The New Year proved to be the perfect tonic for Adelaide United, who snapped their five-match winless streak to start the season with a 4-0 demolition of Wellington Phoenix in the Isuzu UTE A-League.
Adelaide and Wellington took centre stage at Coopers Stadium on New Year’s Day as the only game scheduled for Round 7 as the remaining five were rescheduled following postponements caused by rising COVID cases in clubs around the league.
The Reds, who lost goalkeeper James Delianov to a shoulder injury early in the contest, ushered in 2022 with maximum points for the first time this season thanks to a merciless display against visiting Wellington on Saturday.
George Blackwood’s fortuitous first-half opener set the tone before Craig Goodwin converted a pair of penalties in the second period, while Javi Lopez completed the rout 10 minutes from the end in Adelaide.
Wellington, who were undefeated in their previous four meetings with Adelaide, were well off the pace as they slumped to a fourth straight defeat in the league.
Adelaide took just seven minutes to break the deadlock against Wellington in warm conditions.
The Reds recycled a corner which Wellington failed to clear, with Juande teeing up Ryan Kitto for a left-footed cross.
Goodwin volleyed the cross first time, slamming his effort into Blackwood with the ricochet wrong-footing Phoenix keeper Alexander Paulsen, leaving him no chance.
Stefan Mauk tested Paulsen five minutes later, picking up a loose ball on the edge of the area and shooting powerfully, forcing the young Wellington custodian into a fine save.
The Reds were forced to substitute Delianov on the half-hour after he was hurt in a collision with Wellington striker Ben Waine.
The injury handed a debut to 16-year-old goalkeeper Steven Hall.
Adelaide continued to attack as the half wound down with Paulsen making good saves to deny Mauk and Kitto.
The Reds doubled their lead early in the second half when Blackwood was brought down inside the area by Tim Payne after a long throughball from Bernardo.
Having initially being waved away by referee Daniel Elder, he awarded a spot-kick after VAR intervened.
Goodwin stepped up nine minutes into the second half and coolly slotted home, sending Paulsen the wrong way.
Fifteen minutes later and Adelaide star Goodwin had a second, again successfully converting a penalty after the quick-footed Bernardo drew a foul from James McGarry.
Hall had little to do in his Reds debut in goal, but did produce a strong save, denying a powerful effort from Waine from just inside the area.
Adelaide eventually added a fourth when Spaniard Javi Lopez found the net in the 80th minute with his first goal for the club.