Wanderers on top with three matches to go

The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers have gone one point clear at the top of the table with only three matches left in the Hyundai A-League season.

It was a frustrating evening for the Red & Black who dominated the match and the shot count 16-3 against Adelaide United but were unable to conjure up a winner despite a barrage of second half pressure.
 
In what was an intense and delicately balanced encounter the best chance of the match fell to Mark Bridge in the final minute of injury time whose shot curled agonisingly wide of Eugene Galekovic’s goal.


 
But the Wanderers could’ve – perhaps should’ve – sealed the game prior to Bridge’s chance with a host of opportunities arriving late in the second half.
 
Both sides struggled to generate momentum from the first whistle and having lost for the first time in 15 matches last weekend it was a back to basics approach from Adelaide that led to a supremely organised performance.

Adelaide United

 
The Wanderers began to patiently chip away at the Reds’ resistance with Mitch Nichols and Romeo Castelen each firing shots in anger late in the first half.
 
After the half-time break, the Wanderers began to mount significant pressure on the Adelaide goal.

Adelaide United

 
It was Castelen who provided some of the spark missing from the first half, and only a heroic block from Dylan McGowan prevented the Dutchman from teeing up Mark Bridge with a simple finish on the penalty spot.
 
Minutes later Castelen went close himself after sending a thunderous effort from outside the area fizzing narrowly over the post.
 
With the premiership race hanging in the balance Brendon Santalab was summoned from the bench but not even the super-sub could find a way past the visitors, although he almost managed to net his sixth goal off the bench when his header was spilled onto the post and then regathered by Galekovic.

Adelaide United

 
There was to be one final opportunity for the Wanderers in injury time when Scott Jamieson’s cross slipped through a mass of bodies in the penalty area and arrived at the feet of Mark Bridge but the Wanderers all-time leading goal scorer sent his effort wide.