Western Sydney Wanderers 0-3 Adelaide United
Words and Pictures by Kris Goman, pitchside at Marconi Stadium (29/1/22)
Above: Western Sydney Wanderers and Adelaide United battle it out in the penalty box on Friday night. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.
A disappointing outing on a gorgeous balmy Sydney night for Wanderers fans as Adelaide handed the women in red and black the biggest loss of the season.
The kick-off was delayed by twenty minutes due to an issue with the turf. A giant hole was dug and then patched before play could start.
Adelaide started the night on the right foot with an opportunistic first goal during an early corner. Mayhem in front of goal saw Sarah Langman save twice before the ball was cleared and ended up with Fiona Worts again, the corner taker. Her lofted cross was headed by Chelsie Dawber, beating Langman, and dropping right in front of goal to be touched in by Kayla Sharples.
Emboldened by her first goal, Sharples had another close look with a header from another corner but Langman was able to stop this one and Matilda McNamara’s follow-up on the deflection.
Wanderers retaliated with a very long-range cross from Teigan Allen that nearly went in but landed on the roof of the net. Annalee Grove probably had it covered but it would have been spectacular if it went in.
Things changed for the Wanderwomen when Clare Hunt left the field with a shoulder injury. Hunt has been the lynchpin of the defence and her absence was immediately noticed.
Alex Huynh came on as her replacement and nearly drew level with an on-target shot saved by Grove. A Rosie Galea corner was cleared to Huynh standing at the top of the box and she created a rocket from nothing with a spin and one touch. Grove had to dive to her right to punch it outstretched and one-handed for a terrific save.
Wanderers had another chance very soon after with Bianca Galic when a defensive header by Sharples arrived at her feet. She got a shot away quickly but it skimmed the crossbar and landed in the stands.
The first half ended with Adelaide in front 1-0 and looking the stronger side.
Nearly ten minutes into the second half, the ball was given away by Galic to Worts who passes forward to Dawber, who’s in the clear. Caitlin Cooper’s in hot pursuit but can’t catch Dawber. As Langman comes out to reduce the angle, Dawber manages to put it past her and into the back of the net. Adelaide has taken control of the match and the score sits at 2-0.
Minutes later Worts is released by Dawber and is off through the centre. Huynh is keeping up and executes a perfect sliding tackle to clear the ball safely.
United seal the match just before full time when the ball goes to Worts on the left who slides it to Reona Omiya. Her pass to Dawber finds the striker unmarked and in the clear on the right. She absolutely threads the needle on the acute angle past Langman and slips it into the far left of the goal untouched by the Wanderers defence.
This wins puts Adelaide into third place on the table and, for the first time, has left the Wanderers defence looking wanting. Adelaide looked good in this match proving they have what it takes to get to the finals. Their passing was good, they created chances, they kept a clean sheet and they looked tight and organized.
The Wanderers are still having problems scoring. While they were unlucky with a penalty call this match, the only chances were individual moments rather than coordinated team attacks.
Their passing and possession let them down in this match too. With it later revealed that Hunt’s shoulder is in fact broken, their defence is likely to suffer going forward. While the defence is solid across the board and Huynh is certainly able to fill Hunt’s shoes, Hunt was having a breakout season and it’s terribly sad to see it end this way.
Adelaide meets the Newcastle Jets next Friday at home while the Wanderers are away to Melbourne City on Sunday, COVID permitting.
Kris Goman’s exclusive photo gallery for Impetus from Marconi Stadium:
Click on the arrow on the right side of the picture to see the next image
Teams: WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS: Langman, Apostolakis, Cooper, Hunt, Allen, Gallic, Galea, Copus-Brown, Halloway, Gallagher, Henry. Substitutes: Khamis (GK), Matos, Collister, Steinmetz, Huynh.
ADELAIDE UNITED: Grove, I. Hodgson, McNamara, Sharples, E. Hodgson, Sasaki, Holmes, Condon, Dawber, Worts, Hayward. Substitutes: Omiya, Beaumont, Varley, Templeman, Murray.
Scorers: Sharples 5’, Dawber 55’, 88’
Referee: Isabella Blaess