Adelaide United made history after securing its inaugural finals appearance with a commanding 3-0 win over Melbourne Victory at Coopers Stadium on Saturday.
Fiona Worts starred for the Reds with a clinical hat-trick as Adelaide finally ended its elusive finals drought.
WHAT WENT RIGHT. WHAT WENT WRONG.
What went right: Mission accomplished
After 14 years, which included agonisingly missing out last year by one goal, Adelaide has booked its place in the finals. The Reds cannot finish any lower than third place which means they are guaranteed a home final at some point in the campaign. Adrian Stenta and his team should be given huge credit for the manner in which they have built on the previous season. The win was also United’s first genuine scalp of the campaign too – against the reigning champions no less.
What went right: Fiona Worts nets clinical hat-trick
Heading into the match three players were tied on 10 goals: Worts, her teammate Chelsie Dawber, and Melbourne City’s Hannah Wilkinson. And the English forward was at her devastating best in front of goal with a clinical treble. The 26-year-old now has 13 goals for the season and is a very strong favourite to win the Liberty A-League Golden Boot. Not only is Worts an attacking threat, she works extremely hard, tracking back and is the first line of defence with her pressing and intensity.
What went right: Teammates put the goals on a platter
While Fiona Worts will naturally grab a lot of the headlines – and deservedly so considering the phenomenal goal-scoring form she is in, her teammates played an integral part. Chelsie Dawber assisted the first goal with a low cross, before Shadeene Evans, Reona Omiya and Emily Hodgson were involved in her second – particularly Hodgson, who tackled her opponent before sliding through an exquisite pass for Worts who had two bites at the cherry with her initial attempt saved. In the second-half, it took just 11 seconds to make it 3-0 when Isabel Hodgson sent a long ball down the line for Dylan Holmes and her incisive cross was emphatically finished by the English striker.
What went wrong: Slow start
It’s hard to pick out a negative in a comprehensive 3-0 win. However, Adrian Stenta believed the Reds were slow out of the blocks for the first 15 minutes. If we’re being super critical we tend to agree with him. Victory did have one half chance to create a nervous moment, but otherwise Adelaide were largely untroubled despite not hitting their stride.
What went right: Professional performance
After 15 minutes, Adelaide controlled the match in a professional manner. They defended compactly in blocks and really just managed the game once United made it 2-0 after 25 minutes. The contest was effectively over when it became 3-0 straight from the re-start. From there Adelaide could enjoy the remaining 45 minutes without any qualms, knowing their job was accomplished. The Reds also recorded a third clean sheet of the season with Annie Grove making two reaction saves from successive corners just before half-time.
Saturday, 26 February
Liberty A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 13
Adelaide United 3 (Worts 18′, 25′, 46′)
Melbourne Victory 0
Venue: Coopers Stadium