League leaders Adelaide United have overcome a slow start to eventually take down Wellington Phoenix 3-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium tonight. The Reds looked lacklustre at times in the opening half before turning on the gas and netting twice in a minute through Sergio van Dijk and then Marcos Flores before Travis Dodd grabbed a third to maintain their brilliant win-loss ratio this season and create a new A-League record of 13 matches unbeaten.
Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide Crowd: 11,206 Referee: Alan Milliner Yellow cards:AU - Robert Cornthwaite 47', Travis Dodd 77', Adam Hughes 81' WP - Tim Brown 30'
The contest was an even affair early on with Adelaide probably just shading the visitors in terms of possession and shots on goal but Wellington kicked into gear around the 15-minute mark and looked much more comfortable as time went on.
The Phoenix began to get right on top with Leo Bertos and Mirjan Pavlovic providing plenty of headaches for the Reds defence although Adelaide skipper Lucas Pantelis and playmaker Marcos Flores were doing their best to get their teammates back into the contest.
However, neither side were able to provide too much trouble for the opposing keeper and the opening 45 minutes ended without a goal.
Adelaide kicked off the second half on the front foot and were strengthened when Travis Dodd was brought on for Iain Ramsay in the 53rd minute and it almost worked immediately with the erstwhile captain coming agonisingly close following a goalmouth scramble involving Pantelis.
There was plenty more zip about the home side around the hour-mark as Pantelis went close on two occasions - once with a header and once with a sliding shot under pressure - and it seemed as though the league leaders were destined to score.
They were extremely close in the 69th minute when Paul Reid struck with vigour towards goal but Mark Paston came up with a world-class save as the pressure mounted on the Phoenix.
GOAL A minute later, Adelaide got their reward when Pantelis picked out Sergio van Dijk with a pinpoint cross and the big Dutchman headed home with power and precision for his fifth of the season.
GOAL Less than a minute after the opener, the Reds went two ahead when Dodd turned Andrew Durante inside out before finding Flores in the area and the Argentine star made no mistake with a cheeky finish over Paston to make it 2-0.
GOAL The 77th minute saw Dodd, who was making a brilliant impact off the bench, finish with aplomb after the Phoenix defence got caught out from a long ball for his first goal of the season, making it 3-0 and wrapping up the contest to push Adelaide six points clear at the summit.
Subs - Mark Birighitti (gk), Travis Dodd (53'), Inseob Shin (86'), Fabian Barbiero (79')
WP Mark Paston (gk), Manny Muscat, Tim Brown, Leo Bertos, Paul Ifill (Daniel 74'), Chris Greenacre, Troy Hearfield, Mirjan Pavlovic (Ward 70'), Vince Lia, Ben Sigmund, Andrew Durante