Adelaide United have booked a place in the Liberty A-League finals series for the first time in the club’s history with an impressive 3-0 win over Melbourne Victory at Coopers Stadium.
Fiona Worts starred for United, bagging a hat-trick, with Saturday’s win moving the Reds into second place on the ladder. They are level on points with Melbourne City but ahead on goal difference, with City having a game in hand.
United coach Adrian Stenta said ensuring a maiden final campaign was a huge achievement.
“It means a lot for the club and it means a lot for the players, especially the players who have been here for a long period of time,” he said.
“There’s been a lot of people who have put in a lot of work over the years at the club.”
Victory are in fourth place but coach Jeff Hopkins lamented a sub-par effort from his side.
“Again another tired performance from us,” he said.
“I think you can tell in the quality of the goals we gave away in the first half.”
Victory had the first chance on seven minutes when Catherine Zimmerman headed a Kyra Cooney-Cross free kick just wide.
Despite the Victory enjoying more possession, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock on 18 minutes through Worts.
Chelsie Dawber whipped in a cross from wide on the right and, with Worts seemingly the least likely to meet the cross, she skipped ahead of two defenders and turned the ball towards goal.
The initial effort was thwarted, but the English striker reacted quickest and picked out the bottom corner from close range.
Adelaide doubled their lead in the 25th minute as Worts bagged her second goal for the match and 12th for the season.
The nicely-crafted move was started by Shadeene Evans who squared the ball across the area for Reona Omiya, who was dispossessed, but storming through was Emily Hodgson.
The fullback slipped a through ball for Worts whose first shot was saved by Victory keeper Casey Dumont, but she made no mistake with her second effort, slamming the rebound into the back of the net.
Victory had two attempts to pull a goal back in added time. A corner from each side found Brooke Hendrix at the back post on both occasions, but Reds keeper Annalee Grove was equal to the task, tipping both headers over the bar.
Seconds later, Adelaide had a third with Worts completing her treble.
A long ball down the wing from Isabel Hodgson found Dawber who supplied the perfect cutback for Worts who turned her first-time shot into the back of the net.
Victory keeper Dumont was stretchered from the field on the stroke of fulltime. With no substitutes remaining, Maja Markovski donned the gloves for the final moments.