Phoenix keeps battling as Adelaide keeps winning

Wellington Phoenix 0-1 Adelaide United

by Ryan Miller-Woods (17/12/22)

Above: Adelaide United’s Fiona Worts (left) battles with Wellington Phoenix’s Mackenzie Barry in today’s match. Photo: Flipboard.

Adelaide United have won their fourth match in five games with a 1-0 win at Wellington Phoenix thanks to a deflected own goal by Wellington defender Mackenzie Barry.

This was a closely fought match with goalscoring chances created by both sides. Indeed, the outcome may have been a different story altogether in the first half if it wasn’t for the heroics of Adelaide United goalkeeper Annalee Grove who was in superb form.

The visitors fielded Jenna McCormick for her landmark 100th W/A-League Women. At the other end of the scale, their young star on a scholarship contract, Zoe Tolland would make her first senior appearance.

Above: Jenna McCormick had the captain’s armband for Adelaide United today on her 100th appearance. Photo: Adelaide United.

McCormick was involved early on as Betsy Hassett’s header bounced onto her, leading to the ball falling for Emma Rolston who had a first-time shot at goal that was superbly stopped by Annalee Grove and then cleared away by Maruschka Waldus.

The home side continued to press and Paige Satchell’s crossed was misplaced by the Adelaide defence into the line of fire of returning Nix star Grace Wisnewski whose shot was brilliantly saved by Grove in the 14th minute.

That combination of Grove’s sensational form and an inability to turn chances into a goal came back to haunt the Phoenix in the most heart-wrenching way with 22 minutes played.

Adelaide striker Fiona Worts’ through ball found Chelsie Dawber in the box. Dawber’s shot deflected off of Wellington’s Barry into the back of the net.

The home side responded well, but once more Grove denied them with a superb acrobatic save to deny Rolston.

Clear-cut chances were fewer and further between after that, with the visitors claiming the remaining two opportunities in the final minutes of the action. With five minutes remaining, Dawber showed superb vision in playing a centimetre long ball from close to the halfway line to the path of Paige Hayward who from outside the box had a great first-time shot at goal which was blocked and deflected by Edwards.

Deep into stoppage time, Adelaide had a free kick which was guided into the box to the head of Worts but wide of the goal.

Above: Chelsie Dawber in possession – it was another strong showing from the South Australian today. Photo: Adelaide United.

It was a frustrating afternoon for Wellington Phoenix who went toe to toe with one of the strongest teams in the competition, but fell short in the most agonising way possible.

“You can see from the girls it was a difference from last week,” Lawrence told the assembled media post-match. “Last week we knew we didn’t play well, we knew that wasn’t us and we knew we deserved to lose the game.

“The feeling this week was completely different. We competed, we had more shots on target than they did [and] we had the same amount of final third entries as they did. Credit to their goalkeeper. I thought she pulled off some fabulous saves.

“If we play like that against what is the joint top team in the league we can compete against anyone.”

Lawrence revealed that she felt nothing but pride in the performance of Mackenzie Barry, whose unfortunate own goal was ultimately the difference between the two sides. “Mack just wears her heart on her sleeve. She loves the club, she loves these girls [and] she has incredibly high standards.

“We can talk about the own goal, but look at how many blocks she makes, look at how many times she throws herself into tackles. She’s a proper defender. I thought Mack was outstanding today.”

As for Adelaide United, they just find ways to keep winning, and that is the sign of a potential champion team.

Teams: WELLINGTON PHOENIX (4-2-3-1): Edwards, Foster, Barry, Van der Meer, Vosper, Wisnewski, Hassett, Knott, Rolston, Pritchard, Satchell. Substitutes: Candy, Robertson, Cicco, Walker, Lancaster.

ADELAIDE UNITED (4-3-3): Grove, E. Hodgson, McCormick, Waldus, Hayward, Condon, Holmes, Barbieri, Murray, Dawber, Worts. Substitutes: Wilson, Bowler, Sasaki, Tolland, Westland.

Scorer: Barry (OG) 22’.

Referee: Isabella Blaess

Attendance: 4,535.

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