Reds fall in thriller to Canberra in season opener

Mallory Weber

Adelaide United Women W-League membership

Adelaide United Women squandered a two-goal lead on their way to losing 4-3 against Canberra United in a thrilling contest at Viking Park on Wednesday night.

María José Rojas scored on debut and Isabel Hodgson had doubled United’s advantage seven minutes later just before the half hour mark.

However, the momentum swung in the second-half with Michelle Heyman scoring three minutes after the restart.

The veteran striker added an equaliser with an opportunistic goal before Laura Hughes chipped effort fortuitously breached United’s goal in stoppage time.

More drama ensued when Heyman sealed her hat-trick after pouncing on another loose ball, and there was still time for the visitors to net a consolation courtesy of Mallory Weber’s phenomenal long-range curler which found the top corner.

Adelaide started rather promisingly and opened the scoring when the two debutants combined. Fiona Worts released Rojas and the Chilean dribbled forward and slotted past the Canberra ‘keeper in the 21st minute.

One-nil quickly became 2-0 thanks to Emily Condon’s brilliant through ball which allowed Hodgson to expertly guide her attempt into the bottom corner.

But with Adelaide needing to apply the same application things took a turn for the worse.

Heyman latched on to Demi Koulizakis’ assist and she slid her finish beyond Sian Fryer-McLaren.

Worts hit back almost instantly replied but her strike smacked the crossbar.

With 15 minutes to go Heyman drew the hosts level after being the sharpest to react inside the six-yard box.

Fortune then favoured Hughes as her shot rebounded off the crossbar and onto the back of Fryer-McLaren before the ball crossed the line.

And before Adelaide could mount a late response, Heyman made it 4-2 with an angled finished.

In virtually the last kick of the game Weber, Adelaide’s Golden Boot winner and Player of the Year last season, dispatched a marvellous shot which bent into the top corner.

However, sadly it was in vain as United slumped to a disappointing defeat after being in a strong position to take something away from the game.

Team news

Adrian Stenta utilised a 4-3-3 formation which saw goalkeeper, Sian Fryer-McLaren, make her first appearance for the Club since the 2011/12 season, with Mallory Weber slotting in at left-back due to the absence of Charlotte Grant and Laura Johns. Dylan Holmes featured as an auxiliary centre-back with Emily Condon deployed as a deep-lying playmaker. Meanwhile, there were debuts for new international signings María José Rojas and Fiona Worts alongside Isabel Hodgson to form the attacking trident.

Key moments

21’ | GOAL! Worts’ through ball sets free Rojas who dribbles forward and shows composure to steer her left-footed finish past Sally James.


28’ | GOAL! I. Hodgson is picked out after a defence-splitting pass from Condon to calmly finish into the far corner, doubling the Reds’ advantage.


48’ | GOAL: Heyman is played in by Koulizakis and finds the back of the net against her former side.

75’ | GOAL: Heyman has a brace when she ponces on Fryer-McLaren’s fumble for a simple finish.

90+1’ | GOAL: Hughes’ attempt ricochets off the crossbar and onto the goalkeeper before agonisingly going over the line.

90+3’ | GOAL: Heyman capitalises on an errant pass and Vicki Linton’s team are two goals in front.

90+4’ | GOAL! Within an instant the deficit is halved as Weber ventures forward and sends a sensational strike which is already a goal of the season contender.


Match details:
Game date: Wednesday, 30 December
Westfield W-League 2020/21 – Round 1
Canberra United Women 4 (Heyman 48’ 75’ 90+3’, Hughes 90+1’)
Adelaide United Women 3 (Rojas 21’, I. Hodgson 28’, Weber 90+4’)
Venue: Viking Park

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