Photo: Adelaide United's Travis Dodd changed the game when he came on [PlessPix]
Adelaide United 3-0 Wellington Phoenix
Adelaide United set a new A-League record with this 3-0 win over Wellington Phoenix at home at Hindmarsh Stadium tonight. It was Adelaide’s 13th unbeaten match in a row.
The victory put them 6 points clear at the top of the A-League ladder. They have 25 points, while second-placed Brisbane Roar have 19.
Wellington, who have now lost 5 away games this season, are 6th with 12 points.
Wellington had the better of the opening half but were unable to score.
Three goals in 7 minutes in the second half gave Adelaide what was ultimately a comfortable win.
The introduction of Travis Dodd early in the second half and the return after injury of Marcos Flores were the key to Adelaide’s win.
Dodd moved to the right flank, freeing Lucas Pantelis to move to his favoured left flank and these two positional changes helped to destroy the visitors.
Wellington goalkeeper Mark Paston produced a brilliant save in the 69th minute, diving full length to his right to turn a fierce shot from Paul Reid against the outside of the post and out for a corner.
Van Dijk headed over the bar from the corner, but these two chances signified the beginning of Adelaide’s revival.
In the 71st minute, Flores put Pantelis away on the left and Van Dijk headed his accurate cross in off the bar to give Adelaide the lead.
A minute later, Dodd’s perfectly weighted pass across the front of the penalty area found Flores, who advanced on goal before nonchalantly lifting the ball over the advancing keeper to make it 2-0.
The third goal was as direct as they come. A long kick by goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic found Dodd wide on the right and deep in the Wellington half. He outpaced Manny Muscat and scored with a powerful shot across Paston and into the far corner of the net.
Galekovic was unbeatable between the posts, too, denying Mirjan Pavlovic and Chris Greenacre and preventing the visitors from making a contest of it.
The only downside for Adelaide was that Dodd limped off in stoppage time with an Achilles tendon strain. This was his third game back after a long lay-off and it would be a huge blow if the injury delayed his return to the starting line-up of the team he captains, especially given that Adelaide’s next game is against Melbourne Victory, who have beaten Adelaide in all 9 of their past meetings.
Adelaide United (4-3-3): Galekovic - Mullen, Cornthwaite, Fyfe, Cassio - Hughes, Flores (Barbiero 79), Reid (Shin 86) - Ramsay (Dodd 53), Van Dijk, Pantelis [Substitute not used: Birighitti]
Booked: Cornthwaite, Dodd, Hughes
Goals: Van Dijk 71, Flores 72, Dodd 77
Wellington Phoenix (4-4-2): Paston - Hearfield, Durante, Sigmund, Muscat - Ifill (Daniel 74), Brown, Lia, Bertos - Pavlovic (Ward 70), Greenacre [Substitutes not used: North, Vukovic]
Ref: A Milliner