Adam Le Fondre says the criticism levelled at Sydney FC’s poor form since the Hyundai A-League resumption has been warranted, but believes the Sky Blues showed glimpses of their best against Adelaide United on Thursday night.
Steve Corica’s side snapped their two-game losing streak with a hard-fought and entertaining 1-1 draw with the Reds at ANZ Stadium.
It was Le Fondre who ensured Sydney FC avoided a third straight defeat, with his 39th-minute goal – his 19th of the campaign – cancelling out Jordan Elsey’s early header.
While it wasn’t the victory the Sky Blues were craving, some of the football they played – especially through Serbian star Milos Ninkovic – indicated their swagger is returning.
Le Fondre felt his side stamped their authority on the contest after a shaky first 15 minutes, hopeful it’s a positive sign ahead of the Finals Series later this month.
“We haven’t been at the standards that we’ve set throughout the season and [before] the break,” Le Fondre told Fox Sports when asked about Sydney’s recent form.
“We’ve come back probably lackadaisical and that’s all of us. Being so far in front it’s probably played into our psyche.
“Tonight we wanted to show we are a dominant team. We weren’t able to get the win but I think it was a good performance overall.”
Le Fondre’s tally of 19 has not only taken him past the mark he managed last season (18), but has also drawn him level with Melbourne City’s Jamie Maclaren in the battle for the Golden Boot.
While Le Fondre getting on the scoresheet wasn’t a surprise, Adelaide’s goalscorer certainly was.
Elsey had only scored two previous goals in the Hyundai A-League – his last in 2018 - before his excellent header in the early stages.
The tough-tackling defender was left totally unmarked at a corner to bury his header, before running off and bringing out his trademark ‘emu’ celebration.
“The emu is unique, no one else does it,” said Elsey with a smile.
“I’ll stick with it. I don’t score much so when it comes out it’s a special moment.”
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The Reds would have hoped that Elsey’s celebration came with a victory, but the draw leaves their finals hopes in serious jeopardy.
While they are in sixth spot five points clear of Western United FC, Mark Rudan’s side have four games still to play, compared to Adelaide’s one.
“We still have belief in ourselves. We’re going to go into the game on Tuesday [against City] with confidence we’ll get the three points,” Reds boss Carl Veart said.
“We’re going to maybe need a bit of luck to make the finals.
“I keep saying to the boys though if we make the finals we’re going to be in some good form and I back us in the finals with the speed that we’ve got.
“We still haven’t hit out straps, I still believe there’s a bit more to come from the playing group.”
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