A five-goal haul by English forward Fiona Worts has taken Adelaide a giant step towards a maiden Liberty A-League finals berth with an 8-2 thrashing of Brisbane on Sunday.
Denied by a controversial offside call in the midweek 1-0 loss to Perth, Worts equalled the league record for goals by a single player in one game shared by Melbourne City’s Hannah Wilkinson and former Matilda Kate Gill as the Reds ran riot at Moreton Daily Stadium.
Chelsea Dawber, Matilda McCormack and an own goal by Roar defender Hollie Palmer completed the scoring for the visitors.
Shea Connors scored a consolation second-half double for the Roar in what was the heaviest defeat in the club’s ALW history.
It’s also the first time the Roar have conceded more than six goals in an ALW fixture.
To add injury to the insult, Brisbane lost goalkeeper Mia Bailey midway through the second half after she went down with a leg injury, meaning 18-year-old Isabella Shuttleworth made her ALW debut off the bench.
The result, combined with Perth’s 4-0 hammering at the hands of Melbourne City, means the Reds are three points clear of the Glory in fourth place with three matches left in the regular season.
Stung by that 1-0 loss to the Glory, Adelaide made the perfect start when Dawber punished an error by Bailey to open the scoring in the 13th minute.
Brisbane had a great chance to level the scores minutes later but Mariel Hecher’s chip was palmed away by Adelaide goalkeeper Annalee Grove.
Shortly after that chance, Adelaide extended their lead when Palmer headed into her own net from a corner.
The visitors, playing with their tails up, then added two more strikes from Worts before the halftime break to hold a 4-0 advantage.
Rather than settling on that lead, Adelaide continued the rampage in the second term with Worts taking her tally for the season to nine to stand second on the scorers’ list behind Wilkinson (10).
Adelaide will look to consolidate their position on Thursday when they take on bottom-placed Wellington while Brisbane host Canberra on Friday.
“I think it came out of nowhere to be honest,” Worts said on Paramount+.
“We knew we had some goals we wanted to make back after Victory’s game the other day!”
She joked: “I normally have scrambled eggs for breakfast and I didn’t today, so maybe I need to stop that!”
With the finals places on the line, Worts declared it was a win that proves the Reds’ bona fides.
“That proves we deserve to be up there, keep at it for the rest of the season,” she said.
On the Paramount+ post-game show, Grace Gill declared it a “statement” by the South Australians.
And the catalyst? The goal scorer Worst, who surged into the Golden Boot race with her exceptional haul.
She added: “When Fiona Worts is on Adelaide United are on … it sums up their season.”