Adelaide United endured its second Liberty A-League loss of the season, falling 3-1 despite a gallant effort in the second-half.
The Reds trailed 2-0 at the interval before Chelsie Dawber grabbed a goal back, but as United pushed for an equaliser Hannah Wilkinson made it 3-1 in the 94th minute to net a brace and perhaps flatter the hosts.
What went right. What went wrong.
What went wrong: Conceding two goals in quick succession
You can always cop conceding a goal – that’s football. However, conceding twice in a matter of minutes is far from ideal and makes the task of a comeback all the more difficult. The Reds were breached in the 38th minute via a spectacular long-range strike from Rhianna Pollicina and then from a corner in the 40th minute. Ultimately, it proved too big a mountain to climb and with the Reds desperate to secure something from the contest they shipped a third goal – totally against the run of play.
What went right: Dominated the last 30 minutes
After Chelsie Dawber halved the deficit in the 65th minute, Adelaide had the ascendancy and all the momentum. The forward showed her striker instincts when she reacted quickest to Melissa Barbieri’s initial parry from Shadeene Evans’ powerful header. From that point on United dominated and you could sense they had another goal in them. Unfortunately, it never arrived but they played with a lot more urgency in attack and put City under immense pressure. Fiona Worts also appeared to have been bundled over in the penalty area but the referee waved away the protestations. The substitutes also made an impact with Emilia Murray and Georgia Beaumont causing a bit of havoc for the Melbourne defence. Despite the result and slow start to proceedings, Adrian Stenta would be encouraged by the final half hour, although will be looking for a more complete display moving forward.
What went wrong: Vulnerable defending set-pieces
Adelaide’s vulnerability when defending set-pieces reared its ugly head again after an impervious display last weekend against Canberra United. It was a ploy City looked to target with a number of corners swung in and aiming for inside the six-yard box. Annalee Grove made a couple of strong punches, while City also squandered a free header from a crossing free-kick. There was a feeling of deja vu given it was the same venue – AAMI Park – where they lost 5-1 to Melbourne Victory a fortnight ago, however thankfully they were still a lot better than that day.
What went right: Condon’s composure in midfield
Before Emily Condon succumbed to a corky and had to be replaced, the attacking midfielder was impressive as she wore the Captain’s armband in the absence of Isabel Hodgson due to injury. Her composure on the ball and ambidextrous ability allows her to dribble out of tight spaces and create opportunities for her teammates. The 23-year-old’s quality is clear and fortunately the injury is not too serious and should be back in time for Adelaide’s next clash.
Saturday, 18 December
Liberty A-League 2021/22 – Round 3
Melbourne City 3 (Pollicina 38’, Wilkinson 40’, 90+4’)
Adelaide United 1 (Dawber 65’)
Venue: AAMI Park