Another draw at Spotless and another missed opportunity to cement a top 6 finish slips by the Wanderers. The Wanderers could only manage a 0-0 draw against, soon to be wooden spooners, Adelaide United at Spotless Stadium on Saturday night.
The draw sees the Wanderers remain in 6th by just 2 points thanks to a string of favourable results. However, the Wanderers missed a real chance to pull away from the pack nipping at their heels and are 7 points behind 5th place Perth.
It was a match that the Wanderers had to win. At home against the team a long way at the bottom, it was the perfect opportunity to put poor results in the ACL and in Perth behind them and to break the curse at Soulless Stadium. However, it was another case of the Wanderers simply not meeting expectations.
The lineup was pretty much as expected with a few surprise inclusions, such as out of favour young striker Lachlan Scott leading the line. For the most part, the Wanderers seemed to be building to a good win. On the attack and, of course, maintaining possession, the chances began to appear. However, some offsides and misplaced shots started to creep in and when the ball finally found its way into the back of the net it was disallowed for reasons known only to Kris Griffith-Jones.
Even with decisions and luck going against the Red and Black, the game was still for the taking. The second half performance, however, was a poor display by a team lacking confidence. The Wanderers fell back into their familiar pattern of refusing to put in a final ball or take a shot. Electing instead to pass the ball back and around in the hope that the ball finds its own way into the goals. When chances were finally created they were either wasted or quickly snuffed out by the Adelaide defence or keeper, Margush.
The substitutions did not help the cause either and showed a lack of intent to change the game and really try to break through the deadlock. in the 65th minute, young Scott was replaced by the experienced Griffiths in a straight like for like swap; in the 70th minute star marquee and creative player Nico Martinez was replaced by young winger Josh Sotirio with a history of being inconsistent in front of goal; and in the 78th minute the masterstroke swap of Dimas coming off for Pinatares in a like for like swap of defensive midfielders. Three substitutions in 13 minutes and not one of them with any real chance to change the game and none of them reflected the desperate need to get all 3 points from the match.
Ultimately it was another disappointing performance and another painful result which puts even more doubt on Popovic’s ambitions to win the Championship this season. It is true that refereeing decisions were against WSW but to single that out as the reason for the result would be incorrect. There were multiple opportunities to win that game and in the end the performance as a whole simply wasn’t good enough.
The Wanderers now have a short rest before travelling to Korea to face Seoul FC on Wednesday 15 March, 9.30pm Sydney time. Their next A League match is against Wellington Phoenix on 19 March, 7pm at Spotless in what will be an absolute 6 point duel for 6th place.