A goal from Anthony Costa proved enough for Adelaide United to defeat the AIS 1-0 at the Institute Playing Fields in Canberra in Round 14 of the Foxtel National Youth League on Sunday.
Costa struck with virtually the last kick of the first half to ensure victory for the Reds in a match played in testing conditions and oppressive heat.
An early morning kick-off in the National Capital was supposed to allow the fixture to be played in more favourable temperatures and yet the mercury was still pushing 30 degrees when the match commenced.
And the heat made for a sluggish early tempo with both teams finding it difficult to settle into any sort of rhythm.
Marc Marino was liveliest for the AIS, causing his markers much grief with his perpetual motion and clever running off the ball, but the link-up between the Institute spearhead and his deep lying midfield was lacking.
The Reds meanwhile struggled to create any meaningful opening in the first quarter with Jordan Thurtell in the AIS goal largely redundant.
Thurtell was finally called into action in the 20th minute, forced into making a sprawling save from a Ryan Kitto free-kick that threatened to sneak in at the back post as Adelaide finally created a half-chance.
However, with George Timotheou in particular in solid form in the centre of the AIS defence the visitors' raids were sporadic.
In fairness to Adelaide their own goalkeeper, John Hall, was also a spectator for the majority of the first-half, barely touching the ball in anger as Dion Kirk in front of him lived up to his billing as a potential future star, snuffing out the AIS breaks.
The game was crying out for a goal to lift the general soporific atmosphere pervading the venue and it almost got one ten minutes before the break.
Christopher Skull lit up the proceedings with a thunderous drive from 25 metres that cannoned back off the underside of the bar with Thurtell beaten.
Costa followed up to nod in the rebound only to see his effort chalked out for offside.
Costa was to get his goal and break the deadlock right on the cusp of half-time. Collecting a pass with his back to goal the Adelaide striker spun his marker, danced around a second challenge and picked his spot to fire the Reds ahead at the interval.
The second half produced much the same fare as the first but it was the AIS who came more into the ascendancy with their over-lapping wing backs providing natural width and only the assistant referee's flag denied them an equaliser, Marino seeing his tap-in ruled out after Hall made a sharp save from a Darcy Madden snap-shot.
Tempers frayed a little in the heat with Adelaide midfielder Matthew Bouzalas lucky to stay on the field for an ugly stud's-up tackle on Madden that the officials deemed only worthy of a yellow card when many expected the ultimate sanction whilst the AIS' Rocco Pizzata escaped punishment for an aggressive challenge moments later.
The AIS could have levelled just before the drinks break in the 67th minute when a smart passing move freed Anthony Gersbach inside the penalty area on the left hand side but his finish lacked the requisite composure, blazing high and wide when a better option may have been to shoot across the exposed Hall into the far corner.
The sapping heat even took its toll on the match officials with Referee Ryan Prescott forced to leave the action with an injury, being replaced by fourth official Sam Nixon.
Nixon was involved straightaway, brandishing a yellow card to AIS substitute Ben Warland for a miss-timed tackle as the game meandered towards its conclusion.
Try as they might the AIS couldn't find the equaliser despite the best efforts of substitutes Gersbach and Anthony Kalik, who both threatened to prise open the stubborn Reds defence before the end, only to be snuffed out by the immovable object that was the Adelaide back four.
Adelaide United 1 (Anthony Costa 45')
AIS: 1. Jordan THURTELL, 2. Darcy MADDEN, 6. Matthew NTOUMENOPOULOS, 11. Marc MARINO (9. Todd NORRIS 63'), 12. Marc OCHIENG, 16. Jordan PUDLER (17. Anthony KALIK 63'), 18. Alexander GERSBACH, 19. Bright APPIAH (4. Ben WARLAND 51'), 21. George TIMOTHEOU, 22. Liam ROSE, 23. Rocco PIZZATTA
Adelaide United: 1. John HALL, 2. Dion KIRK, 3. Shaun HARVEY, 7. Bruce KAMAU (22. Donovan POLLOCK 61'), 8. Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 9. Anthony COSTA, 10. Ryan KITTO (5. Anthony TURE 61'), 11. Christopher SKULL (6. Jack BLADEN 61'), 15. Matthew BOUZALAS, 16. Jake MONACO, 19. Jake BARKER-DAISH
YELLOW CARDS: 4. Ben WARLAND, 6. Matthew NTOUMENOPOULOS, 9. Todd NORRIS, 19. Bright APPIAH (AIS), 8. Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 9. Anthony COSTA, 15. Matthew BOUZALAS (Adelaide United)