Emily Condon made it back-to-back winning goals as Adelaide United beat Perth Glory, 2-1, in the Western Australians’ home opener at Dorrien Gardens.
Condon’s late penalty earned Adelaide a 1-0 win when the sides met in South Australia five days ago, and the 22-year-old produced the decisive moment once again with a bullet header in the 74th minute to clinch all three points on Thursday night.
Adrian Stenta’s side had taken the initiative in the sixth minute in when a slick passing move played Fiona Worts behind the Perth defence and the English forward slotted in her first Westfield W-League goal, but Condon missed a golden chance to double the lead while clean through on goal.
Glory battled to stay in contention in Alex Epakis’ first home game in charge but, after Caitlin Doeglas struck a 53rd-minute equaliser, the match played in baking-hot conditions opened up in the final stages.
And the away side edged ahead when Chilean star María Jose Rojas produced some magical footwork and Mallory Weber’s floated cross was powered in Condon at the far post for her 10th competition goal.
The victory makes it six points from three games for Adelaide as the Reds go second in the Westfield W-League ladder, having never recorded a top-four finish in the competition’s history. Glory remain bottom of the pile with no points from their two games.
Glory were quick to take charge of their home opener, controlling possession in the first five minutes, but the visitors that seized their opportunity when Mallory Weber capped a flowing move by played a softly-weighted ball for Fiona Worts to add a composed finish for her first goal in the competition.
The hosts offered a response when Gemma Craine surged through the Reds defence with a lung-bursting run but Charlotte Grant did enough to put the English forward off her 12th-minute strike, before Perth almost handed Adelaide a second in the 20th minute when Sarah Morgan's back-pass dropped short and Emily Condon rounded Glory keeper Lily Alfeld but could only skew her shot wide of an empty net.
The Reds forced their way more into the game as the half progressed with Dylan Holmes shooting straight at Alfeld, then Condon’s inch-perfect pass opened up space for Weber but the American attacker could only slice her effort off target. Moments later, Hana Lowry's floated pass found Caitlin Doeglas and her strike was deflected wide as Glory went into half-time without a shot on target from their six attempts.
Adelaide’s Dutch defender Maruschka Waldus had threatened from set pieces on a couple of occasions before the interval and the Reds picked up where they left off after the break. Condon twisted and turned through the Glory defence before getting blocked by Lowry, before Condon released Weber to skew a drive across the face of goal and Georgia Campagnale fired over the bar from 25 yards.
Glory had their backs against the wall in the opening nine minutes of the half but the home side strung together a superb flowing move in the 54th minute as Lowry found Douglas and, following a one-two with Marianna Tabain, the 24-year-old calmly slotted in her sixth Westfield W-League goal from 12 yards.
Facing her hometown club, Tabain, tried a spectacular effort on the hour mark but the veteran forward could not send Lowry's cross towards goal with the overhead kick. With the match beginning to open up, Perth suffered a blow when their star striker Craine limped off in the 72nd minute, and they had goalkeeper Alfeld to thank for a superb one-handed stop from Campagnale's drilled left-footed shot.
The Reds kept dialling up the pressure and, after smart footwork from María José Rojas, Weber delivered the inviting cross to the far post and Condon buried a 74th-minute header. Chances to extend the lead fell to Worts and Weber as Kiwi goalkeeper Alfeld showed her quality to keep Perth in contention, but the Reds had done enough to build on their impressive start to the campaign.