Reds downed 3-1 despite late fightback

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Rhianna Pollicina and Hannah Wilkinson have inspired Melbourne City to a 3-1 Liberty A-League win over Adelaide United.

City were coming off a heartbreaking derby loss to Victory, while Adelaide had been keen to capitalise on beating Canberra in week two.

Pollicina scored a stunning goal in the 38th minute and set up Wilkinson two minutes later to set City on the path to victory

But Chelsie Dawber pulled back a goal in the 65th minute, while the Reds were denied a penalty in the 86th, before Wilkinson wrapped up three points in the 94th.

The home side had the better of the first half at AAMI Park without scoreboard reward, until Pollicina set the game alight when she curled a wonderful long-range strike into the top corner for her first City goal.

Less than two minutes later, Pollicina turned playmaker, looping in a tantalising corner and Wilkinson rose highest to direct her header into the back of the net.

In the 43rd minute, Pollicina, who crossed from Newcastle in the off-season, eased past Adelaide’s midfield and slipped through Holly McNamara but Annalee Grove made a diving save.

Adelaide were without skipper Isabel Hodgson through injury, with Emily Condon taking the armband.

Despite Condon being forced from the field herself just before the hour, Adelaide sparked the game back to life in the 65th minute.

Fiona Worts sent a corner into a dangerous position and Shadeene Evans put a header on target.

City goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri’s one-handed save parried the ball into Dawber’s legs, before the forward instinctively toe poked home.

Adelaide appealed for a penalty with four minutes remaining in regulation time when Worts went down just inside the area under contact from City skipper Emma Checker, but it wasn’t forthcoming.

City pounced on Adelaide’s defence in added time, with Leticia McKenna putting in a cross for Wilkinson to coolly finish from close range and round out the win.