Adelaide United Women has edged one step closer to clinching a maiden finals appearance following a crucial 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets Women on Friday night at No.2 Sportsground.
In what was a hard-fought battle the entire game, three goals in three first-half minutes decided the outcome.
Chelsie Dawber’s stunning strike was immediately cancelled out by Gema Simon before an emphatic finish from Emily Condon two minutes later secured the Reds’ fifth triumph of the campaign.
The South Australians climb into third spot on the Westfield W-League ladder with 16 points and move three points clear of Melbourne Victory Women, who have two games in hand.
A rather lacklustre start to the contest was quickly forgotten about courtesy of a frenetic three-minute spell.
Dawber fired the visitors into the lead with her third goal in as many matches from the edge of the 18-yard box.
An incisive attacking move culminated in María José Rojas passing to the 21-year-old and she checked inside, picking out the top corner on 12 minutes.
But parity was restored a minute later as United switched off defensively and allowed Simon to chip her effort over Fryer-McLaren
Not disheartened, the Reds responded in the 15th minute through Condon’s team-high fourth goal of the season after profiting from a poor clearance.
Dylan Holmes’ inviting delivery from the right was only partially cleared and fell straight to Condon and scored with a sumptuous outside-of-the-foot finish.
Adelaide conjured a couple more chances in the first-half and although they were on target they failed to trouble Claire Coelho.
Adelaide conceded the majority of possession at the beginning of the second stanza.
The invited pressure enabled the Jets to grow in confidence and they did dominate for large periods.
However, it was Adelaide that threatened. Dawber forced Coelho into a diving save before centre-back Maruschka Waldus’ header was expertly tipped onto the crossbar from an Emily Condon corner.
Panagiota Petratos unleashed a brilliant long-range strike which sailed inches over the bar and much to the relief of Fryer-McLaren.
Despite the Reds unable to find a third goal to kill off the game it ultimately did not matter, stifling the Jets in the final 10 minutes to hold on for a vital three points.
Adrian Stenta made two changes to his starting line-up. Fryer-McLaren replaced goalkeeper Annalee Grove, while Dawber returned at the expense of Georgia Campagnale.
12’ | GOAL! Dawber receives the ball on the edge of the box, cuts inside and dispatches a great striker into the top corner.
13’ | GOAL: The Reds fail to clear their lines and Simon chips Fryer-McLaren.
15’ | GOAL! Holmes’ cross is poorly cleared and falls to Condon who duly punishes with a clinically taken finish to score her fourth match winner of the season.
70’ | CHANCE! Waldus’ header from Emily Condon’s corner is tipped onto the crossbar by Coelho.
Game date: Friday, 26 February
Westfield W-League 2020/21 – Round 10
Newcastle Jets Women 1 (Simon 13’)
Adelaide United Women 2 (Dawber 12’, Condon 15’)
Venue: No.2 Sportsground