With a home final on offer, it was a red-letter day for Adelaide United and the Reds couldn’t get over the line.
While Adelaide has now assured itself a top six spot, it was a home final it truly craved and with the Wanderers forced to play with ten men for the majority of the game, many at Adelaide will be seeing this as a missed opportunity. Reds boss Carl Veart however says he is happy with a point.
“We wanted to win tonight that was the messaging (during the week) it was get the three points but with the game the way it went the last five ten minutes we thought we’ll take the point because that’s all we needed.” Veart said.
Veart was handed a please explain by the APL for his comments about referee Daniel Elder in the loss to Sydney on Saturday, and Wanderers coach Carl Robinson was equally aggrieved with Alex King’s game changing decision to send off Tass Mourdoukoutas in the first half.
“(Consistency) is all coaches want,” Robinson said.
“You don’t want coaches talking about referees but they do every week, it’s not just me cause it happened to me today it’s every week.
“I think Carl (Veart) asked for a non South Australian referee so he got one, and obviously I got punished today.”
The Reds who were the aggressors early on. Louis D’Arrigo and Javi Lopez both forced brilliant saves out of former Adelaide United goalkeeper Daniel Margush within the opening ten minutes.
And Adelaide’s dominance was rewarded, a delightful flick from Ben Halloran setting up Ryan Strain who’s shot clattered off of Ziggy Gordon and went into the back of the net, denying Strain his first ever A-League goal.
Strain would still find the scoresheet a short time later though, Bruce Kamau continuing his strong form with his shot bouncing off Strain to put the Wanderers level against the run of play.
And that goal seemed to galvanise Carl Robinson’s side, they began to establish themselves within the game and Graham Dorrans capitalised, finding the net with a superb left-footed finish.
The game opened up in the second half, Tomi Juric causing the Wanderers all sorts of problems with his hold up play while Thomas Aquilina hit the woodwork down the other end.
Eventually Adelaide would make its one man advantage count though, Craig Goodwin smashing home an equaliser at the far post in what could potentially be his last game at Hindmarsh Stadium, with his loan set to end at the end of this season.
It was the Wanderers’ who had the best chance in the closing stages though, James Delianov carelessly gave the ball away in his own penalty area before sparing his own blushes with a spectacular save to give Adelaide a point.
VEART’S NERVY WAIT
After failing to secure all three points Adelaide now has to rely on its finals rivals if it is to earn a spot any higher up the ladder.
The Reds are now equal on points with Central Coast and Macarthur and goal difference is set to play a key role.
Heavy losses for both Macarthur and Central Coast could potentially see the Reds leapfrog them in the table however with both sides facing teams outside the top six it does appear unlikely.
Carl Veart will now be spending his weekend glued to his television screen, as the Reds face an agonising wait to discover their finals fate by the end of the weekend.
MICKY’S LAST STAND
With Jordan Elsey suspended, Carl Veart opted to field Michael Marrone at centre back rather than George Timotheou, in what could potentially be Marrone’s final game at Hindmarsh Stadium.
The 34-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the season and having made just six appearances this season, is not expected to be offered a new deal.
After making 192 appearances in all competitions for the Reds – second only to Eugene Galekovic – in two seperate spells since debuting for his hometown club in 2008, Marrone was given the chance to have what could potentially be one final farewell to Hindmarsh Stadium depending on results elsewhere this weekend.
WANDERERS‘ WEARY START
Western Sydney had nothing to play for in terms of ladder position, and it showed in the early stages.
The Wanderers looked lethargic and couldn’t deal with Adelaide’s relentless high pressing, however the Reds quickly tired which allowed the Wanderers plenty of space on the counter attack.
The red card to Tass Mourdoukoutas completely changed the game though, allowing Adelaide to completely dominate possession and force Daniel Margush into a string of fantastic saves.
Adelaide United 2 (Ziggy Gordon O.G. 11m, Craig Goodwin 56m) Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Ryan Strain O.G. 22m, Graham Dorrans 30m)
Referee: Alex King
VAR: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Adelaide United: 4-3-3
No 1. James Delianov, 4. Ryan Strain, 2. Michael Marrone, 22. Michael Jakobsen, 7. Ryan Kitto, 6. Louis D’Arrigo, 21. Javi Lopez (18. Joe Caletti 90m), 8. Stefan Mauk (27. Josh Cavallo 70m), 26. Ben Halloran (24. Pacifique Niyongabire 90m), 35. Al Hassan Toure (9. Tomi Juric 45m), 11. Craig Goodwin
Unused Subs: 3. George Timotheou, 33. Dakota Ochsenham, 34. Yared Abetew
Coach: Carl Veart
Yellow Cards: Jakobsen, Juric
Red Cards: None
Western Sydney Wanderers : 3-5-2
No 30. Daniel Margush, 2. Ziggy Gordon (33. Mark Natta 67m), 4. Dylan McGowan, 6. Tass Mourdoukoutas, 39. Thomas Aquilina, 18. Graham Dorrans, 8. Steven Ugarkovic, 17. Keanu Baccus (19. Jordon Mutch 78m), 29. Daniel Wilmering (13. Tate Russell 60m), 9. Bernie Ibini (77. Scott McDonald 60m), 7. Bruce Kamau (14. James Troisi 60m)
Unused Subs: 27. Nicolai Muller, 50. Oliver Kalac
Coach: Carl Robinson
Yellow Cards: Dorrans, Baccus, McGowan
Red Cards: Mourdoukoutas
Image Supplied – Getty