Flights to Adelaide: $400, overnight accommodation $150, cutla stadium beverages $18, ripping a flare 8 minutes in to have the whole ‘Tour of Duty’ squad (who could’ve fit into a maxi taxi) evicted to miss their side snag an away win against a top 6 side: priceless (+$50,000 fine). And due to these actions, the results of the Saturday night primetime fixture were neither side walking away with any points as the 3-1 win to WSW is obviously null and void.
Adelaide came into the clash with a 7-game unbeaten streak against the Wanderers, and undefeated overall in their past 5 games this season. However, the Reds would be facing this clash without Nikola, who is reported to be out for the next 10-12 weeks with an ankle injury picked up during last week’s City game…but still likely to return before Diawara.
This was a game of return to classic form. Adelaide reverted to the typical play of dominating possession with little reward- finishing with 70% possession and the majority of on-target chances in the first 70 minutes, only to allow WSW to convert the minute the ball gets down the other end. Whilst WSW got their flair back on the pitch through return-to-form Roly, and flare ripped off the pitch to form a better combination than blacktop bitumen and greenery.
As the air filled with a glorious orange cloud in the opening 10, Riera managed to head one in following a Bonevacia free kick in the 12th minute. To be fair, many of the Adelaide supporters missed the opener as they were too busy waving goodbye to the evicted RBB members. Not to worry, going down 1-0 is just child’s play for Adelaide (narrator: it wasn’t child’s play).
Only a minute later Hamill fouled Adelaide’s new loan recruit Thomassen in the box. Hometown ref Daniel Elder initially waved the foul away and play continued down the other end, whilst WSW arch nemesis KGJ urged Elder to take another look pitch side. Dan was man enough to admit he thought he’d originally made a mistake and pointed to the spot. Up steps Goodwin, who was a little too predictable with the left foot, as Vedran guessed correctly to get a hand to it to parry the shot away.
The first half continued with Adelaide pressing but never materialising into anything too threatening as play looked as slow as every Adelaide main arterial crippled by never-ending roadworks. The Reds appeared to be missing the pace of Nik, with Strain and Galloway not quite at their usual deadly best. Adelaide’s corner game was looking about as lame as someone liking their own Facebook post as multiple short corners amounted to nothing, and the ones that made it past first man were going straight to the keeper.
Finally, Kitto managed to provide the post-flare spark for Adelaide in the 44th to snag his first goal for the season and to bring things in level at the break.
Adelaide came out with a strong chance in the second half, as United scrambled in the box in the 51st, with the ball somehow not finding the back of the net following attempts from Kitto, Blackwood, and Thomassen. Proving that all you need is one man to score, WSW immediately caught Adelaide on the break as Bonevacia found something out of nothing to send his shot firing into the back of the net, with a little assistance from a Strain deflection, in the 54th to give the Wanderers the lead.
Thomanssen continued to attempt to notch up his maiden Adelaide goal in the 65th, but was again denied by Janjetović, who was getting handsy in all the right areas.
To further add to Adelaide’s woes, Majok found WSW’s third goal in the 71st, assisted by ‘man of the hour’ Bonevacia, to send the ball bouncing over Izzo’s head. The time wasting that followed by Roly withholding the ball, saw a bit of biff break out in the middle. If you look closely at the footage, Elrich can be seen placing Izzo’s hand around his neck, and then protesting to Elder. No love lost there, hey Tarek.
Rightfully fearful that their two-goal lead wasn’t enough, WSW players began going down with more cramp than a female friendship group with their monthlies in sync. This is the only time in my life where I will ever agree with Muscat when he suggested that the game should not stop for treatment of cramp. Roll yourself off the side and get on with it.
Izzo saved Adelaide from further carnage in the 88th with a double save, but by now the sheets were well and truly soiled and the familiar feeling of leaving Hindmarsh winless this season returned for home fans.
Kurz appeared to be going for broke in the 90th as Elsey made way for Marrone. However, these tactics didn’t seem to translate on the field as the atmosphere felt completely different to that of the ‘come from behind’ performance against the Roar at the previous home game. You could feel it wasn’t going to happen as much as you know you won’t win the lottery but you keep spending an hour’s wage on a ticket anyway.
The loss saw Adelaide cough up an opportunity to further cement fourth position, and put some heat on Sydney for third. In contrast, WSW showed what they could do when veteran Vedran showed up in place of brain fart Janjetović, in combination with their defence holding it together long enough to not cough up a lead and their forwards finding form. Let’s see what WSW bring to Perth next week and whether Adelaide can capitalise on the Jets’ busy playing schedule.
By Hayley Leedham