Rasschaert scores first goal as Brisbane sink Adelaide

Adelaide United 0-1 Brisbane Roar (05/02/22)

By Ben Carey

Above: Shea Connors battles win to win possession earlier today. Photo: Adelaide United

Brisbane Roar boosted their finals chances on Sunday afternoon with a win over Adelaide United away from home.

Brisbane came in with an unchanged line-up from their exciting clash against Wellington Phoenix last weekend, hoping to conjure some of the same attacking magic they found in the first half of that match. Adelaide United came into the game winless in six straight matches, with something to prove in front of a home crowd.

The match started out a bit cagey, each team testing the other out. They had faced off just three weeks previously before in Brisbane, which resulted in a frustrating 1-1 draw for both teams.

Adelaide grew into the match slowly, dominating possession and creating the majority of opportunities. Their pace and accuracy of their passing was excellent, as was the dynamic movement of many of the Reds players, but they struggled to create anything from their possession.

In the 21st minute, Chelsie Dawber took the first shot on target for Adelaide, but it was saved easily by Hensley Hancuff. 15 minutes later though, Dawber found herself in a dangerous position, after an excellent pass from Japanese international, Nanako Sasaki. Dawber took a shot on goal, drawing an excellent save from Hancuff. There was an immediate counterattack by Brisbane, but when Katrina Gorry crossed it into the box, no forwards were there to capitalise.

Shea Connors found herself involved in a few half chances near the end of the first half. The first coming from a Gorry cross that bounced high off an Adelaide defender. Connors got her head on it, but couldnโ€™t find enough pace to trouble Annalee Grove, the Adelaide keeper. A few minutes later she made her way into the box again, producing some great footwork to create space for a shot, but once she got it off it was blocked by a defender.

Just before halftime, there was a dramatic free kick from Sasaki off a set piece from well outside the box. She found the head of Dutch international, Marushka Waldus, who is almost six foot tall, and known for scoring headers. She made good contact with the ball, but it hit the underside of the crossbar and fell into the hands of the Brisbane keeper.

It was a scrappy start to the second half, with neither team maintaining possession for long. There were a few half chances up both ends. The first real opportunity of the second half came from a wonderful corner kick from Sasaki that found the head of Jenna McCormick, but her header was just wide of the goals.

Just before the 70-minute mark, there was a very strange series of events. Connors, who was in possession of the ball, was shoved over and her trailing boot clipped Dawber in the face, resulting in a bloody nose for the South Australian. Connors was unjustly given a yellow card, however, the Roar were still given a free kick. After a lot of delays and build-up, the free kick itself was relatively anticlimactic.

A few minutes later, during a corner kick, Dylan Holmes and Gorry had a collision in the box. Gorry had her back to Holmes, who went down. Holmes was unhappy with the contact and was subsequently shown a yellow card for dissent. Soon after, Holmes fouled Gorry in open play, resulting in a free kick for Brisbane. Hollie Palmer hit a superb ball into the box, which found Brisbaneโ€™s tallest player, defender Jessie Rasschaert, who used her head to dink it over Grove and score her first-ever A-League goal.

After Brisbane scored they looked like a different team. They started maintaining more possession and they had more of an offensive mindset when they were moving forward. But Adelaide was ramping up their aggression too, eager to strike back. In the 82nd minute, Jenna McCormick took a great shot from range, which needed a top-drawer diving save from Hancuff to tip it off the post and out of danger.

The last 10 or 15 minutes were frantic. Adelaide desperately trying to find a goal and come away with a point and Brisbane absorbing pressure and trying to hold on to the win. The Roar seemed to have taken some good lessons from last season, the whole team apply great late-game management to close out the match with a win. It was the first time since March 2021 that Brisbane had beaten Adelaide.

While Adelaide dominated the first half in terms of possession and shots on goals, they were unable to convert on any of their chances. Brisbane was able to hold on, absorb the pressure, and then strike back in the second half.

Rasschaert played an exceptional match. In the last few matches, Garrath McPherson has been employing her as a wing-back, rather than the full-back role she usually plays. This has allowed Rasschaert to use her pace to get up the side of the pitch, and set up the midfielders or forwards, somewhat reminiscent of Ellie Carpenter. She hit a couple of great passes into the final third during the match. It will be interesting to see how she develops in that role.

Palmer and Hancuff also performed very well, Palmer coming up clutch on set pieces, and Hancuff pulling out a number of amazing saves to keep Brisbane in the match. What an incredible signing she has been for the Roar this season.

Sasaki was exceptional for Adelaide, creating a handful of dangerous opportunities from set pieces. Waldus and McCormick also put in a great shift, the centre back duo not only shutting down numerous Brisbane Roar attacks, but also both coming within inches of scoring for Adelaide.

Brisbane Roar will play Melbourne Victory at home next Saturday and Adelaide United will have three weeks to lick their wounds and figure out how to break their seven-game winless streak when they also take on Melbourne Victory on February 26th.

Teams: ADELAIDE UNITED (4-3-3): Grove, I. Hodgson, McCormick, Waldus, E. Hodgson, Westland, Sasaki, Holmes, Dawber, Murray, Hayward. Substitutes: Wilson, Barbieri, Bowler, Coorey, Tolland.

BRISBANE ROAR (4-2-3-1): Hancuff, Kramer, Lind, Rankin, Rasschaert, Norrie, Connors, Gorry, Palmer, Riley, Crummer. Substitutes: Shuttleworth, McQueen, Levin, Kruger, Freier.

Scorers: Rasschaert 78โ€™.

Referee: Bec Mackie.

Attendance: 1,045.

Artwork: Charlotte Stacey, founder of On Her Side.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: