The Pirates were unable to put consecutive wins together for the first time since round 13 last year after a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Sturt Lions at Pirate Park.
The Pirates registered the first notable chance of the game inside 10 minutes when a neat move between Nick Krznaric and Steve Savino resulted in the former running through on goal, only to be denied by the feet of the Sturt keeper. Despite posing that counter attacking threat, it was Sturt who took the ascendancy in the first half registering five shots on target in a 15-minute spell. The onslaught brought out the best in goalkeeper Jordan Dabinet who was looking to build on his clean sheet at Salisbury last week. The Pirates deemed themselves lucky to go into break all square at 0-0.
The second half was more evenly contested but it was the clinical touch that Sturt had been lacking in the first half which came to rescue them. A neat move built around playmaker Akira Kobaishi allowed Sturt to get in behind the Pirates defence where a low cross set up a tap in for Gravas. The best chances Pirates could muster were from set pieces but Sturt dealt with them efficiently; proving why they are one of the front-runners for promotion this season. Substitute Nick Davis should have done better to get on the end of a low, hard Krznaric cross but the pace eluded him at the vital moment. Minutes later, Sturt delivered the sucker punch which would clinch the three points. A cross from the left-hand side was met on the head by Macolino who generated enough dip to deceive Dabinet and find the goal. A late flurry from the Pirates ensued but there was no consolation for them on a day where they lacked the intensity and drive needed to defeat Sturt Lions.
There will now be a 10-day break for the club, with the next match taking place on Thursday the 11th of May against White City at Frank Mitchell Park.
After a barren run of no wins in just over two months, Pirates finally tasted victory against Salisbury United at Steve Jarvis Park on Saturday afternoon. Pirates enjoyed much of the possession in the early stages, and had an improved threat out wide with the return of pacey winger Nick Krznaric, who had been missing from action with a right leg injury. He caused several problems down the left-hand side for Salisbury and was unlucky not to have made a serious impact in the first half. The best chance came from a Giuseppe Pacilo cross, which was met on the head by Jack Mead, yet, was terrifically denied by a clearance off the line from a Salisbury defender. Mead had won several headers in the first half and was the source of most of the attacking play for Port Adelaide. Salisbury’s best chance came from a nervous moment for keeper Jordy Dabinet, who was unable to make a clean take from a deep cross, but was relieved to see the striker put the ball wide after it fell nicely for him. The first half fizzled out after that chance as the half ended 0-0.
In what was the most important game of the season so far, Pirates resumed their search for supremacy after the break. They finally found the lead when another Pacilo cross was met by Jack Mead, and this time there was nothing Salisbury could do to deny the forward’s second goal of the season. The tidy volley was a just reward for the pressure that Pirates had mounted on their opponents in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Meanwhile at the other end, there were stand out performances from right back Tony Manocchio and central defender Steve Kalinovic who managed to quash any Salisbury attack. Substitute Andrew Dyer was unlucky not to score his first goal of the season when he met the ball sweetly from a cutback. However, the direction was lacking and the keeper made a comfortable save. He was powerless to stop the next chance that came his way when Sam Georgiadis, whose movement off the ball had been crucial to the offense of Port Adelaide, ran into the penalty area unchallenged and slotted between the keeper and the near post for his first goal in a black and white shirt. A late free kick was as much as Jordy Dabinet had to deal with in the second half as Salisbury inevitably conceded defeat.
It was a fantastic 2-0 performance against a rugged opposition that gave Pirates their first three points since February 18th, and a second clean sheet of the season. It's onwards and upwards now for Port as they return to Pirate Park to face high-flying Sturt lions before the long break.
A well-earned point at Raiders for Pirates ensured that they would remain above the drop zone after round 6 but not end the win less streak which extends to five games.
Pirates put the hosts on the back foot immediately when Sam Georgiadis, making his first appearance since round 3 at Noarlunga United, was denied by a fine save early in the game. The forward press of Port Adelaide was particularly highlighted in the first half, forcing a number of errors out of the Raiders back line but lacked composure to put the ball in the net whilst opponents Raiders were equally as guilty wasting many chances.
Majority of the second half was a grind for Pirates as they struggled to create the chances they did in the first half. The nearest glimpse came from a trademark Nick Mavromatis free kick that only eluded Stevan Kalinovic by the narrowest of margins at the back post. Instead, it was the defensive line that shone through, particularly in the case of Jacob Searles and Kalinovic who played probably their best games of the season so far in quashing the dangerous Raiders attack.
Late replacement Jordan Dabinet was kept busy in goal, making two fantastic saves down low to keep Port Adelaide in the game. His efforts may well have helped the Pirates record their second win of the season but Davis, Georgiadis and Mead lacked the clinical touch necessary to clinch the three points. Despite a rapturous reception from the away crowd at full time, Pirates players were collectively disappointed that they couldn’t record that long overdue win they so desperately crave. The draw sees Port remain in ninth position, four points outside the play-offs spot.
Next week sees the Pirates challenge Adelaide Victory for the first afternoon kick off at Pirate Park this season and presents yet another opportunity for the season to be reignited.
Pirates have finally put an end to their run of defeats with a hard fought comeback from 2-0 down, to draw 2-2 in a niggly encounter with The Cove.
