Power v Force

Round 28 report by Chris Dunkerley
Parramatta Power v Adelaide Force

In an exciting match Parramatta Power, with seemingly little to motivate them, through a 1-0 scoreline, overcame an Adelaide City that couldn't take the necessary step to the finals one more time.

Coach David Mitchell fielded another team variation including flanker Damien Brown and the young legs of Brendan Santalab up front and Matthew Thompson back into the midfield.

'The smiler' Zoran Matic brought all his experience but little optimism east to Sydney for this clash. With a basically young / older mix the team mathematically could make it to the finals with a good result against Parramatta.

A card to Pelosi in the 6th minute suggested that this match had some meaning but by the 15min mark Adelaide were under an assault from a much faster Power side and only solid Adelaide defending held them out. City however could not break out of their own half. The best chance perhaps for Power was a wayward shot by young NYL goal ace Brendan Santalab off a nice cross from the right.

Damien Brown was relishing his forward role, and as well as prompting he was bobbing up to threaten as well. His time up a few years ago up front at Blacktown City was obviously standing him in good stead.

It was not until the 31st min that Adelaide got forward with real menace when Gianluca Lugati made a run deep into the Power half only to see his curling cross cut out by tyro keeper Liam Reddy.

This attack was repeated 3 minutes later when Lagati got another fine cross to Louis Brain but it was cut out by Reddy.

Matt Thompson was also getting forward in support for Power and in the 36th min he blasted a ball that came out to him well over from 25m.

Brendon Santalab flicked on a ball to Steve Berry in the middle but the experienced journeyman hit it wide to the left. Two minutes later in the 40th Berry hit another just wide from a similar distance when he had men forward on both flanks.

As the half closed Power were dominant. David Barrett took a shot at Adrian Cagalj in the City goal, who dropped it within range of two lurking Power players, however he was able to gather smartly.

Adelaide City came out determined to get something put of the game and in the 48th min a counter attack looked a real chance to achieve something until Thompson made a class tackle to rob the man of the ball with the Power defence very exposed.

Parramatta kicked up a gear too and in the 54th min a superbly worked move ended when Thompson's shot was cleared by Ante Kovacevic.

A minute later a great cross from Ahmed Elrich found Steve Berry and he headed strongly past Cagalj to take a well-earned lead 1-0.

In the 58th Damien Brown received a fine through ball just outside the area, turned his defender inside out and put in a cross to Brendan Santalab, who alas shot wide. He made amends a minute later when he headed straight at the keeper.

In a rare incursion by Adelaide into the Power goal area a clash by defender and attacker almost ended with the ball in the net except for Reddy's quick reflexes.

Adelaide brought on ex Joey Ian Fyfe on for midfielder Terminello and pushed Aurelio Vidmar, who had hitherto been sweeping, up into the middle of the park.

In the 69th minute Cagalj made an excellent save as Parramatta kept up the pressure.

A penalty was denied Adelaide when a Parramatta defender barrelled over the City attacker in the box. Zoran Matic said after the game that he had seen so many like it but always hoped they evened out over the season. It would have been against the run of play.

In the 75th and 77th minute Power defender Michael Santalab joined the fun with two chances sent wide.

Adelaide kicked tempo again and in the 80th Lucas Pantellis at last got forward but tried to cross when a shot may have been the go. Lagati send a cross the Brain but the ex Joey miss-hit his shot. Adelaide seemed back in it.

The last few minuted however saw Parramatta with more chances as first Damien Brown's snap shot was pushed wide by Cagalj.

In the 89th a shot on the right was somehow deflected by a sliding Fyfe with the keeper stranded on the left.

The last opportunity belonged to the player of the match, Damien Brown, but the weak chip was not indicative of his contribution.

David Mitchell praised Adelaide's defence and suggested that it was only their need to come forward that opened opportunities for Power. He was pleased with the contribution of some of his younger players such as Brendan Santalab, and his own 'man of the match' Damien Brown.

Power were really just playing for their pride (and to retain some fans) - and of course next year's contracts. They were best served by Brown, both Santalabs, Barrett, Thompson, and Reddy. Coach David Mitchell said that decisions about the players for next year will be made as soon as Round 30 is finished.

Adelaide should thank for their contributions Lagati, Brain, and Cagalj. Coach Zoran Matic said after the game that he didn't have the team to make the top 6 at the moment, with the youngsters still not able to drive the match plan over the season. He wasn't impressed with the refereeing either, but that's nothing new!