The 16th of December… Goodwin’s birthday, the day Adelaide won the FFA cup final back in 2014, and also the day Elsey provided both a goal and an assist to gift Melbourne City a 2-0 victory to cap off round 8.
Compare the pair: two teams, same absence of a prolific striker. One by choice as Fornaroli was dropped again, with Joyce quoting that their had been no signs of improvement during training this week. Whilst Adelaide’s striker injury curse remains in full force as Blackwood continues to recover from a fractured collarbone, Baba continues to claim something hurts (if I didn’t occasionally see him on AUFC’s Instagram I would honestly have thought he had left the country), and now AP with a quad injury. But in the end: no striker, no worries. Because Adelaide’s defence will do it for you.
Match day started with some rain. Not the torrential downpours we’ve seen in the Eastern states throughout the round, but just that constant drizzle as annoying as when you crack open a new deodorant can and it continually leaves white powder on your armpit. And unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few days (or in Marrone’s indoor tent- see his new Instagram account for context), you would have heard that the A-League has expanded with another Australian team….member. Favoured Adelaide captain Isaías finally gained Australian citizenship, with Sí Senõr Sí to now be thrown out in favour of Yeah mate yeahhh, Ay you ay, or nice Gary nice.
City’s squad was bolstered by the return of de Laet…for about 20 minutes, with Ritchie going down in what appeared to be an exacerbation of a previous injury rather than any on-field incident causing anything new. His replacement Najjarine contributed to City opening the scoring 2 minutes later via Elsey from a McGree cross. Now that’s a sentence that would have almost made sense a couple of seasons ago.
The goal threw Adelaide, whose box was as empty as a box of Favourites left in the staffroom for five minutes. Galloway and Halloran were working hard, but continually came up empty when looking for help from those around them. Many of Adelaide’s players were looking backwards more than Newcastle fans looking back to their last championship win.
At this point, the Red Army had made a Capo sub, whilst the rest of us were praying for a sub on-field as Mileusnic came up short time and again on the wing. Fans got their wish, with a half-time substitution seeing Kitto grace the field and cop a yellow within 3 minutes for an apparent wayward elbow. Several more wayward elbows went seemingly unnoticed by Beath later in the match, with Lia and Elsey both spilling blood without a single foul being awarded.
The 50th minute saw Brattan double the score-line, following a Vidosic and Elsey assist. Now again, that’s a sentence that would have almost made sense a couple of seasons ago. Brattan celebrated by removing the corner flag and showing us that he at least has some back up talent with a pole.
Adelaide had a decent final 20 minutes of play, dominating possession and notching up several chances through Goodwin and Galloway, only to be denied by some super saves by Galekovic that had all AUFC fans asking: why couldn’t you do that for us in your final few seasons in red? Whilst City extended their time delaying tactics and possession stats by frequently going down, AUFC kicking the ball out for said injury, going off the park, coming straight back on, and then having possession returned voluntarily.
In the end City were hardly the better team and it would have been a different story if Adelaide had of capitalised on some of their chances despite the defensive errors that occurred.
Adelaide’s social media accounts had more salt than this match review itself, with Facebook displaying the score line graphic with the caption: full-time. Whilst they managed a :/ emoji for their twitter update. In contrast, Joyce thought City had made Perth look “ordinary” last week when they had ZERO SHOTS ON TARGET, so the 200% improvement on that this week would have had Joyce nominating himself as the next pope. And for those hoping for #Joyceout, Adelaide just set that back another week. Soz about that.
Next round, I will be hoping that Adelaide’s Boxing Day clash will be a completely different story with Santa having bought us a striker the night before. Please, I’ve been good.