What has more total knock out power on a Friday night- Horn’s fist or Goodwin’s butt? In a match up more chaotic than coordinating a wog wedding, a ten-man Adelaide came out victorious against an equally ten-man Roar in a game of last man standing at Cooper’s to open round 6.
In contrast to the sledging prior to the Mundine/Horn boxing match, TLL favourite Ken Ilso was doing his best to drop his Aussie slang, and in particular the phrase humdinger, into every tweet reply and pre-match conference. So for his benefit, we will be dropping a little more to expand that Aussie vocab. Also Ken if you are reading this, happy birthday for Sunday but I’m disappointed I did not win your shorts on the Shake It App- can I please have a pair to hang in the TLL office?
Both teams fielded an unchanged starting 11, not wanting to break the winning formula from the previous round, in a game where saying “former player” for both sides would be as repetitive as the A-league fixtures in a ten-team comp themselves. Mauk was a late bench inclusion with Nigro a last-minute withdrawal. And perhaps with the benefit of hindsight Mauk, you should have stayed home. Regan retained his starting position, with Jakobsen still pulling up sore in circumstances I’m beginning to become suspicious of- is Regan doing Jakobsen over in the car park at trainings?
The opening half had chockers of intensity as high as McKay’s shorts. Perhaps the opening minute yellow card to Bowles following a foul on Halloran should have been a sign that this game was going to be more chaotic than when you attempt to move an image 1mm to the right in Microsoft Word. End-to-end football ensued, firstly with the post denying Taggart in the 22nd from opening the scoring off a fast break. Adelaide was also getting in on the ‘almost scoring action’ through multiple involvements by Ilso as well as Isaías and Regan taking rare dips.
Perhaps if we had the bobbling surface of Spotless Stadium some of the crossbar and far post deflections may have just bounced over the line. By this point I had stood up and down so many times to celebrate the ‘oh it’s in, oh wait nope’ that I had lost a plugger to the row in front.
Taggart hoping for his 6th goal in 6 matches ended up being his downfall, straining his groin following a central shot on target in the 35th, shown a yellow for good measure for not doing one rotisserie roll clockwise off the pitch, and thus beginning the player exodus of the night.
Halloran finally broke the opening half deadlock in the 43rd; scoring his first AUFC A-League goal, through a left foot shot following a Goodwin assist. Ben quickly shored up a brace 4 minutes into the second half to clean up Kitto’s attempt initially denied by Young’s fingertips.
Adelaide’s new Boogaard-in-disguise, Regan claimed another victim with a poor challenge on Bauthéac to see Regan claim a yellow and Bauthéac struggling on for 3 minutes with the Aussie “she’ll be right” attitude before exiting the field for the night.
The two-goal advantage saw Kurz substitute Kitto off in the 61st, who had provided AUFC with some great pace up front. The move instigated Adelaide taking their foot off the pedal and stuffing around at the back. With the exception of Halloran, who on a hattrick was pulling out all stops to get his third including an attempted scorpion kick, AUFC largely dropped in intensity allowing Henrique to get one back in the 67th.
A 76th minute foul by Regan saw the game tip over the edge. Mauk, taking all he has learnt from the Aloisi anger management program, instigated some biff with Regan knowing that the big man will not stand idly by. Regan turned Mauk’s face into a bowling ball, initially a move that went unpunished by on-field ref Gillett, however later deemed a second yellow offence by VAR with Regan sent for an early shower and a coldie (insert shameless plug for Regan Tee that is currently highly relevant- we’ve got to make the most of a bad situation right?). Now, not disputing in the slightest that this deserved some form of card…but how is VAR handing out yellow cards? Amongst all the excitement within the game, it has somewhat gone unnoticed that VAR is again working outside of the scope of the set game-changing incidents it should be limited to.
Fifteen plus minutes is a long time for any team to hold on being a man down, with what was left of Adelaide’s defence and Izzo working overtime for the final minutes of regulation time. However, Brisbane not content with the one-man advantage evened things up in the 91st, even if Mauk has yet to actually see the red card for himself. We reached peak “just A-league things”, with Mauk knocking himself out through contact with the falling butt of Goodwin as he went down following his studs up late challenge. Hats off to Isaías who could see Mauk was in danger and shielded him from any immediate retribution from the players on the pitch, although once sent off down that tunnel you are on your own with Regan my friend. Meanwhile, Aloisi and Kurz were exchanging pleasantries on the sidelines, which is the best place to learn some further Aussie lingo including the phrase “you f*cking idiot”. On the plus side, I’ve never seen so much coverage of A-league highlights on mainstream media this morning.
Somehow, the score line remained at 2-1 by the final whistle and Adelaide temporarily moves into second place with their first home win of the season. Isaías’ efforts really shone within this game. Our Capitano’s efforts can often go more unrecognised than the female accompanying singer in Brathwaite’s ‘The Horses’ (yeah, who?), but he is constantly a rock within the midfield and as a leader, he is our wonderwall. And if this is the kind of drama we have seen against Brisbane, will everyone make it out alive during the Original Rivalry clash with Victory next round?
Featured Image from Fox Sports Football Twitter page.