Adelaide v Wolves

Round 11 report by Lino Fusco
Adelaide United v Wollongong Wolves

Adelaide United's winless streak was extended to five games after the side threw away a victory over the Wollongong Wolves. Another big crowd of 9,528 were stunned by two defensive errors that gifted the Wolves a draw.

Adelaide started the game the stronger of the two sides though consistently gave away the ball cheaply in the opening minutes of the game. Once again Lozanovski and Kemp were creating openings down the flanks but the Wolves defenders were able to comfortably clear the crosses.

Veart could have put Adelaide one up when he found some space on the edge of the box in the 5th minute but his shot was comfortably saved by Crews.

At the other end of the park Wollongong midfielder Shane Lyons and Nigerian Chima Ngawazi was causing some problems for the Adelaide defence without creating any goal scoring opportunities.

Adelaide continued to look the more dangerous of the two sides and created a series of half chances. Lozanovski almost scored with a fine strike that brought an excellent save from the impressive Crews.

Adelaide's first defensive lapse occurred in the 20th minute when Nigerian Chima Ngawazi lost his defender with ease and slipped the ball past the gung-ho and out of position Bajic. It was the first time Bajic was really called into action and he did not have to make another save for the remainder of the half.

Adelaide continued to control the game for the remainder of the half without being convincing. Adelaide just could not find the heads of their strikers with the crosses from out wide and the Wolves held on to their surprise lead till the break.

In the second half Adelaide came out very strongly and took full control of the game. Adelaide scored a deserving equalizer in the 48th minute when defender Valkanis nodded home another Lozanovski curler.

Midfielder Aloisi almost put Adelaide ahead with a fine strike from 25 metres that cannoned into the goalpost.

In the 54th minute Kosmina brought on young striker Mimi Saric for the tiring Shane Smeltz. Saric increased the pressure on Wollongong as they struggled to cope with his pace.

In the 65th minute Aloisi split the Wollongong defence and Saric smashed in a cross that almost found Veart. Only a few minutes Saric curled a free kick into the top corner only to find Crews equal to his shot.

Saric wasted the best opportunity of the game when he was put through inside the box. With only the keeper to beat, Saric scruffed his shot meekly into the hands of Crew.

Finally in the 81st minute Adelaide got the goal it deserved. Carl Veart got on the end of another cross and did a brilliant flick on with his right foot from the front post to the unmarked Saric on the back post. This time Saric made no mistake and smashed the ball past a stranded Crews from inside the 5 yard line.

Adelaide was cruising to victory when another defensive lapse gifted a draw to Wollongong. In the 90th minute Wollongong earned a corner and all 11 players, including goalkeeper Crews, headed for the penalty area. Former Adelaide boy Steve Degiovaanniello's well taken corner found the head of Wollongong defender Ben Blake. His looping header sailed past a seemingly stunned Bajic before being headed into the back of the net by an Adelaide defender.

For the final few minutes of the game Adelaide pushed hard for another goal but Wollongong had no intention of giving up their early Christmas present.

Adelaide coach John Kosmina was furious with the way his side gave away two goals. The Wolves did not have a single clear chance all game and simply capitalized on two defensive errors. ""We've thrown away two points. We were very sloppy tonight," said Kosmina after the game.

Adelaide is starting to pay a very heavy price for having three very inexperienced goalkeepers in its squad. Young Scarsella showed some indifferent form in goals for the first five games of the season. He was replaced by 26 year Bajic who was plucked from relative the obscurity of a local under23's side. In only his second NSL game Bajic did little to inspire confidence. Third string goal keeper Nick Crossley is only 16 years old. One has to wonder if the January 15th transfer window can not come quick enough for John Kosmina.

Best for Adelaide was the always consistent Valkanis. Midfielders Kemp and Aloisi had good games along with the outstanding substitute Saric.

Chimaobi Nwaogazi had a good start to the game but quickly faded. Shane Lyones was the pick of the Wollongong midfielders while the brilliant Crews was a key factor in keeping his team in the game.