Adelaide United 2–1 Melbourne City
By Kieran Yap.
Adelaide entered this round hoping to win three in a row but were missing American star Mallory Weber. Melbourne City were without talismanic defender Jenna McCormick but were brimming with confidence after their win in the derby last week. City had never lost to the Reds, but they had also never played in them in Adelaide before.
Both teams began aggressively, Alex Chidiac was threatening early and in the tenth minute bustled and tricked her way through four Adelaide defenders but could only find the side netting after running slightly wide.
City tried to defy the 32 degree heat and press Adelaide the way they did Victory the week before and although they created some turnovers in dangerous positions, the Adelaide defence were able to deal with it although on a couple of occasions they had to resort to a cheeky professional foul.
With City playing both Rhali Dobson and Harriet Withers on the flanks it meant that last week’s attacking revelation Charlotte Grant was forced to play much more defensively. While last week her pace going forward was electrifying this week she utilized it to keep tabs on the two speedsters who were vital in last week’s derby win.
The press was working and the Reds were having trouble passing the ball through midfield so in the 31st minute they bypassed it completely to open the scoring. A long ball from a free kick deep in defence fell to Fiona Worts who exchanged passes with Maria Rojas before slipping a ball behind the City defence. Adelaide captain Dylan Holmes raced onto it and skipped around Teagan Micah in goals to finish into an empty net.
After the goal, Adelaide enjoyed their best period of the game, Worts delighted the crowd with a fluid 360o move to show that Cote Rojas is not the only Red with a bag of tricks and soon after saw her looping header bounce off the crossbar.
City kept trying though. Shinatsu Kira drew a free kick in a dangerous area around 20 yards out from goal and took it herself. She curled the shot around the wall and it looked destined for the top corner but somehow the Reds ‘keeper Fryer-McLaren managed to dive high, stretch out and save spectacularly. Kira already had her arms raised in celebration, she adapted smoothly to put her hands to her head in dismay in the way you might when you wave to somebody and then realize you don’t know them.
City were again unlucky not to equalize when Rhali Dobson’s well struck volley crashed off the post and Chidiac couldn’t keep the rebound down. Emma checker had the last meaningful chance from a corner, her header just whizzed over the bar.
The second half was end to end football, Melbourne City were pushing for an equalizer and Adelaide trying to counter-attack and slip more passes beyond the defenders. Again Adelaide were the ones to score and like the opener it was seemingly out of nothing. Hollie Palmer collected the ball in midfield and was looking for play the ball forward for City as she had done effectively most of the game. Dylan Holmes dispossessed her solidly and while the Melbourne defence were back peddling into position she unleashed a missile of a shot into the bottom corner from long range. The captain had a brace and Adelaide looked to be on their way to a historic first win over City.
The visitors kept trying but when Rhali Dobson was substituted after a clearance hit her in the face they lost one of their most dangerous attacking threats. Adelaide grew in confidence and although they were without large percentages of possession they looked in control of the game. Rojas had limited chances to get on the score sheet but should make the highlight reel with a joyous juggle between defenders. She eventually fell on the ball, but somehow turned, shielded it and moved it along.
Two minutes into extra time, Palmer made amends for her earlier mistake and delivered a precision free kick onto the head of Emma Checker who scored her first of the season. It was a deliberate set piece, Palmer gave a signal, curled the ball in and Checker buried the chance to give her team a lifeline late in the game.
Adelaide held on in a tense finish, they had won their third game in a row and so far are exceeding all pre-season expectations. They have scored in every encounter so far, often spectacularly and have in Rojas and Worts two of the best signings of the league. They beat Melbourne City for the first time in their history and did it without one of their best players in Mallory Weber. It might be too soon to declare they will make finals, but they certainly look good enough.
Teams: ADELAIDE UNITED: Fryer-McLaren, Grant, I. Hodgson, McNamara, Walder, Campagnale, Rojas, Holmes, Worts, Condon, Dawber. Substitutes: Grove (GK), E. Hodgson, Hogg, Kirkby, Mullan.
Scorers: Holmes 31, 53.
MELBOURNE CITY: Micah, Tumeth, Vlajnic, Checker, Johnson, Davidson, Withers, Chidiac, Dobson, Kira, Palmer. Substitutes: Barbieri (GK), Allen, Sardo, Cain, Robinne.
Scorer: Checker 90+3.
Referee: Isabella Blaess.
Impetus’ coverage of Australian Women’s Football is supported by The Chicken Salt Co. They are offering every Impetus reader 5% off all orders of Chicken Salt from their website. Go to https://www.chickensalt.co.uk/?mate=impetus and place your order – 5% will automatically be taken off of the cost. The coupon code is impetus.