The Western Sydney Wanderers and Adelaide played out a 0-0 draw in the second match between the pair in four days and CommBank Stadium.
The Wanderers came out of the blocks fast, with returning full-back Thomas Aquilina striking the post on seven minutes after a marauding run forward. Terry Antonis then sent a dangerous cross into the box, but Bernie Ibini and Ramy Najjarine were unable to connect with the ball.
Adelaide were able to contain the onslaught and began to grow into the game, sending a series of crosses into the Wanderers box. Off one of these corners, Lachlan Barr forced Daniel Margush into a smart reflex save on 38 minutes.
Adelaide then had the best chances of the match in the 66th minute, with Lachlan Brook breaking away and getting a shot away that was well saved by Margush, with the follow up being saved brilliantly off the line by Adama Traore.
Whilst both sides sent men forward in an attempt to win the match, neither side was at their ruthless best to find the killer ball or shot to get them the three points.
WANDERERS START WELL, BUT LACK CLINICAL EDGE
A problem that has at times haunted the Wanderers under both Carl Robinson and Mark Rudan has been their inability to get to grips with the pace of the game early on.
This was not a problem in this match, with the full-backs bombing forward and peppering the Adelaide goal with crosses, and with the midfield sending in through balls to the front line.
However, they rarely gave Adelaide keeper Joe Gauci much to do, apart from gathering a few loose balls and pot-shots, the Wanderers struggled to create meaningful chances on goal. With the out and out striker Tomer Hemed left on the bench in the first half, it felt that the Wanderers could have done with a focal point at the top of the pitch, someone to get on the end of those loose balls or with the presence of mind to snag a poacher’s effort.
A profligacy in front of goal has plagued the Wanderers all season long, their recent loss to Macarthur in particular highlighted their inability to take their chances and convert them into crucial goals.
Hemed was eventually brought into the fray after 70 minutes, having a two headed chances, however they were both dealt with comfortably by Gauci
GOODWIN-LESS UNITED TAKE THEIR TIME
Already missing Michael Jakobsen for this match, Carl Veart was given a further headache late in the day when star attacker Craig Goodwin was ruled to be a COVID-19 close contact.
It appeared that the Reds struggled to adapt to the late change in the early stages of the match, struggling to retain possession or put the Wanderers under a sustained period of pressure whilst they themselves had to contain a fired up Wanderers.
Once they managed to ride out that storm however, the movement of their attacking trio of Lachlan Brook, Bernardo and Hiroshi Ibusuki began to pull the Wanderers defence around the park. Phillip Cancar in particular began to struggle under the increased pressure, being caught dwelling on the ball by Ibusuki and perhaps lucky not to concede a penalty after a rash challenge in the box.
Much like their opponents though, they largely struggled to convert their spell in control of the match into clear-cut opportunities
MORE DROPPED POINTS FOR WANDERERS IN RACE FOR TOP SIX
After their back to the wall victory against the same opponents on Wednesday night, the Wanderers were hoping that they could repeat the trick in front of their own fans in order to continue their march back up the table.
After their slow start to the season, they are in the unenviable position of having to play catch up, and every dropped point is another dent in their quest to reach the finals for the first time in six years.
Coach Mark Rudan has repeatedly voiced his wish for the club to find a consistency that has evaded them this season, but in what turned into an arm-wrestle on Sunday night, his team was once again unable to string together consecutive wins for the first time this season.
Whilst they still have games in hand on the teams above them, if Rudan rouse the team to hit their heights on a consistent basis, then they will once again be left behind by the rest of the big hitters.
Western Sydney Wanderers 0
Adelaide United 0