Western United fell to defeat at AAMI Park on Sunday evening, with Adelaide United taking a 4-2 win from the Isuzu UTE A-League Men Round 5 clash.
United rued early missed opportunities as Adelaide found the net three times in the first half – first via Hiroshi Ibusuki, next from Craig Goodwin and finally with a Leo Lacroix own goal.
Nicolas Milanovic came off the bench to give the Green and Black a lifeline but Ben Halloran restored Adelaide’s three-goal cushion before Joe Gauci thwarted Lachie Wales from the penalty spot.
Dylan Pierias did add a second for United as stoppage time approached but the hosts were unable to avoid defeat.
John Aloisi made two alterations to the starting XI as Jacob Tratt came into the starting line-up for the first time as a Western United player, replacing the suspended Nikolai Topor-Stanley.
James Troisi also came into the line-up having completed his recovery from a minor calf strain, taking up the No.10 position as Milanovic dropped to the bench.
Western United thought it was off to the most perfect start when Dylan Wenzel-Halls found the bottom corner with a crisp left-footed strike, but the offside flag halted any premature celebrations.
United’s No.9 was in on goal again minutes later but was denied by the outstretched foot of Gauci in the Adelaide goal before turning provider for Connor Pain who scuffed a shot into the goalkeeper’s hands.
The early dominance from the hosts came to nothing, though, as Adelaide hit the front nine minutes in as Ibusuki leapt highest to head home Goodwin’s corner.
Adelaide made it two in the 23rd minute as Goodwin got one for himself, cutting inside onto his right foot and firing past Jamie Young via a deflection from Tratt.
United struggled to get a foothold on the ball and Adelaide extended the lead further just past the half hour mark when Lacroix diverted George Blackwood’s mishit shot into his own net.
Aloisi’s men put together the best passage of play right before the half-time whistle with a series of passes down the left-wing, but Lachie Wales couldn’t direct a header from Pain’s cross onto the target.
United work to do coming out of half-time and Milanovic, who opened the scoring last week, emerged off the bench to aid the cause.
The youngster did just that in the 53rd minute with a smart close-range finish through Gauci’s legs after both he and Wenzel-Halls had had initial attempts on goal blocked.
Milanovic was alive in the box again to flick a header on target moments later as United continued to search for a route back into the match.
The game began to open up as United pushed forward and Adelaide sought to threaten on the counter-attack and it became very much an end to end affair on the hour mark – Young had to defend a cross, Gauci cleared from the feet of Wales, Blackwood hit the crossbar and Milanovic nearly picked out Wales with a low ball into the box within about 90 seconds.
The hectic nature of the beginning of the half didn’t bear more fruit for United, though, as Adelaide began to look to see out the remainder of the match.
The Reds put the result beyond doubt in the 79th minute when Halloran slotted into the bottom corner and Gauci saved a penalty from Wales after the No.8 had been brought down in the box.
Pierias did have time to pull another one back as he tapped in Alessandro Diamanti’s corner at the back post, but United couldn’t get close enough to pull the result back in the end.