A Dylan Holmes brace has helped Adelaide United Women climb into second spot on the Westfield W-League 2020/21 table after a 2-1 win over Melbourne City Women at Marden Sports Complex on Thursday night.
Holmes led by example with the Reds captain scoring a goal in each half to conquer the defending champions for the first time and extend United’s winning streak to three games – its best run since January 2017.
Emma Checker grabbed a goal in stoppage time against her former club but United held on, and in the process have mathematically made its greatest start to a season after four matches with nine points.
The slower tempo to begin the match was indicative of the sweltering conditions that both sides had to endure with each team struggling to attack with any real purpose in the opening 25 minutes.
However, following the drinks break the contest came to life as Adelaide broke the deadlock just past the half hour mark.
Fiona Worts spotted Holmes’ surging run from midfield and the 23-year-old’s deft first touch allowed her to round City goalkeeper Teagan Micah before finishing into an empty net.
Worts then had a chance of her own when her looping header brushed the crossbar.
As the interval approached, the hosts had to survive a wave of City pressure and were fortunate to still be ahead after the visitors struck the woodwork twice.
Chinatsu Kira’s free-kick was tipped onto the post by a diving Sian Fryer-McLaren and on the stroke of half-time, Rhali Dobson’s close-range volley from Tyla-Jay Vlajnic’s cross smacked the upright.
Despite the visitors’ dominance to end the half, it was Adelaide that began the second stanza with greater impetus.
Having waited 35 games for her first Westfield W-League goal, Holmes’ did not have to wait long for her second, arriving in stunning fashion on 53 minutes.
The holding midfielder dispossessed her opponent, advanced forward and unleashed a brilliant low strike from approximately 25-yards out which nestled into the bottom corner.
Stenta’s side were largely untroubled for the remainder of the clash until Checker steered her header home via Hollie Palmer’s crossing set-piece, causing a nervous finish.
Adrian Stenta made one change as the Reds were dealt a blow before the match with United States forward Mallory Weber sustaining a hamstring injury during training. Chelsie Dawber replaced her and was entrusted to lead the line, while Kahlia Hogg returned to the bench.
31’ | GOAL! Holmes rounds Micah and calmly places her finish into the empty net.
43′ | SAVE! Fryer-McLaren parries Kira’s free-kick onto the left post.
45’ | CHANCE! Dobson’s volley thuds against the upright.
53’ | GOAL! Holmes has her second this time coming from a low strike from distance that squeezes into the bottom corner.
90+3’ | GOAL: Checker scores after guiding her header over Fryer-McLaren.
Game date: Thursday, 21 January
Westfield W-League 2020/21 – Round 05
Adelaide United Women 2 (Holmes 31’, 53’)
Melbourne City Women 1 (Checker 90+3’)
Venue: Marden Sports Complex