Parramatta's 13 month undefeated home record fell tonight as Adelaide United snatched a deserved battling win 2-1. The absence of captain Alvin Ceccoli added to Power's defensive woes and by the time the side was reshuffled it turned out to be too late.
Adelaide came away to Sydney without Aurelio Vidmar (suspended) and Mimi Saric, promoting Nick Budin straight to the starting lineup. Parramatta's undoubted depth has been tested by the losses to injury of John Bounavoglia, Andrew Durante, Kosta Salapasidis, and Alvin Ceccoli. In to the team late instead of Naum Sekulovski was Sasho Petrovski signed on a weekly contract after leaving FC Viborg in Denmark. It was however to be the defensive losses that told.
Parramatta started with 3-5-2 putting stand in skipper Simon Colosmo back into the central defence, and slotting Matt Thompson into central midfield. It didn't work. After weathering some initial activity from Power, the Adelaide team started to bustle in midfield, and in the 10th minute Matt Thompson lost the ball and Aaron Westervelt pushed the ball through the middle to Ross Aloisi, who shielded the ball well and struck his shot past an advancing Clint Bolton.
One minute later there was a chance at the other end as Sasho Petrovski hit a weak shot at the keeper, and the rebound was sent wide into the left side netting by Lucas Pantellis. Four minutes later Carl Veart for Adelaide got a shot in, but also into the side netting , on the right.
Ante Milicic did well to beat the keeper in a one-on-one, lobbing David Scarsella as he came out, but he hit the volley too high. In the 17th minute Adelaide got up on the right through Goran Lozanovski, who got in an early cross which went to the far post where an unmarked Shane Thompson headed back across goal and Carl Veart neatly headed in.
Adelaide were quite rampant for most of the rest of the first half, with Power having little answer to the midfield domination of Westervelt and Aloisi, and the aggressive running of Veart and Nick Budin. In fact the could have been further ahead as in the 39th minute Carl Veart was carded for an infringement and a goal disallowed. Power eventually got their act together when Andre Gumprecht received a sweet ball over the top on the right from Ahmad Elrich, made for the corner, crossing the ball well after beating his markers, and a free Sasho Petrovski scored his debut goal for Power in the 44th minute.
After the break Parramatta had reshaped their side, swapping Colosimo and Matt Thompson. It worked reasonably, as in the 49th minute Power got the ball to Fernando Rech on the left, who put it through to Milicic, but as it ran toward the goal line the master striker could only cut it back into the side netting. One minute later Milicic put a header wide.
Adelaide battled back and in the 52nd minute Shane Thompson got in a cross to Veart but he also could only find the side netting. Westervelt pushed forward in the 55th min but put his shot high. Two minutes later Gumprecht found space on the right, got in an early ball to Milicic but his header was spectacularly saved by Scarsella diving full stretch to his left.
In the 67th minute Elrich got to a ball just before the line, hooked it back and Rech's header looped dangerously forcing Scarsella to punch it from just under the crossbar. For the rest of the game however it was Adelaide breaking away to be closed down by the resuffled Power defence and Parramatta unable to find its away through the solid Adelaide defence. Five minutes from normal time Adelaide had one last chance, with a great cross from Richie Alagich on the right finding substitute Adriano Pelligrino but his forcefull header was intercepted by a lunging Jacek Sobczyk to clear.
Best for Parramatta were Michael Beauchamp, Andre Gumprecht, Ahmad Elrich. Adelaide's best were Carl Veart, Aaron Westervelt, Ross Aloisi, Richie Alagich, Kristian Rees, and Nick Budin.
A deserved win the Adelaide, who did the simple things well, and were not at all overawed by Power's attack force. Well done to the bus-load of Adelaide fans who made the long haul, and supported their side and more than matched it with Power's Bay 41 all night. Parramatta has to have a rethink if they are to seal a top two spot.