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

Stefan Mauk

Adelaide United remain winless to start the Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 season after a narrow 1-0 loss to Western United at AAMI Park on Friday night.

Connor Pain scored the decisive goal in the clash in the 44th minute, consigning the Reds to a second successive defeat.

What went right. What went wrong

What went wrong: Overhit crosses

The Reds just could not find their range when crossing the ball as time after time it went long, fell to empty space or a Western United head. They can routinely find their man accurately in training but it needs to translate on the park if United are to take advantage and convert. Whether in the air or playing through, they simply need to find a route to goal one way or another. When they do, confidence will come and perhaps the floodgates will burst open.

What went wrong: Decent build up play ends in frustration

Once again Adelaide showed flashes of quality and promise in its possession when building up into the attacking third. Unfortunately, however that is often where any offensive incursion would break down. Carl Veart has often spoken about his side just lacking that final pass and it was again evident at AAMI Park. Whether it was aerial crosses or low cut-backs they rarely found another Reds player on the end of it. It was always going to be difficult to overcome a miserly Western defence that has not conceded since Matchweek 1, but they failed to ask enough questions and apply relentless pressure on their backline.  

What went right… and wrong

The Reds had the ball in the back of the net twice but on both occasions were ruled out by the referee. Michael Jakobsen was adjudged to have fouled Nikolai Topor-Stanley before Mohamed Toure scored, although replays suggested it was difficult to spot a free-kick. Then after half-time, the referee denied an advantage which resulted in Ben Halloran scoring in stunning fashion after Craig Goodwin was caught late. However, the whistle was blown too hastily which meant the goal could not be awarded. Adelaide could feel a little bit hard done by on the night even if they were unable to again capitalise on spells of dominance.

Carl Veart

What went right: Bernardo continues to impress

The diminutive winger came on and was lively, cutting inside and launching a shot on goal within minutes. His curling effort had power but was palmed away by Jamie Young in the Western United goal. He also teed up Stefan Mauk for an effort that flashed just wide, looking dangerous whenever he touched the ball. Bernardo has an x-factor to unlock defences and he remains one of the Reds most promising prospects going forward.

What went wrong: Slow start to the season

Winless after the opening five rounds, Adelaide has been in this position before and not least in the year they won the double in 2015/16. However, focusing back on this season it is certainly not what Carl and his team would have wanted. Sure, the Reds have been competitive in every match so far, and have played some encouraging football at times. However, they will need to find ways of scoring goals and being a lot more clinical and productive in the final third if they are to pick up points and climb the ladder.

Match details:
Friday, 17 December
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 5
Western United 1 (Pain 44’)
Adelaide United 0
Venue: AAMI Park
Crowd: 2,353