Cornthwaite’s Corner: The young player that’s caught me by surprise

If you keep doing the right thing, you will eventually be rewarded, but at some point, you need to reward yourself.

Carl must be pulling his hair out.

Two home games in a row, and Adelaide should have taken all three points on second-half performances alone. It’s a great sign the team is dominating visiting teams, but to not bury your chances against Wellington on Thursday and then fail to truly test Filip Kurto after halftime on Monday is a double whammy.

You’re never gifted anything in football, and while it feels like a win is just around the corner, a tough trip to Sydney means there’s every chance the winless run could stretch on.

The transfer window opened on Wednesday, and while fans will always dream of season-changing signings, that’s something this club has rarely done or is capable of in the January window, I would have thought. There might be two or three players in the door and potentially one or two out, but I wouldn’t be holding my breath for a marquee signing. That’s not the way this club operates.

Of all the young talent in the club, I don’t think many would have predicted Giuseppe Bovalina to be the shining light. He’s been outstanding, bar one or two brain fades, which you’re bound to get from a teenager. I fully expected Javi Lopez to reclaim his place in the starting lineup once he was fit, but he’s been unable to dislodge the talented right back.

Bovalina’s cross to set up Ben Halloran was pin point, and while you expect him to be able to get forward and back at that stage of the game, he’s engine is something that’s caught me by surprise. There’re times in the second half of matches where he’s in the middle of the penalty area looking to get on the end of crosses coming in from the left. I keep expecting him to get caught out badly, but other than a few small moments, he’s always been able to get back. He’s an attacking threat, and I think in time you’ll see him on the score sheet more regularly.

James Delianov came to the Reds rescue on Monday night to make a clutch injury time save. I think he’s been solid in the two matches he’s played so far and has grown more and more across the two 90 minutes. Early on against Wellington, I felt that he was aware of himself too much, and you could see he was thinking and not playing on instinct. It’s a hard thing for me to explain because he didn’t do anything wrong, but you could see he wasn’t in the moment like a player who’s playing regularly.

Sky Blues test

Sydney gave Adelaide an absolute bath last time out, so they’d be hoping to do the same again. They haven’t been great since that first game under Ufuk Talay, but they sit level on points with United, so it’s a game Adelaide can’t lose if it wants to stay in touch with the top six. We saw what the Sky Blues front three are capable of, so there’s no excuse.

Nick Ansell is nursing a knee issue, and I was a little annoyed that he came off at halftime for the second straight game. It didn’t feel like good injury management, even with stocks low in that area.

Adelaide could bring in reinforcements this window but will get Musa Toure, Lachlan Barr, and Harry Van Der Saag back before the end of the month. While the postponement of the Western United game is frustrating, it does allow those players, including Ansell, an extra week of recovery, which could be beneficial come the season’s end.

 It’s nearing the halfway point of the season, and Adelaide has two choices: stay in touch with the rest of the pack and make something happen or continue to throw points away and wonder what could have been.

 From what I’ve seen this season so far, fourth to sixth is where this team should end up. Missing finals is a failure.

Follow Robbie on Twitter and Instagram.