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.