The first of two goals disallowed by VAR (video assistant referee) came in the 16th minute as Tomislav Uskok appeared to handle the ball in the process of nudging it on to Besart Berisha for an easy close-range finish.
Western United was then dealt a significant blow just past the half-hour mark as Victor Sanchez was dismissed for a second booking, though Adelaide struggled to make its numerical advantage count.
In fact, it was Western which again had the ball in the net with 11 minutes to go, as Dylan Pierias latched on to a ball over the Adelaide defence, skipped past approaching goalkeeper Joe Gauci, who took out one of his defenders in the process, and tucked into an empty net.
But another VAR review saved Adelaide, this one rather more controversial as footage of the decision-making process suggested it was inconclusive, or marginal at best regarding the call for offside.
It continued to heat up in the latter stages, with an apparent dive by Adelaide's Ben Halloran sparked something of a brawl, which resulted in yellow cards being shown to Alhassan Toure and Andrew Durante.
Toure was then sent off four minutes later for a crude challenge on Durante as a feisty contest ultimately ended level.