Day 1 of Coronavirus restrictions: We have not won for 30 days.
Who would’ve thought a few months ago that the final game of Round 23- Adelaide vs. Newcastle, was the last live A-League game witnessed by fans this season?
As an Adelaidean I am used to not getting our pick of the crop of social activities, heck most bands don’t even come here (I’m looking at you, The Killers), but no live sport is unprecedented. So, I decided to attend Hindmarsh last night for one last hoorah…and yeah…Adelaide continuing to crash harder than the stock market as they went down 3-0 to the Jets makes it a little difficult to support your team through thick, thin, and pandemics.
So, to counteract the number of positive Coronavirus cases, I’m here to present an article that can’t help be laced with negatives after not only that performance, but our recent form of 4 losses on the trot whilst conceding 15 goals just weeks after we had the chance to go 2nd.
Following Adelaide’s 5-1 defeat last week, changes were made to the starting line-up that saw Kitto and Boland take to the pitch, with D’Arrigo and Maria dropped to the bench. Opseth was out to injury and despite tempting us with Ben Halloran earlier in the week with his inclusion in the extended squad, bronchitis saw the man stay home. The Jets were bolstered by Hoolahan starting for the first time this season.
The eerie atmosphere of a quiet Cooper’s Stadium meant both players and coaching staff could no doubt hear every fan “suggestion” coming from the stands. The first 40 minutes saw some minor chances from both sides with Mauk’s attempt going across the face of goal in the 17th and Boland’s pinpoint tackle denying Petratos further opportunity in the 26th, however; I would’ve been more than happy for either my water to break or a good ol’ fashioned Boogaard send-off up until this point to spice things up a little.
The Jets found the breakthrough in the 41st as Petratos’ pinpoint assist found ROD for a simple tap-in to bring up his 3rd goal in as many games and to give Newcastle the lead into the break.
As the second half began, I wasn’t holding my breath that we would come back from a goal deficit based on recent form – well I was holding my breath, but for different reasons.
It didn’t take long for the Jets to capitalise again as Millar chipped Izzo in the 51st following a Boogaard long-ball assist to ring up 2-0. This type of goal was again too reminiscent of what we have been conceding in the past few weeks- allowing attackers so much space that they are constantly 1:1 with Izzo, who can only do so much when arguably 10 other men on the pitch haven’t done their jobs either.
Just 3 minutes later and I was again forced to go back and think back to a simpler time when toilet paper was readily available on shelves and we weren’t leaking goals. Following a Burns’ assist, Ugarkovic smashed in an absolute belter of a header to bring up the Jets’ third and cement their 6th straight game unbeaten. Hats off to Steven, it was a beautiful goal.
Through absolute jeers from the crowd yelling “do something”, Verbeek potentially took the piss and went in for a triple substitution that saw Kitto, McGree, and Mileusnic leave the field in place of Maria, Yengi, and li’l Toure. Now, unless McGree is injured (not something I’ve seen word of yet), why would you remove our top goal scorer, and instead reward mediocrity by continuing to play Maria? The injection of Yengi and Toure was exciting, but not enough at this point to salvage anything.
So, what is going wrong at United? The squad is good enough on paper and was good enough a few months ago. The players don’t seem to be on the same page and for so many of them to be off, we must look at management. Most new coaches need the first few rounds to warm up and for their vision to come to fruition, but with Verbeek we have absolutely gone backwards and I have no clue what this guy is trying to string together. Add in the removal of passion that we have been blessed with in coaches past including Gombau and Kurz, and this guy just looks bored. I’ve never been on a #coachout train before but I am damn close now.
On a personal note, no matter what happens going forward with COVID-19, this was my last appearance at Hindmarsh as I go off to boost Adelaide United’s membership numbers by one (happy to collect a finder’s fee AUFC) and start baby-induced self-isolation.
It was somewhat upsetting to walk out for the final time this season to a chorus of boos and the Adelaide United Social media admin posting the score with the same unpassionate caption: ‘fulltime.’ for the 3rd time in 4 weeks after we lifted a trophy only 5 months ago. But maybe we will turn it around if some tough decisions are made behind closed doors, because the one thing that hasn’t been cancelled is hope…and sacking your coach.
By Hayley Routley