The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers have their first point of the new campaign after coming from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with Adelaide at Coopers Stadium.In a similar fashion to last week’s season opener against Brisbane, the Wanderers flew out of the blocks with lovely interplay on the edge of the box between Romeo Castelen and Federico Piovaccari resulting in the game’s first corner, before the Dutchman hit the side netting shortly after.
Adelaide retaliated through a dangerous transition of their own with Craig Goodwin forcing Redmayne into a comfortable save at his near post.
The inventive Nichols was causing the Reds real problems with the former Roar man drifting across the edge of the box to combine with Castelen again in the 19th minute.
The Wanderers – especially the Flying Dutchman - should have been more clinical with the chances they created in the opening twenty minutes, the central narrative from last week’s disappointing loss to the Roar.
And once again, a defensive error meant the team were made to pay for their lack of end product at the other end of the field.
With Scott Neville caught infield, a quick switch released Tarek Elrich down the left.
The former Wanderers fullback skipped inside Neville’s challenge and his cutback was unfortunately diverted into his own net by Andreu.
Although the goal may have put the side on the back foot, they almost crafted an instant response.
A superb quick release from Andrew Redmayne found the lively Castelen bearing down on goal but he was unable to slide the ball through to two onrushing Wanderers.
A typically surging run from Nichols was picked out by Jaushua Sotirio, but the midfield livewire was crowded out by three Adelaide defenders, ensuring the Wanderers would head into half-time behind for the second week in a row.
The Wanderers lifted the tempo early in the second half.
Sotirio, whose pace and industry caused Adelaide problems in the first half, blazed a good chance over the bar and was replaced shortly after by Dario Vidosic, returning to Coopers Stadium to face his former employers.
The move injected an added level of fluidity to the Wanderers attacking forays in the final third with Piovaccari thwarted by an excellent defensive header by Adelaide’s Michael Marrone before Castelen forced Hall into a smart stop at his near post.
With the Wanderers piling on the pressure midway through the second half, Andreu performed his best Xavi impression, cutting two banks of Adelaide defence into ribbons: but unfortunately, Castelen was correctly ruled offside.
Adelaide looked to kill the Wanderers’ growing momentum, keeping possession to take the sting out of the game and they could have sealed the result themselves when Craig Goodwin’s strike from range was tipped onto the bar by Redmayne.
It was a stunning reaction save from the keeper who enjoyed an excellent all-round game after a nervy home debut last week.
Castelen sliced a fine half volley inches past the post after Vidosic’s nod-down and the winger went close minutes later after dancing through a crowded penalty box.
Like many previous occasions it felt like it was only a matter of time before the Wanderers made the breakthrough and this time it actually arrived in what was a complete role reversal for Adelaide’s opener.
With Adelaide looking to scramble a loose ball clear, a horrible clearance from Tarek Elrich fell to the feet of Andreu who rifled home from close range with seven minutes remaining.
A case of poetic justice for the Spaniard, and for the Wanderers themselves, who finally salvaged the goal their performance deserved.
Both teams could smell a late winner, with Vidosic almost squirming a shot past Hall moments after Andreu’s strike and Adelaide threatening from a barrage of late corners, but a draw left the two sides – the Wanderers in particular – to rue missed opportunities.
Adelaide United 1 (Andreu OG 21’)
NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Andreu 83’)