The Best and Worst of Wanderers vs Adelaide United (Rd 27)

A-League Round 27 vs Adelaide United 15/04/2018 ANZ Stadium
2-3 Loss

Final game of the regular season. All on the line. Needing to win against an Adelaide side that has never beaten us at home. But records are meant to be broken.

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Best – Unchanged Lineup
Why change a winning formula right? That is the reasoning behind this week’s Starting XI. Clisby keeps his spot partnering Hamill in the centre of defence and the Bacci retain their midfield pairing. Arguably our best front four get to play one last time and Vedran gets to front the fans after signing a 4 year extension.

Best? – Riera
Another week, another goal. Scoring started early once again after Riera was taken out by Izzo following a rare shot on target by Cejudo was spilled into the box. Riera calmly slotted it home from the spot and he is now officially the highest scoring Wanderers player in an A-League season. Riera has his high standard game as per usual but the service started drying up once we got down to 10 men and then even less once the midfield was subbed off completely. All the strikers in the world don’t mean anything if you have no one to feed them the ball.
Unfortunately, Reira lost the mind game with Izzo when it was time to take the 2nd penalty. He opted to go the other way and Izzo guessed correctly. But to put some of the blame of the lost on this is being short sighted.

Best – VAR To The Rescue
VAR is a wonderful thing isn’t it? It giveth and it taketh away. It gave us a penalty a few minutes after the blatant foul, and it sent one of our players off even longer after the incident. Despite is the decisions are correct or not, its just stopping the flow of the game and we’re all waiting around waiting for decisions. The ref isn’t going to the screen to make the decisions himself and is allowing the man upstairs to decide for him. That, I don’t like. The guy upstairs should be flagging something and the guy in the middle should be making the final decision.
But its good for the comedy and the talking points. VAR is great…

Worst – Baby Baccus Violent Offender
Not the first time Baby Baccus has been sent off for a dodgy challenge or lashing out. He needs to keep his temper in check because there are cameras everywhere and any semblance of retaliation will be dealt with by VAR. It was a silly thing to do and basically made it mission impossible when he was sent off. We lost a midfielder and were down to 10 when the scores were locked. You need to take responsibility for your actions and not let the team down in future. He is still young but needs to learn from this experience.
I’m not blaming him for the loss, we were terrible all season. This is just one moment in a young guy’s career that could have been handled better.

Worst – Red Card and Missed Penalty Flashbacks
Haven’t we been here before? A young player is sent off, we miss a penalty and we are eliminated. Difference is, last year it was in a knockout game and the penalty miss was in a shootout. Still, the parallels are uncanny and some of us superstitious folk believe we are still paying a penance for Nishimura in November 2014.
Again, neither of these incidents is the reason we aren’t playing finals next week. If you have to get a result in the final game of the season to come 6th in a 10 team competition, you’re not doing it right. We were basically playing to come 1st in the bottom half of the table.

Worst – Defending?
Defending is overrated. Well that’s the impression I get from Gombau. We never replaced Cornthwaite leaving in January and the final game of the season, a crunch game, we had Hamill and Clisby paired up. This was never going to work. We played with a super high line and were getting beaten by balls over the top all night. Clisby has to put his hand up for the first 2 goals as he didn’t deal with the balls effectively. The last goal was always going to happen when you remove a defender and all the midfield and hope to hold off any counter attacks. Still, the ball went across the face of the goal and Risdon watched Kitto come from outside him to stroke it home. Was terrible all round.
Its been the bane of our season. We just don’t look solid in defence at all. Defence wins championships and ours was no where near that calibre.

Worst – 2nd Half Scoring Woes
We went into half time at 2-2. Put your hand up if you thought we would score a goal or 2 in the second half?
Realistically, anyone?
We don’t score goals in the second half for some reason. This week, we needed to. It didn’t happen. Surprised?
Its been another bane of our season. So many points have been dropped or lost because of our inability to score in the second 45 minutes. Its crazy. It has to be addressed in the off season because you can’t win anything if you don’t score for half a match every week.

Best/Worst – Seventh Heaven and Not Caring
A very large part of me wanted us to not win this match. Why? Because we were terrible all season. Limping into the finals just to be eliminated in the first week is just a waste of everyone’s time. Every single year, 5th and 6th are eliminated in the first week of the finals. Odds are, this year will be the same. So did we really want to be a part of that? What would it achieve? We won 8 games out of 27. We conceded 47 goals, which funnily enough is only better than those teams that are below us on the table. But somehow we wanted to scrape into 6th and try to be Champions? Was never going to happen.
So why go through with that? Me not wanting us to progress is admitting to our mediocrity and wanting to be put out of our misery. They way we play, the way we set up defensively is not going to win any knockout game. Especially 3 in a row and all away from home. We deserve 7th place. The stats don’t lie. The only team we beat in the top 5 was City, and that was once. How can you expect to do anything in the post season cup if you haven’t beaten any of the teams all season? Just look at Adelaide for an example. 4 times we played them this season (including FFA Cup semi final). We lost 3 and drew 1. Similar records with all teams above us. This season was not decided last night. It was decided weeks ago.

Remember a month ago where we still had a chance of making 4th place? I ‘member.

Next week I’ll be releasing a Best and Worst for the season as a whole.

See you space cowboy…

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