Six-goal thriller in Adelaide

Adelaide United and Sydney FC have played out an entertaining 3-3 draw in the National Youth League clash at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday.

Adelaide United and Sydney FC have played out an entertaining 3-3 draw in the National Youth League clash at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday.

Chris Payne posted an early goal for the Sky Blues before the Reds hit back with three first-half goals in the space of 16 minutes.

The visitors then pegged two goals back - one at the 34th minute and one coming soon after the half-time break - to lock up the scores.

United thought they found the match winner during the dying minutes of the clash when Paul Agostino nudged home an Angelo Arambatzis cross but the linesman deemed the striker offside.

It was a disappointing end for the Reds who were keen to get good use out of their four overage players Agostino, Ang Costanzo, Michael Valkanis and Matthew Nash. But Sydney also had plenty of second-half shots that were only centimetres away from producing a three-point game.

Sydney FC remain comfortable leaders at the top of the NYL ladder while United missed a golden opportunity to creep closer to the all-important second spot - currently held by Queensland Roar.

Reds coach Joe Mullen said he had 'mixed feelings' about the draw.

"I think the players from both sides worked extremely well in very difficult conditions, very hot ... but both sides put in a decent effort," he said.

"There were certainly a couple of goals that we conceded that were a little bit soft on our behalf."

Sydney FC assistant coach Grant Lee said the team was given a scare by the more experienced Adelaide United line-up.

"We were a little bit undisciplined in our set plays. We just needed to get our head around a few things and get ourselves back on track and get our shape back in again," he said.

Sydney staged an all-out assault in the opening minutes and was quickly on the scoreboard. A probing run and strike from Sam Munro was partially smothered by the Adelaide defence but the attack opened up space for Payne who knocked one home from close range.

The goal brought a shell-shocked Adelaide to life with Agostino, who is on the comeback trail from injury, finding space and, with a clever kick in the 15th minute, found the equaliser.

United earned four corners during the first half with two of them yielding goals. In the 22nd minute Matthew Mullen took the first kick and watched with delight as a springy and unattended Michael Marrone nodded it home from close range.

Seven minutes later the Reds opted for a shorter corner but gained the same result. Scott Weidenbach received the pass and tried to drop the ball into the danger zone. However the cross hit Robbie Mileski's hand just inside the box which earned the home side a penalty.

Mullen took the ball from the spot and knocked it into the left corner of the net as Vedran Janjetovic dived in the other direction.

Adelaide was on top and playing with confidence when Sydney hit back. A slight hesitation by Nash and a fellow defender allowed Anthony Golec to swoop on a loose ball and push it home from only metres out.

Sydney FC found the equaliser when a beautiful Adam Biddle cross was headed home by Payne four minutes into the second half.

It was then a tighter contest as both teams tried to combine defence and attack.

United was rewarded with its second penalty of the match in the 73rd minute when Mullen was dragged down by Zach Cairncross. But Janjetovic dived to his left to stop the spot kick to keep the game alive.

Sydney's Chris Triantis and Ibrahim Haydar also loomed as a second-half heroes but their shots in the 76th and 89th minutes were saved by Nash.

Match Details

Adelaide United 3 (Paul AGOSTINO 14-, Michael MARRONE 22-, Matthew MULLEN 29- (pen)) Sydney FC 3 (Chris PAYNE 4-/49-, Antony GOLEC 34-)

Saturday 3 January 2009 Hindmarsh Stadium Local kick off 10.30am (11.00am AEDT)

Referee. Regis Queffelec Assistant Referees: Mark Michael, Curtis Wordsworth Fourth Official: Stephen Toth

Adelaide United line up: 30.Matthew NASH (OA), 3.Scott WEIDENBACH (2.Michael DOYLE 53-), 4.Michael MARRONE, 5.Michael VALKANIS (OA), 6.Alexander SUNASKY (9.Andrew CIARLA 55-), 7.Joel ALLWRIGHT, 8.Matthew MULLEN (15.Francesco MONTEROSSO 78-), 10.Osama MALIK, 13.Paul AGOSTINO (OA).15.Francesco MONTEROSSO (11.Angelo ARAMBATSIS 60-), 22.Angelo COSTANZO (OA).

Substitutes not used: 40.Lucas ANDREUCCI (gk).

Yellow cards: Angelo COSTANZO 64-. Red Cards: Nil.

Sydney FC line up: 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 2.Luke AUSTIN, 3.Adam BIDDLE (14.Matthew HALL 61-), 4.Simon COLOSIMO (OA) (15.Steve LUSTICA 60-), 5.Chris TRIANTIS (c), 6.Chris PAYNE, 7.Robbie MILESKI (16.Nikolas TSATTALIOS 61-), 8.Antony GOLEC, 10.Zach CAIRNCROSS, 12.Ibrahim HAYDAR, 13.Sam MUNRO.

Substitutes not used: Nil.

Yellow cards: Robbie MILESKI 28-, Zach CAIRNCROSS, 73-. Red Cards: Nil.