Adelaide United have smashed the record for a stand-alone regular-season W-League game, and rewarded a buzzing crowd of 5,159 at Coopers (Hindmarsh) Stadium with a thrilling 3-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers
Adelaide, historically the league’s worst team, are on track to reach the competition finals for the first time in their 13-year history. The Reds have finished bottom of the ladder a record five times, and once went an unbelievable 34 games without victory.
But things have changed drastically this season, after a second-last finish last campaign.
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Now the Reds are third on the ladder despite recently selling captain Dylan Holmes to Swedish champions BK Hachen. With a bye next week, they must now await results from rivals Canberra United and Melbourne Victory – both of whom could leapfrog Adelaide and snatch their long-awaited place in the finals.
The Reds’ W-League side hadn’t played at Coopers Stadium since 2018, but enjoyed a triumphant return to the home of football in South Australia. It was a perfect showcase for Adelaide’s bid to host matches in the 2023 Women’s World Cup to will be held in Australia and New Zealand.
Things got off to a horror start when Wanderers midfielder Olivia Price scored after just four minutes.
But the hosts hit back through striker Isabel Hogdson in the 18th minute, collecting a cross and calmly slotting home between a defender’s legs.
The Reds suffered a major blow when hugely gifted young defender Charlotte Grant was forced off the pitch through injury midway through the first half. The 19-year-old was playing in her 11th game of a breakout campaign.
But they forged in front when Dutch defender Maruschka Waldus headed off a corner just five minutes into the second half. She was left unmarked at the back post and made no mistake for her second goal of the season – and against her former side, no less.
The Wanderers dominated possession through the match, but couldn’t find the back of the net. The South Australians had no such issue on a sunny Adelaide afternoon, scoring their third of the game just past the hour mark when the ball rebounded to Fiona Worts on the six-yard box. She could hardly miss from there, and sent the crowd into euphoria as she sealed the three points.
Waldus’ exceptional effort on both ends of the park saw her win player of the game.
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