Craig Goodwin’s equaliser sealed Adelaide’s A-League Finals Series return after an absorbing 2-2 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers kicked of the final round of the 2020/21 season at Coopers Stadium.
Wellington Phoenix’s finals hopes were ended as Goodwin marked his 150th A-League match by scoring his eighth goal of the campaign to secure sixth place for the Reds after Tass Mourdoukoutas’ 36th-minute red card saw Wanderers lose grip of their first-half lead.
Carl Veart’s Reds set their intentions from the off and Ryan Strain’s cross forced Ziggy Gordon to turn the ball into his own goal in the 11th minute, but the away side hit back midway through the opening stanza when Strain returned the favour, deflecting the ball into his own net following Bruce Kamau’s effort.
Premier League veteran Graham Dorrans’ third A-League goal on the half hour mark left Adelaide facing the prospect of seeing their finals ambitions slip out of their hands but Mourdoukoutas’ sending off for a studs-up tackle on Louis D’Arrigo left Carl Robinson’s side facing a hour to play with a player disadvantage.
The South Australians came blazing forward after the half-time interval and Goodwin’s drilled strike in the 56th minute calmed the nerves around the City of Churches. While a three-point haul would have lifted Adelaide into third place on the ladder, Veart’s side were left hanging on to sixth spot when Wanderers substitute Jordon Mutch was denied at close range by James Delianov late on.
Adelaide had their own chances to claim the win, but a draw closed the door on the Phoenix with the New Zealand outfit four points adrift heading into their final match against Macarthur FC on Saturday, as Veart celebrated his first full season in charge by leading the Reds back to the post-season following a year’s absence despite only claiming three wins in their last 13 games.