Adelaide United Youth has been left to ponder how three points escaped their grasp, after drawing 4-4 with Brisbane Roar Youth in their National Youth League match at Hindmarsh Stadium.
The young Reds appeared to have an unassailable lead after striker Francesco Monterosso made it 4-1 with 26 minutes remaining, but the Roar stormed back to score three goals, the last with the final kick of the game, to steal a point.
Roar substitute Josh McVey’s 93rd minute equaliser is the fourth time this season United’s Youth have conceded a goal at home in the dying stages, to consign them to just a point rather than all three.
Coach Joe Mullen would have been wondering what changed after his side dominated the opening 47 minutes to lead 3-nil, before the Roar scored their first two goals within four minutes of each other and their final two in injury time.
The result also sees the Reds miss an opportunity to close the gap to the top of the table Central Coast Mariners, and give themselves some breathing space away from the chasing pack.
In their first match in a fortnight, it took just five minutes for the young Reds to open the scoring when Joe Wright hammered a bullet-like shot from the edge of the area past a diving Matt Acton in the Brisbane goal, after Monterosso’s initial effort was blocked by the Roar defence.
With the young Reds looking dangerous every time they took the ball into the Roar’s half of the field, Brett Rayner added a second in the 27th minute as he beat an oncoming Acton, to get the decisive touch as the pair collided head on from a high ball from the left, the United midfielder seeing the ball roll over the goal line.
Reds striker Evan Kostopoulos missed two excellent chances to make it 3-nil before half time after some fine exchanges with Monterosso, the home side having to be content with a two goal buffer, despite controlling the majority of the opening 45 minutes.
But two minutes after the break Kostopoulos made amends as he netted his fourth goal of the season an the Reds’ third.
McVey’s first goal in the 62nd minute pegged one back for the Roar, the strike triggering three goals in six minutes as Monterosso pounced, and then Luke Brattan left the score at 4-2 with less than half an hour to play.
Seemingly in cruise mode as they enjoyed a two goal lead, the young Reds were put under intense pressure from the Roar as they continued to press forward, and with the game as good as over, the visitors staged a remarkable comeback as Brattan and McVey both found the back of the net again in the three minutes of added time.
While the Reds were left stunned at the final whistle, one major positive to come out of the game was the successful return of senior midfielder Kristian Sarkies, who got through the full 90 minutes to signal he is over a quad injury.
United’s Youth next face a tough trip to Newcastle to tackle the Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Friday 12 February.
Adelaide United Youth 4 (Wright 5’, Rayner 26’, Kostopoulos 47’, Monterosso 64’)
Brisbane Roar Youth 4 (McVey 62’/90+3’, Brattan 66’/90+1’)
Referee: Regis Queffelec
Adelaide United line-up: Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk) (Codey LARKIN (gk) 54’), Michael DOYLE, Evan KOSTOPOULOS, Dane MILOVANOVIC (c), Perry MITRIS, Francesco MONTEROSSO, Brett RAYNER (Kingsley FRANCIS 46’), Alex SUNASKY, Joe WRIGHT (Andrew CIARLA 57’), Kristian SARKIES (OA), Inseob SHIN (Joel ALLWRIGHT 49’)
Substitutes not used: –
Yellow Cards: Monterosso 28’, Milovanovic 49’
Red Cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar line-up: Matt ACTON (gk), Luke BRATTAN (c), Matthew BYRNE, Isaka CERNAK, Kenneth DOUGALL, Alistair QUINN, Michael RYAN, Tyler THURTELL, Stefan VRBESIC (Antony SCHIAVO 46’), Matt MUNDY (OA) (Josh McVEY 46’), Tim SMITS (OA)
Substitutes not used: Luke MUIR (gk)
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil