Adelaide 2-2 Western Sydney Wanderers: Hosts book Final Series place with a dramatic draw

Graham Dorrans-Western Sydney Wanderers

Adelaide United secured their spot in the Final Series with a 2-2 draw against Western Sydney Wanderers in their final game of the regular season.

The Reds came out with a point in an entertaining game that saw both sides carve out plenty of chances and both keepers producing world class saves.

The hosts entered the game knowing that a draw would guarantee them a place in the playoffs as they were three points ahead of Wellington Phoenix who play tomorrow. With that in mind, Carl Veart’s side were set on underpinning their dominance in the early stages of the game.

Adelaide United had a promising start and carved out plenty of chances. But they could not find a way past the in-form Daniel Margush in the Wanderers goal.

However, their pressure eventually paid off in the 11th minute when Ryan Strain’s goal-bound shot cannoned off Ziggy Gordon to hand the hosts the lead. The goal was then ruled as an own-goal in a blow to Strain whose wait for a league goal continues.

The visitors who up to that point had not tried their host’s goal responded almost immediately. But it was United’s right-back Strain, who ironically put the ball into his own net after Bruce Kamau’s shot came off his legs.

With the game level, the visitors struck again at the half-hour mark. This time it was Graham Dorrans who picked out the bottom left corner with a left-footed shot from the edge of the box to hand his side the shock lead. The goal was the players fourth of the campaign and put the visitors in a commanding position.

However, Adelaide were given a lifeline in the 36th minute when Wanderers defender Mourdoukoutas was given his marching orders for a two-footed tackle on D’Arrigo.

However, the hosts could not immediately capitalise on their numerical advantage. They could have gone two goals down early in the second period, against the run of play. But the impressive Thomas Aqualina could only hit his shot against the crossbar after he found himself one-on-one with the keeper.

With 56 minutes on the clock, United levelled the scores when the lively Craig Goodwin bundled home Halloran looping cross. 

The goal was enough to decide the game and ensured that the Reds end their season on a good note and join the other five teams in the Final Series.

Wanderers finish the season outside of the top-six with 35 points and nine wins this season.