2013 South Australia National Premier League champions Campbelltown City have missed out on a spot in finals after suffering a 1-0 loss against West Adelaide at Steve Woodcock Sports Centre.
The loss means Campbelltown finished the season in seventh position, three points behind sixth-placed Adelaide City.
Meanwhile, the Round 26 win has helped West Adelaide finish in second place above Croydon Kings by one point.
Ricardo Da Silva scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in the 41st minute to break the hearts of the home team.
Campbelltown captain Vas Parhas said it was a disappointing way to finish the season, despite playing well.
“We conceded the penalty and both teams will admit to the fact that it was an extremely dubious decision that ended up deciding the game, but that said, even if we had won the game, Adelaide City won their game, so we wouldn’t have been able to progress,” Parhas said.
“For us, it was really just a reflection of what could have been had we done better earlier in the year.
“Through the middle part of the year, we just didn’t get enough points against teams below us on the table at the time. The table really doesn’t lie at the end of the year.”
Parhas commended the youngsters at the club, describing the future of the team as extremely bright.
“We’ve got the right attributes at the club and now it’s about really looking forward to next year, really focusing and having another good pre-season,” he said.
“We strongly believe had we made finals we really would’ve given it a good shake but it was not to be.
“Next year, our aim is to win it again. That’s probably what makes this season so disappointing; we did think we were good enough to win it again this year.”
West Adelaide capitalised on Croydon’s 4-0 home loss against Adelaide City to jump into second spot, giving them a double chance in the finals series in just their first season back in the top division.
Full back Joe Wright said the team could take a number of positives from Saturday’s win.
“It was a real good defensive performance from the boys. Everyone clicked together and we took a lot of positives with a clean sheet going into finals,” Wright said.
“[Coach Paul Pezos] Pez has been harping on about how important it is to finish second and obviously now we’ve secured that.
“It gives us that double chance in the finals and everyone is feeling really confident going into it, so it will be a good opportunity in that two-round match against Metro.”
West Adelaide now take on MetroStars in a two-legged match-up, with the winner progressing straight to the SA NPL grand final.
Wright said West Adelaide would look to build on the Campbelltown win against Metro next weekend.
“We need to be compact in defence and then take our chances in front of goal,” he said.
“Any sniff we get, we’ve got to finish it and defensively we’ve just got to be switched on and communicate with each other. If we defend well, I’m pretty confident we can do the job.
Click here for more results from the final round.
Image courtesy of Chris Kelly