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OPINION: What went right, what went wrong vs Wellington Phoenix

Adelaide United began 2022 with a resounding 4-0 win over Wellington Phoenix at Coopers Stadium on New Year’s Day.

Craig Goodwin dispatched a pair of penalties, while George Blackwood and Javi López were also on the scoresheet in the convincing display to secure the Reds’ first win and second clean sheet of the 2021/22 season.

The result was also the first triumph against Wellington since April 2019.

WHAT WENT RIGHT. WHAT WENT WRONG

What went right: Early goal settled nerves

Adelaide scored its fastest goal of the season when Craig Goodwin’s shot deflected off George Blackwood to breach the Phoenix’s goal in the seventh minute. It certainly facilitated in calming the side and not having to force the issue. Adelaide were more patient in its build-up play thanks to Juande and Isaías controlling the tempo. They also played with more freedom and scored three more goals, albeit two of them were from the penalty spot. The aim now will be to establish some momentum, but a hectic schedule does await the Reds while also navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

What went wrong: Delianov’s injury

James Delianov had to be forced off with an injury after Ben Waine’s leg caught the goalkeeper’s left shoulder in the 31st minute. The 22-year-old appeared to be in excruciating pain and unable to continue. Carl Veart confirmed post-match that he will go for a scan to assess the full extent of the injury.

What went right: Hall’s unexpected debut

It is fair to say not in Steven Hall’s wildest dreams would he have imagined he would make his debut in his first ever senior appearance on the bench. But that is exactly what transpired with Delianov having to be withdrawn. Sure, you can mentally prepare, but I am almost certain it still does not compare to when the moment actually comes to fruition. And as the adage goes, one man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity and Hall more than held his own after being quite literally thrown in the deep end. At 16 years and 350 days, Hall became the youngest goalkeeper to appear in the Isuzu UTE A-League, and was assured in possession, made a couple of routine saves and commanded his area confidently on his way to keeping a clean sheet. If there were any nerves he did a good job of concealing them.

What went right: Goodwin off and running

After a couple of inspiring performances without reward, Craig Goodwin scored his maiden goals of the season. His brace from 12-yards out has seen him move to 35 career goals for the Club and will surely serve as a confidence booster. Goodwin was impactful and linked up well with Ryan Kitto on the left flank. Hopefully now that he has opened his account for the campaign, and with another 90 minutes under his belt, the 30-year-old has returned to his formidable best.   

Match details:
Saturday, 1 January
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 7
Adelaide United 4 (Blackwood 7’, Goodwin 54’ (p), 69’ (p), López 80’)
Wellington Phoenix 0
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Attendance: 4,390