Right from the start, tackles were flying between the two sides that were desperate to restart their season with a win. The Cove managed to enjoy a 5 minute spell midway through the first half which saw them attain a succession of corners. Inevitably, they made one count after Pirates were slow to get out of the box from clearing the initial ball, allowing Cove to fire a shot back in which deflected off Ollie Graham and into the net. In response, Pirates came desperately close when a cross from Pacilo was met by Nick Davis yet he found the Cove goalkeeper in splendid form as he somehow managed to tip away off the line. Pirates continued to have the better chances right up until the break, but couldn’t find the equaliser.
Things then took a turn for the worse as Cove added a second on the hour mark. A well worked move down the right hand side allowed them to get in behind the defence and put a cross in which Andrew Dyer failed to clear effectively, giving Graham an easy finish for his second of the night. It was obvious that changes were needed in order to stage a comeback and Pirates head coach Mauro Demarco did exactly that, bringing on Steven Savino, Shohei Misawa and Tony Manocchio who would all have big influences on the result. First, it was Misawa who pulled the game back to 2-1. A counter attack led by Nick Mavromatis was initially held up but still Misawa managed to break free from the shackles of the Cove defence and neatly tuck away his first of the season. Then, Manocchio got himself in a dangerous position after charging down the right hand side and sent in a cross towards strikers Mead and Savino with the latter seeing his flamboyant backheel attempt blocked before turning quickly to put the ball through the keepers legs and into the net, leaving just five minutes for both sides to try and get a winner. The final hero for the night was goalkeeper Finn Murphy who bravely dove into a 50/50 with the Cove striker in the dying embers of the game to stop a possible shooting opportunity. Hurt but not shaken, Murphy went on to take the Man of the Match award for the night.
It was an engaging first half for the supporters at Carnegie Reserve with both Pirates and Western Strikers going shot for shot in a full flowing affair.
It was Western Strikers who struck the first blow, however, inside 10 minutes when Pirates failed to deal with an in-swinging corner and eventually saw the ball poked home by Haris Vuckic.
Immediately, though, Pirates began to grow into the game and set up a number of opportunities to level the score, most notably when Jimmy Murray played in Nick Davis yet the latter dragged his shot wide. Another chance went begging for the Pirates when Patrick De Silva’s dangerous low cross couldn’t be diverted towards goal by the onrushing forwards. Seeing those vital opportunities go to waste went on to hurt Port as they gave up a second goal from another set piece. This time it was a direct free kick from Atkinson which young goalkeeper Finn Murphy could do nothing about.
Perhaps the worst thing Pirates could do was to concede straight after half time, yet, that’s exactly what happened from yet another set piece delivery which allowed Lastella to head home unchallenged and ultimately put the game out of reach for Port Adelaide.
Although Pirates fought valiantly, they were unable to regain the rhythm they found in the first half and went down 3-0 at the hands of their nearest neighbours.
Noarlunga United 2 - 0 Pirates
In hot conditions, the senior team really couldn’t get going against Noarlunga United a found themselves a goal down early after a deep cross from Noarlunga’s left back was met by Ebert to head home past debutant Finn Murphy. Far from the best start, things could have got worse for Pirates but for an excellent save from the penalty spot by Murphy. It was déjà vu for the Noarlunga penalty take, who last season had his penalty saved against the Pirates in the first round of the FFA Cup.
Despite half chances from striker Jack Mead, Pirates couldn’t avoid going in 1-0 down at half time. The second half, however, led to Pirates keeping the ball better in Noarlunga’s half and created numerous chances though the keeper was rarely tested. Yet, on the break Noarlunga looked dangerous, and soon found the second goal after a neat cutback from the left hand side.
Having no other alternative, Port Adelaide had to dig deep and push men further forward in search of the two goals needed to stake a comeback but with so many gaps appearing it looked like Noarlunga could have added more if it wasn’t for some last ditch defending and goalkeeping from the Pirates. A disappointing result for the first team who will be keen to avenge this defeat next week at Western Strikers.
Pirates 2 v 3 South Adelaide
Star player: Nick Mavromatis
It is widely accepted that South Adelaide will be one of the teams to beat in this year's State League 1, and they proved it thanks to a dominant second half display. In the first half, Pirates were matching South physically, and despite a number of chances going astray for the Panthers, Port were able to take the lead right on half time when an outstretched Nick Davis caught onto a Steve Kalinovic cross from the right.
Determined to hold onto the lead, Pirates had to continue to match South Adelaide on the field but the quality of the opposition shone through as Kamara equalised with a neat finish on the edge of the box. Momentum had shifted into South Adelaide's favour and their confidence was evident when Thurston put his foot through the ball from 25 yards out and scored magnificently. Thurston went onto collect a brace, this time from a direct free kick on the edge of the box as he found the top right corner with power.
A late flurry from Pirates saw George Kalinovic force a great save from the keeper after he headed goalwards before Nick Krznaric buried a chance from six yards in injury time. However, it only stood as a consolation for Port as the game ended 3-2, inflicting a first defeat of the season for the side.
Starting Line Up
30 - Jordan Dabinet
12 - Andrew Dyer
19 - Stevan Kalinovic
18 - George Kalinovic
5 - Giuseppe Pacilo
8 - James Murray
21 - Tony Manocchio
4 - Nick Mavromatis
9 - Nick Davis
7 - Steven Savino
11 - Nick Krznaric
10 - Jack Mead
2 - Patrick De Silva
3 - Shohei Misawa
Substitutes not used
1 - Finn Murphy
20 - Jacob Searles
Address: John Hart Reserve, Swan Terrace