3-1. I’m gonna tell my kids this was the 2007 grand final.
It was set to be an Original Rivalry like no other. No, not because there was a distinctly reduced police presence as SAPOL were torn between attending this fixture on the same weekend as Victor Harbour schoolies. It was the return of Kurz to Hindmarsh for the first time in wrinkled Victory summer scarf attire (although I’d like to think a little Adelaide defiance remained in him when he didn’t take on the collar sponsors) as well as Troisi facing his former club for the first time in red. We were also still waiting for that war Verbeek threatened to wage last week after the Mariners played “injured” Olyroo-eligible Silvera.
Adelaide saw the return of Toure to the bench, back from international duty, whilst Halloran was a late-week withdrawal due to a hip injury to allow Blackwood back into the side. Victory had Nabbout available as well as Hoogland making his first campaign appearance, starting on the bench.
United started fast and remained in control for much of the game, although Toivonen became involved early with a quick-fire yellow in the 4th. Adelaide’s first major chance came in the 15th as Blackwood fired a header towards Thomas. Victory immediately attempted to catch Adelaide on the break as the ball headed straight down the other end. Not wanting to be the one to concede to Corey Brown, Izzo’s glorious foot saved the day to deny Victory the opener.
The deadlock was broken in the 23rd as Strain found Opseth in the centre of the box. The Norwegian’s shot found the post but McGree, not one to refuse following up on a teammate’s effort, was waiting for the clean-up to sink the opener at close range.
The Reds entered the sheds at halftime with the lead and my free Monday morning Maccas coffee was looking all the more in reach.
Six minutes into the second half and Victory thought they had got the leveller. Nabbout’s shot found the hands of Izzo who deflected the ball straight into the arm of Corey Brown, with Elvis then finding the back of the net. The goal was instantly chalked off for the handball in the lead up and Kamsoba continues to find himself in a loving relationship with disallowed goals.
Kruse entered the field in the 54th, and for a man who is desired by most Victory fans as much as the hot 2L soft drinks that sit out the front of servos when there are perfectly good chilled ones inside, he made a quick impact. The 61st saw Toivonen, the guy with a workload as high as Bobby from Queer Eye compared to the rest of the team, square things up through a top right corner belter following a Kruse cross.
And it was game on! For about 40 second as Adelaide replied quicker than a girl who’s been left on seen for a week finally getting a “haha” message back. Let’s just say my grandma’s indicator lasts longer than that levelled score line. Adelaide were able to score straight from the kick off as Maria got his maiden A-League goal (perhaps with a little Basha deflection).
In the 68th, McGree highlighted for the second time this week that he can be two balls deep as he notched up a brace. Stumbling past Brown, McGree proved that nothing was going to stop him scoring in that box to seal United’s 4th win in a row.
With 37 days left of this decade, this is one of the most exciting times to be a Red’s fan who are playing some absolutely beautiful team football to see them up in 3rd. Every week it is a joy to watch Jakobsen command at the back with makeshift CB Marrone, D’Arrigo boss it up in the midfield with assist-king Troisi, Maria and Toure as sensational off-season pick-ups, and any number of our forwards (but Riley a lot) finding their name on the score sheet. Throw in a Bozza rant post-match calling your rivals pathetic and rubbish whilst they languish in 9th and I’m feeling as superior as people who open the BOM weather app when asked the temperature outside.
By Hayley Routley