OPINION: What went right, what went wrong vs Canberra United

Dylan Holmes

Adelaide United recorded consecutive wins for the first time this season after a resilient 3-1 triumph over Canberra United at Viking Park.

Dylan Holmes and Chelsie Dawber had the Reds in a commanding position at the break before substitute Ashleigh Sykes reduced the deficit in the 57th minute.

After surrendering a 2-0 half-time lead at the same venue last season, there would be no repeat this time around for Adelaide as Fiona Worts sealed the three points, albeit against the run of play on 77 minutes.

The result provisionally lifts Adelaide into the top four as they recorded their second ever victory in the Capital and first since October 2014.


What went right: Reds lethal in transition

Adelaide struggled to keep possession of the ball for long spells. However, what they lacked in ball retention they compensated with being lethal on the counter-attack. All of Adelaide’s goals arrived after absorbing Canberra’s pressure and taken clinically. Fiona Worts was also integral in all three. Her mazy run saw the ball fall to Emily Condon, who clipped the ball to Paige Hayward and she squared her header for Dylan Holmes to rifle her finish home for the opener.

The Englishwoman then released Chelsie Dawber with a brilliantly weighted pass which eliminated the Canberra backline. Worts then scored herself, netting her second of the campaign at a crucial time and thwarted any chance of a comeback. The 25-year-old controlled a pass from substitute Reona Omiya’s first touch of the game, and calmly slotted her strike into the bottom corner. The Reds have scored seven goals in their past two matches and will be optimistic of keeping that form going moving forward.

What went wrong: Lacked rhythm

Despite scoring three, Adelaide could not seem to sustain any form of fluidity into its game aside from when it ventured into the final third. Often the midfield was bypassed and the likes of Emily Condon were unable to really have an impact on the game. United’s defence played several long balls forward which prevented the midfielders from controlling the contest on their terms.

Dylan Holmes and Emma Stanbury were industrious but did not see heaps of the ball, instead looked to break up Canberra’s passages of play. Nevertheless, it is impossible to dominate and execute a perfect game every time and if scoring three goals and collecting three points is the trade-off, then any team will take that every day of the week.

What went right: Dawber continues red-hot scoring streak

Star attacker Chelsie Dawber scored for the third straight game and has four goals during that time. The 21-year-old can do no wrong up front, confidently finishing another one-on-one opportunity after being released by a defence-splitting through ball from Worts.

What went wrong: Nervy defensive moments

While Adelaide showed resilience to remain in the contest under immense duress, the Reds did concede too many chances to the hosts – 18 in fact. In spite of this, Kayla Sharples was largely resolute and made several sturdy challenges. Her presence alongside Matilda McNamara will hopefully forge a formidable partnership in the heart of the defence. Adelaide was unable to keep a clean sheet, but they were able to ultimately weather the storm, even if the home side squandered a couple of guilt-edged opportunities.

Match details:
Saturday, 8 January
Liberty A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 6
Canberra United 1 (Sykes 57’)
Adelaide United 3 (Holmes 9’, Dawber 40’, Worts 77’)
Venue: Viking Park