Captain Dylan Holmes fired her first Westfield W-League goals as Adelaide United made it three wins in a row with a 2-1 triumph over defending Premiers Melbourne City.
Holmes had not scored in her 35 games in the competition until she was played clean through on goal by Fiona Worts and the skipper added a composed finish to put Adrian Stenta’s side ahead in the 31st minute at Marden Sports Complex.
After breaking her duck, the 23-year-old went one better, lashing in strike from outside of the penalty box in the 53rd minute to clinch Adelaide’s first ever triumph over the Victorian club in their first ever home game against the four-time Champions.
Rado Vidosic’s team grabbed a stoppage-time consolation through the returning Emma Checker, who came in for the concussed Jenna McCormick, but, for 93 minutes, City had been stifled by a well-drilled Reds backline and were not able build on their Melbourne Derby win in Round 4.
The Reds surged to second in the table after recording their first three-match winning streak in four years, despite only clocking up 40% of possession in scorching hot conditions, and without American ace Mallory Weber, who was ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Adelaide have never qualified for the Westfield W-League Finals Series but the South Australians have claimed nine points from their first four games of the new campaign, already beating the seven points they collected in the whole of last season.
City kept their momentum rolling from last week’s win against Victory and the away side controlled possession in the sweltering-hot conditions and the Premiers recorded the first attempt on goal on the quarter hour when Harriet Withers’ effort diverted off the head of Chinatsu Kira and into the hands of Sian Fryer-McLaren.
Alex Chidiac was producing the most danger to the Reds defence, and the Westfield Matilda's twisting run earned a free-kick on the edge of Adelaide’s box in the 26th minutes, but she could only fire the free-kick into the wall, while Emma Checker caught a glimpse of the Adelaide goal just before the half hour mark but the Australia international dragged her effort wide.
City’s pressure counted for little when Fiona Worts combined with Maria Jose Rojas before sliding a pass to Holmes, who burst through the defence, went around Micah and slotted in her first Westfield W-League goal in the 31st minute. With City still reeling, Adelaide kept up the tempo as Worts' looping header cannoned off the top of City's crossbar.
With half-time approaching, City rallied as Kira’s curling 20-yard free-kick forced Fryer-McLaren into a full-length diving save, Rhali Dobson volleyed Tyla-Jay Vlajnic’s cross against the crossbar and Checker headed over from the resulting corner as the Reds were left desperately clinging on to their first-half lead.
City had eased into the second half with Hollie Palmer shooting off target and Harriet Withers keeping Reds keeper Fryer-McLaren alert, but when Palmer was caught in possession inside her own half, Holmes seized the ball, drove forward and unleashed a rifled shot into the bottom corner of Micah’s net to double Adelaide’s advantage.
The Reds dug in and crowded out Leah Davidson’s advances in the 75th minute, while Kira gave Adelaide a scare with a low drilled effort that Fryer-McLaren did well to gather. Holmes attempted to cap a dream day with a hat-trick but saw her 81st-minute long-ranger skew wide. Checker pounced from close-range to set up a tense finish, but it was the Reds celebrating at full-time.
Next Fixtures – Round 6
Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory
Friday, 29 January 2021
Venue: Marden Sports Complex
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEDT
Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
Sunday, 31 January 2021
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEDT