Adelaide v Sharks

Round 14 report by Lino Fusco
Adelaide United v Sydney Olympic

Sydney Olympic stopped Adelaide Unitedšs climb up the NSL ladder by snatching a 1-1 draw in front of another big crowd at Hindmarsh Stadium. Over 11,000 fans turned out to cheer their leg weary side that has played five games in only 16 days.

Adelaide Coach John Kosmina made two changes to the side that defeated Northern Spirit bringing in Smeltz for the injured Saric and Westervelt for Pellegrino. He continued with the sweeper system that has brought two wins in two games.

Sydney pushed forward from the start and grabbed the first corner of the game in the 2nd minute. The corner was comfortably cleared by Adelaide. Sydney may have taken a little more care with the corner if they had known that they would only get one more corner for the rest of the game.

Adelaide earnt its first corner a minute later after Carl Veart put a nice ball down the left flank to Shane Thompson whošs cross was knocked out. Carl Veart latched onto Lozanovskišs curling corner but struck the ball over the bar from 5 metres out.

Adelaide took control of the game and had Olympic concentrating on defending. Sydney keeper Hughes struggled to deal with another Lozanovski corner and had to tap it out for another corner. This time United defender Kristian Rees got on the end of the corner only to direct his header straight in the arms of Hughes.

Within a minute Adelaide had another corner. Sydney cleared the corner but only as far as Aloisi who put his shot just wide of the upright. A minute later Westervelt cleverly created some space on the left, brushed past his defender and shot over the bar from outside the box.

Adelaide was well on top in the midfield and Sydney were struggling to contain the runs down the two flanks. Sydney midfielder Troy Halpin was toiling hard with little support and it was his ball in the 15th minute that forced Adelaide keeper Scarsella to bravely put his body on the line to kick clear a 50/50 ball from just outside of his area.

Scarsella was again in the thick of things coming out to gather a seemingly harmless overhit long ball. Scarsella gathered the ball and Sydney striker Goutzioulis closed him down, body checked the young keeper and then deciding to feign something more sinister. A bit of pushing and shoving prevailed between the two sides while referee Eddie Lennie consulted his linesman. Goutzioulis was awarded for his acting when Lennie decided to award a free kick just outside the box to Sydney. The free kick was in a dangerous position but Halpin could only fire it straight into the defensive wall.

Goutzioulis could have put Sydney one up when he got on the end of a cross. With his back to the goals the striker cheekily attempted a clever flick that went wide from only 4 metres out.

The game was being played at a quick pace as Adelaide United pushed for grab the lead it thoroughly deserved. Aloisi found an opening just inside the box but sliced his shot so wide it went out for a throw.

Another corner and Adelaide defender Kristian Rees showed why he is not a striker by putting his free header wide of the target.

In the 30th minute Alagich pushed down the flank and found the head of Shane Smeltz with his cross. Sydney goalkeeper Hughes could only watch as Smeltzšs header grazed the top of the cross bar.

Next Shane Thompson pushed down the other flank and found Carl Veart with his cross who hit his header straight into the hands of Hughes.

Veart was the villan again when a great cross by Westervelt found the feet of an unmarked Veart inside the box. Veart went around Hughes only to end up too wide on the goal line. His cut back to the waiting Smeltz missed its target and was comfortably cleared.

Two minutes later and Veart was at it again. Vidmar hit a great ball from defence and Veart turned his defender inside out. With only the keeper to beat, Veart blazed his shot over the bar.

Sydney went into the break fortunate to still be in the game. Adelaide had dominated the first half and should have been sitting on a comfortable lead but for all the squandered chances.

The second half started in the same vein as the first. A great run by Goulding earned Adelaide a corner. Sydney cleared the ball only as far as Aloisi who shot just wide of the upright.

In the 57th minute the hard working Westervelt hit another fantastic ball to substitute Terminello who got behind the Sydney defence. With Veart and Smelz bearing down on goals Terminello was only able to gift his cross to the Sydney defence. Another opportunity missed.

Disaster then struck for Adelaide. Sydney striker Goutzioulis was put through the Adelaide defence and was in a foot race with veteran sweeper Vidmar. Vidmar was already on one yellow card when he checked the run of Goutzioulis. It was a minor check but Goutzioulis, in a manner that would make Arsenal midfielder Pires feel proud, hit the deck like a sack of potatoes. Vidmar was the last man and it was an obvious professional foul. Referee Eddie Lennie had little choice other than to issue a second yellow card and send Viddie to the changerooms.

Cardozo took the resulting free kick from just outside the box. His shot flew just over the bar.

Without Vidmar the Adelaide defence was unsettled. Only four minutes later Jim Nikas capitalized on a confused Adelaide defence that was caught looking at each other to close down Nikas. Nikas drew the defenders and then laid off a pass to Cardozo who made no mistake from close range.

Sydney were threatening to increase the score so Coach Kosmina brought on the experience Valkanis to settle down the Adelaide defence.

With Valkanis on the field the 10 man Adelaide United took the game to Sydney Olympic. An angry looking Carl Veart seemed determined to pull one back for Adelaide. He combined with Shane Thompson to earn Adelaide another corner but once again nothing came of it.

In the 70th minute Adelaide was awarded a dangerous free kick only 25 metres out which Richie Alagich hit wide of the mark. Only a minute later and Sydney dragged down Thompson to give Adelaide another free kick just outside the box. This time it was take by Westervelt. He curled his free kick past a seemingly stranded Hughes but was maybe an inch wide of the post. Three minutes later and Westervelt was lining up for another free kick outside the Sydney penalty area. This time his shot flew well over the bar.

Carl Veart should have leveled the scores after a 25-metre run. With only the keeper to beat Veartšs shot was deflected wide for a corner.

With only three minutes of normal time remaining Adelaide finally got the equalizer it deserved. Another corner was met by Shane Thompson who made no mistake with his header from the 5 yard line.

In the end Adelaide were relieved to come away from the game with a point. However on the balance of play they deserved so much more. Coach Kosmina must be feeling frustrated by all the missed chances. However he can draw some solace from the fact that Adelaide are improving with every game. It may not have been reflected in the score but this was the best Adelaide has played at home so far this season.

Sydney Olympic have a lot of work to do if they are to be a challenger. They have some talented players in their squad but they are only showing glimpses of the soccer they should be capable of playing.

Best for Adelaide was the hard working Aaron Westervelt closely followed by Richie Alagich and Shane Thompson. Best for Sydney was Troy Halpin, Iain Fyfe and Ante Juric.