Reds upstage Western Sydney in NYL
A second-half brace from Adelaide United's Anthony Costa's piloted the Reds to a 3-1 Foxtel National Youth League victory over the Wanderers.
A second-half brace from Adelaide United marksman Anthony Costa's piloted the Reds to a 3-1 Foxtel National Youth League victory over the Western Sydney Wanderers at Thebarton Oval on Saturday.
United overcame a patchy opening to flourish after half-time and avoid a third successive defeat, while further cementing their spot in the top four.
Costa's back-to-back goals were complemented by Nikola Mileusnic's 74th-minute strike to guide the Reds, who conceded a late goal to Josh Barresi, to an important and comprehensive win.
Both camps started cautiously, the Wanderers defending high and controlling a relatively subdued tempo early.
When Western Sydney attacked they looked dangerous, notably in the 25th minute when Mark Cindric, honing in on the right, forced Adelaide goalkeeper Paul Izzo into a sharp, reflex kick-away save.
A minute later in-form Cindric, who thumped four goals in last week's 6-0 demolition of Perth at Cook Park, got on the end of a United turnover and whizzed one into the back of the net, but Adelaide were reprieved when the talented Wanderers striker was deemed off-side.
With captain James Baldacchino ably marshalling the defence and tall playmaker Sean Symons looking dangerous on his left flank, the visitors continued to press.
But they were dealt a blow in the 30th minute when Jaushua Sotirio limped to the bench after sustaining a left leg injury.
Adelaide captured some momentum late in the half and almost stole the lead in the 43rd minute when Costa's header from a Jake Monaco cross drifted high as both sides went into sheds scoreless at half-time.
The Wanderers had looked the more compact team but undid their early endeavours when Lawrence Hanna carelessly was handed a yellow card soon after resumption for a poor challenge just outside the box, which proved costly.
Costa nonchalantly stepped up for the free kick and swung it expertly from the left-hand side, beating Western Sydney's defensive wall and sprawling gloveman Blake Tuxford for the opening goal in the 48th minute.
Fresh off a hat-trick in last week's loss to Brisbane at Goodwin Park, red-hot Costa again stung the Wanderers with his second goal in the 62nd minute.
Donovan Pollock, having been introduced as a substitute barely two minutes earlier, stripped Wanderers defender Shayne D'Cunha of the ball deep in the visitors' defensive third, scooted through an opening and laid it off to Costa, who slammed it home from close range.
Four minutes later, Mileusnic glanced the right upright with a sliding effort on the counter, the rejuvenated Reds looking a completely different outfit after the interval.
Unperturbed by his near-miss, Mileusnic joined Costa on the scoreboard in the 74th when he charged down the right-hand side, one-out with Wanderers substitute keeper Thomas Manos, and rifled United's third inside a thrilling half-hour.
Tall forward Barresi clawed one back for the visitors in the 82nd minute, after finishing Nicholas Olsen's deft pass with a nice left-foot flourish past Izzo but the damage had already been done for the Wanderers, whose topsy-turvy campaign continued.
Adelaide United 3 (Costa 48, 62, Mileusnic 74) Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Barresi 82)
Adelaide United: 2. Dion Kirk, 3. Shaun Harvey (C), 6. Jack Bladen, 7. Bruce Kamau (17. Jordan O'Doherty 60'), 8. Nathan Konstandopoulos, 9. Anthony Costa, 10. Christopher Skull (22. Donovan Pollock 60'), 11. Nikola Mileusnic, 15. Matthew Bouzalas, 16. Jake Monaco (4. Lachlan Barr 60'), 20. Paul Izzo (GK)
Unused subs: 1. Daniel Margush
Yellow cards: Nil
Western Sydney Wanderers: 2. Shayne D'Cunha, 4. James Baldacchino (C), 5. Nicholas Olsen, 6. Lawrence Hanna, 7. Jaushua Sotirio (15. Michael Trajkovski 30') 9. Mark Cindric, 10. Joshua Barresi, 11. Sean Symons, 14. Anthony Schmidt (3. Brendan Hooper 54'), 16. Callum Fitzpatrick (8. Lachlan Hughes 54'), 20. Blake Tuxford (GK) (1. Thomas Manos 68')
Yellow cards: Lawrence Hanna 47'