An absolutely relentless performance has catapulted Adelaide United to a rampant 8-2 rout over Brisbane Roar to strengthen its finals aspirations on Sunday.
Fiona Worts became the first-ever Red to score five goals in a match after a majestic display, while Chelsie Dawber and Matilda McNamara also got on the scoresheet along with an own goal to inflict the heaviest defeat on Brisbane.
The Roar managed to score two consolation goals through Shea Connors in the second-half, albeit one looked offside.
The result is Adelaide’s second biggest win in the competition and largest away victory in its history, and moves them to 21 points – three clear of fifth placed Perth Glory after its 4-0 loss.
WHAT WENT RIGHT. WHAT WENT WRONG.
What went right: Tactical switch in formation works wonders
Adrian Stenta employed a 4-1-2-1-2 formation following Paige Hayward’s omission due to sustaining an injury last game. The tactical alteration proved extremely effective with Stenta opting to incorporate another midfielder in Reona Omiya instead of utilising a like for like winger. Nano Sasaki, at the base of the midfield, flanked by Reona Omiya and Dylan Holmes, with Emily Condon as the creative playmaker were brilliant behind the striking partnership of Fiona Worts and Chelsie Dawber. The diamond was able to clog up the midfield and passing lanes, preventing Brisbane from advancing the ball forward from the back. Meanwhile, Worts and Dawber also provided plenty of width, despite on paper appearing to be a more pragmatic line-up from a traditional 4-3-3 system.
What went right: Five star performance from Fiona Worts
After a performance like that it is easy to run out of superlatives to describe Fiona Worts. The Englishwoman was simply sensational. After having a goal controversially chalked off last game she clearly put that behind her and responded with five goals – including three in the second-half. Her first three illustrated her excellent instincts inside the 18-yard box – finishing off crosses and pouncing on a loose ball, while her last two were brilliant left-footed strikes which arrowed into the bottom corner. Worts is now the team’s leading scorer this season with nine goals, one ahead of Chelsie Dawber. She also equals a Club record of nine goals in a single campaign and becomes just the third player in the Liberty A-League to score five goals in a match, achieved only by Kate Gill and Hannah Wilkinson in 2014 and 2021 respectively. Additionally, Worts now trails Melbourne City’s Wilkinson by one goal in this season’s Golden Boot race.
What went right: Any doubts over character quashed
Following its frustrating performance against Perth Glory, a fellow top-four aspirant, and with the pressure for a finals spot heating up, Adelaide came out firing knowing anything less than three points would be unacceptable. The Reds’ mettle was clear from the outset and they were not going to let a bad result impact today’s match. United was switched on from the first whistle and raced to an unassailable 4-0 buffer at half-time. Adelaide continued its unremittingness with another four goals in the second stanza, in what was a statement to the rest of the competition. Those four goals in each half ranks as the third most scored in 45 minutes behind eight and five which occurred in 2017. Any suggestions they may not be able to handle the intensity as they chase down an inaugural finals berth was quickly dashed.
What went right: Clinical in attack
Adelaide’s combination play in attacking areas was at its devastating best and then some. It was by far the Reds’ most fluent performance and they scored some exceptional team goals too. Dylan Holmes and Emily Condon were the architects behind a lot of the play, while Chelsie Dawber contributed with a brilliant assist after a slick move which started from Kayla Sharples and Isabel Hodgson. Worts was obviously the star of the match, scoring five goals from six shots on target.
What went wrong: Conceding two goals
While the Reds were undeniably impeccable from an attacking perspective, defensively they were also pretty resolute. However, if we are being super critical Adrian Stenta would have been disappointed to concede two soft goals. Admittedly, the first concession looked offside, but Annie Grove would want to have that second goal conceded back given the exceptional form she has been in recently. Nevertheless, it is something to improve on heading into a crucial clash against Wellington Phoenix on Thursday, before two home games to close out the regular season against Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC.
What went right: Threatening from corners
It seemed to be a clear tactic by Adrian Stenta, instructing his player to deliver corners really close to the goal and allow Kayla Sharples and Matilda McNamara to exploit the height difference. Emily Condon and Fiona Worts both executed inviting deliveries into the box and the Reds exploited the situation expertly. Condon’s ball in the first-half resulted in an own goal before another in-swinging corner was glanced in by a McNamara header for her second of the season.
Sunday, 13 February
Liberty A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 11
Brisbane Roar 2 (Connors 59’, 80’)
Adelaide United 8 (Dawber 13’, Palmer OG 23’, Worts 33’, 43’, 57’, 64’, 74’, McNamara 55’)
Venue: Moreton Daily Stadium