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What went right, what went wrong vs Wellington Phoenix

Adelaide United bounced back with a 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.

On her 50th A-League Women’s match for the Reds, Isabel Hodgson’s cross was finished off by Paige Hayward to score her first goal in the competition in the second-half.

Following last weekend’s defeat, Adrian Stenta’s side needed a victory to consolidate its place in the top four and maintain its finals aspirations.

What went right. What went wrong.

What went right: Best passage of play unlocks defence

In a tight and tense contest, a moment of magic was needed to break the deadlock. For the majority of the clash the Reds lacked a cutting edge up front. However, in the 68th minute, an incisive attacking move saw Wellington’s goal breached. After some solid build-up play, Dylan Holmes, Fiona Worts and Isabel Hodgson combined which ended in the latter’s cross finding Paige Hayward at the back post.

What went wrong: Lacklustre performance

The Reds would have been looking to set the tone early against the competition’s newcomers. However, it was a rather insipid and disjointed display with the slower tempo indicative of the heat, compounding Adelaide’s desire to play with real intensity. However, they did retain possession a bit better in the midfield than last weekend, though still turned over the ball unnecessarily at times. However, ultimately, collecting three points is the most important aspect.

What went right: First clean sheet of the season

Despite Adelaide lacking fluidity in its attacking performance, they were largely untroubled in defence and never really looked like conceding. Isabel Hodgson in her milestone match, was resolute, as was her namesake, Emily Hodgson, on the other flank. In central defence, Matilda McNamara and Kayla Sharples were also impervious, winning challenges and blocking shots. Annalee Grove was rarely called into action as the hosts secured a maiden clean sheet. Something to build on.

What went right: Sasaki instrumental in midfield

Nanako Sasaki delivered another admirable performance in central midfield. The 22-year-old effortlessly appears to have so much time and space on the ball. Her short and long passing game was impressive and continues to illustrate why she easily belongs at this level.

Match details:
Friday, 21 January
Liberty A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 8
Adelaide United 1 (Hayward 68’)
Wellington Phoenix 0
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Attendance: 1,024