A poor crowd of approximately 6000 turned out to Coopers Stadium to see Round 9 action on a warm Sunday afternoon. With Adelaide sweltering in near 40 degree weather and with temperatures close to 38 degrees at kick-off, it didn’t make any sense as to why the match wasn’t delayed until a 7pm kick-off. The 5pm Sunday night kick-off is nothing short of a joke and for two consecutive weeks the crowd has been low, it’s a bad time and A-League bosses need to address this poor timing arrangement to get people to games and bums on seats. As for the heat policy, it’s good to see players being given drink break every fifteen minutes, but it doesn’t make sense playing a winter sport in stifling heat, surely the players should’ve just refused to play until after at least 6pm, when the suns intensity settled a bit more.
As for the on pitch action, United started strong with a blistering opening 20 minutes with Maria, Toure and Troisi in the thick of the action, the Jets were under pressure and with McGree injured and Strain on the bench, coach Verbeek definitely wanted a more heartened performance after last week’s mediocre loss to Wellington.
When Blackwood opened the scoring in the 30th, after Toure out dribbled the defenders on the far pitch line and crossed it into the box, you’d have thought that the Reds had opened the flood gates to domination. The remainder of the first half would see the Jets gradually lift the tempo and starting to dominate possession centrally, with Izzo making several saves Adelaide were lucky to head to the break with a lead.
In the 2nd half the Reds all but capitulated, perhaps the heat had affected the players, but they went to sleep and Petratos and Thurgate were giving the Reds defenders plenty of problems, with D’Ariggo man marking Petratos, the Socceroo was still finding ways to break free and setup strikes on goal, if it wasn’t for Izzo’s brilliance the Jets could’ve gone 3 or 4 goals ahead. An early header from Millar off a Petratos cross, evened the scores and put the Jets onto a path of domination. With the Reds making the earliest sub in the 70th, not much changed and the lack of will was evident from the Reds as the Jets literally controlled play.
A rare united attack and bit of Troisi skill, resulted in a late winner for the Reds. The better team on the day can lose and the Jets, can only take away a solid performance and not any points, but that’s sports sometimes. Without player of the match Izzo, who knows what the score line would’ve been.
With Adelaide going into the bye next week it will surely be two weeks of solid training as the Reds coaching staff will look at ways to get the Reds playing the way they can and position themselves to make an attack on the title with plenty of points to grab in the New Year.