learn to defend set pieces. 

“I’m not too worried as defending set pieces is something we can work on. If we were being outplayed and carved open then I’d be worried.” 

Croydon coach Mark Brazzale felt the game changed with injuries to his two central defenders. 

“It’s a fair score the way the match went. We got in front at one point, but it was a disappointing day because of the injuries,” he said. 

“We lost two players and that threw us into disarray. I had to put guys in there not used to the position and playing alongside each other. The whole mechanics changed. 

“We have to keep working hard, but with five regular players out it makes it hard. Others will come in, but having a full strength side would make it easier for us to turn these draws into wins.” 

Birkalla opened the scoring with a sweeping move on the quarter-hour mark that ended with Kitto’s dink to the far post being met by the head of Radice. 

The Kings equalised five minutes into the second half. A Croydon corner saw two attempts desperately cleared off the line, before Visconte finally converted from close range. 

Birkalla restored the lead when Akira Miyayama slipped the ball through for Kitto to slot his finish past Nick Munro. 

Nathan Farrell was bundled over inside the penalty area and Visconte calmly sent goalkeeper Julian Torresan the wrong way to equalise with under 20 minutes remaining. 

Croydon completed the turnaround less than 120 seconds later, taking the lead for the first time as Visconte’s corner was put away by McGreevy. 

But it wouldn’t last. Birkalla showed pace on the counter attack, with Kitto sliding the ball past the defence for Watson to run on to and place his shot beyond Munro.

The home side were reduced to 10 men shortly after as Vuckic was given his marching orders, but there were no further additions to the score.

Article by Luca Cetta - @l_cetta



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