Melbourne City’s Y-League side have come away with a point against an aggressive Reds side at the Marden Sports Complex on Saturday.
A first half strike by City’s Braedyn Crowley was cancelled out by a second chipped effort by United’s Charlie Devereux, as City backed up their 50-minute win from last week with a solid effort against a Reds effort that pushed them hard right from the opening kickoff.
Crowley was impressive for City, going close a number of times, whilst United were led by young phenom Apostolos Stamatelopoulos.
City Youth head coach Joe Palatsides rewarded the dominant display from his side last week, naming an unchanged starting XI from the unit that put three past the Brisbane Roar in the first half of their game last week.
It was the second week in a row that scholarship player Ramy Najjarine made an appearance for City youth after being a part of the senior sides squad the night before, with the talented City winger getting closer to an elusive senior debut.
It was Adelaide United with the first big chance from the game, when on eight minutes United’s Carlo Armiento played a low ball across the penalty towards Stamatelopoulos.
The United forward, who came into the game in a rich vein of form having made his senior A-League debut earlier in the season and fresh off scoring a hattrick in United Youth's week one win over the Perth Glory, lashed a shot towards the City goal, only to for City goalkeeper James Delianov to produce a good save to deny him.
City had their first good chance of the game in the 12th minute of the contest, when United goalkeeper Isaac Richards was called into action to deny senior forward Crowley’s seemingly goal bound thunderbolt.
Six minutes later however, Crowley would get his goal and put City up one goal to nil.
It came as a result of a trademark penetrating attacking run from winger Daniel Arzani, who attacked the Adelaide defence before laying the ball off the ball off to Crowley to put in the back of the net and put City up.
It was Crowley’s second goal in two weeks, with the 21-year-old former Northern Fury star relishing the game time afforded to him in the Y-League.
United would push hard for an equaliser immediately after the restart, with an acrobatic effort on goal from Stamatelopoulos just two minutes after the goal flashing just wide of the goal.
The game would then give way to a back and forth period of play, with both highly rated youth teams battling for control and not allowing the other to grab a clear chance on goal.
Indeed, the only clear cut chance remaining in the half would not come until two minutes into first half stoppage time, when Crowley had a chance in on goal to grab his second, only to put his effort wide.
The second half restart saw the resumption of cagey play between both sides, until nine minutes in the half Adelaide made the break through.
United’s Lachlan Brook found himself in some space and launched a shot goalward, only to see his shot scuffed off his boot and bounce into the area.
The ball fell to United’s Devereux however, who was able to adroitly launch a chip over the head of Delianov and into the goal to bring Adelaide level.
Two minutes later United were almost able to seize the lead when Pacifique Niyongabire, who had only been brought on as a substitute in the 55th minute, laid a ball through to Stamatelopoulos to launch towards goal; only for the shot to inches wide.
Put back on their heels after United’s strong start to the second, City gathered themselves and began to launch their own attacks goalward, almost converting a tap in effort at the back post in the 58th minute and forcing Richards into a one-handed reaction save in the 62nd minute.
Not to be outdone, United would again go close in the 70th minute; Stamatelopoulos making a driving run through the City midfield before playing the ball to Niyongabire.
Niyongabire was able to slide the ball to Brook, only for the 16-year-old to launch an effort that Delianov watched go wide of the post.
As City searched for a goal that would give them back the lead Palatsides swung his first substitutions of the season, bringing on Lucas Derrick, Gerrie Sylaidos and Yasin Nur – in place of Nathanial Atkinson, Connor Metcalfe and Najjarine respectively – for their first taste Y-League action this season.
It was Adelaide that had the next big chance however, Niyongabire launching a strike off the half volley towards the City goal only to be denied by a brilliant effort by Delianov to tip the ball over the bar.
With both sides desperately searching for the winning goal, it was City that would have the last best chance of the game.
Crowley, after showing off a nice bit of skill with the ball at his feet, unsuccessfully tried to curl an effort into the bottom corner of the net with almost the last kick of the game in the 92nd minute.
His effort was for naught however, and a minute later the final whistle blew, with both sides sharing the spoils from the days affairs.
City will next week return back to Melbourne to host the Victory in the Y-League Melbourne Derby, seeking to extend City’s dominance over the Victory so far in the 2017/18 season from the A-League and W-League into the youth ranks as well.
Kick-off is slated for 8.00pm on Sunday, December 3 at C.B. Smith Reserve, the second game of a double header with City’s Women – who play Adelaide United’s women at 5.00pm.