Reds beat Phoenix to edge closer to finals

Adelaide United have closed on securing a maiden Liberty A-League finals berth with Chelsie Dawber and Fiona Worts leaping to the top of the Golden Boot race in a comfortable 4-1 win over Wellington.

Dawber and Wellington’s Grace Jale traded goals in the fifth and 25th minutes before Wellington youngster Zoe McMeekin’s blindly overhit backpass handed Adelaide the upper hand in the 34th minute

Worts added a third Adelaide goal in the 55th minute, with Dawber’s second four minutes later putting the result beyond doubt.

In the process, the Adelaide duo drew level with Melbourne City’s Hannah Wilkinson on 10 goals at the top of the Golden Boot standings.

Adelaide sit third behind City on goal difference, with the three points important given they will finish their regular season with tough games against fourth-placed Melboune Victory and leaders Sydney FC.

The Reds will also sweat on a late injury scare to Dawber, who was substituted in the 78th minute after hyperextending her knee.

The game at WIN Stadium was pushed back from Thursday to Friday evening due to an electrical storm.

But the disruption didn’t affect Adelaide, who quickly snatched the lead when an advancing Dawber pounced on Mackenzie Barry’s hard-fought clearance and coolly lashed home the opener.

Wellington equalised in the 25th minute after Ava Pritchard forced a shallow clearance from Adelaide’s Isabel Hodgson.

The ball fell to Jale, who turned and hit a powerful first-time strike past Annalee Grove.

Adelaide regained the lead nine minutes later when McMeeken blindly hit a thumping backpass past goalkeeper Brianna Edwards, in her first start with Lily Alfeld on international duties, and into her own net.

United again cracked Wellington’s defence 10 minutes into the second half when Dawber found Worts, who burst past Barry and ripped a lovely strike across her body.

Four minutes later, Dylan Holmes brilliantly slipped through Dawber, whose shot just beat Edwards, with Te Reremoana Walker unable to clear the ball off the line.