Neal Maupay scored a 95th-minute goal with effectively the last kick of the game to earn a point for the visitors against Crystal Palace.
In the latest preview of Septembers upcoming FFA Cup round of 32 fixtures, South Australian NPL side Adelaide Olympic will take a 3.5-hour flight to face Western Australian NPL side ECU Joondalup SC.
The hosts, Joondalup are the youngest team left in the cup, they were founded in 1992 and have enjoyed success in the late 90s and in recent years – winning the Western Australia NPL in 2020
Coach of the team is the enigmatic ex A league manager, Kenny Lowe – Lowe is known just as much for his antics on the touchline and in press conferences as his team tactics.
Joondalup have hit the skids in the Western Australia NPL this season though – they currently sit sixth after a horror run of form in their last several matches.
This side was expected to mount a strong title challenge, but they have spent the majority of the season trying to plug the holes in their leaky defence.
The other end of the park has been a different story though – especially when you have the mercurial Danny Hodgson in the side.
Englishman Hodgson is currently in second place for the Western Australia NPL golden boot top scorer trophy, with 15 goals after he won the 2020 Golden Boot last season with 17 goals.
Hodgson’s speed and terrier like qualities are echoed by another UK striker Daryl Nicol.
The Scotsman Nicol, returned to Joondalup after two seasons away and has taken back to his old club like a duck to water – scoring ten goals so far this season.
Joondalup are also home to long time ex-A-League player Chris Harold.
Harold made headlines when he walked away from the sport in the prime of his career at only 28 years old in 2020 to concentrate on his fast-blossoming career as a barrister.
Enticed back to the game he loved in 20201, he has contributed two goals and endless running on the right side of the attack.
On the opposite side is the experienced left footer Andrew Higgins – Higgins is a former Perth Glory and Portsmouth player who has found the back of the net four times this campaign.
Joondalup’s opponents Adelaide Olympic have come a long way since they were found in 1978 by the local Greek community – initially starting in the sixth tier of the South Australian amateur league before working their way up over the years to the SA NPL.
Olympic are currently sixth in the SA NPL and have struggled to win games consecutively this season.
The star player of the team is the silky Italian, Fausto Erba.
He is the top scorer in the SA NPL with 11 goals, however the striker holds the honour of being the oldest player with most goals at NPL level this season – at 36 years old.
Erba had a nomadic career in Italy’s lower leagues before moving to South Australia, he may not have the speed to match younger opponents but he more than makes up for this with his football IQ.
His striker partner is another European journeyman, 30-year-old Greek hitman Ioannis Simosis
The majority of Simosis’s career was spent bouncing around various teams in Greece, before he found a home in Adelaide.
Although he has only found the back of the net five times this season, his experience just like that of Erba is helping mould the young talent at Olympic.
Former A League youth team player Michael Cittadini has benefitted the most from this as the 18-year-old has nabbed four goals this season and has had A League scouts cast an eye over his performances.
Albanian hardman Benkert Abdija is another experienced pro to keep an eye on.
While former a league youth team player Jason Konstandopoulos and the 17-year-old Kristin (same surname) have also provided goal scoring options
Joondalup will be overwhelming favourites to advance in this tie, but Adelaide Olympic are more than capable of leaving the wild west with a victory.