AUFC Women undone by Western Sydney

The Adelaide United Women fell to a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat against the Western Sydney Wanderers, in Round 3 of the Westfield W-League 2016/17 season at Marconi Stadium on Sunday.

An opening goal from Katie Stengel put the Wanderers ahead, but the lead was only momentary as Adriana Jones equalised almost immediately. Paige Nielsen then secured the win in the 85th minute for the hosts, the Reds unfortunate once again not to come away with the three points. 

Head Coach, Huss Skenderovic, named a similar starting XI to that of the opening round, with the likes of Sofia Huerta, Monica, and Adriana Jones in the line-up, with the inclusion of Young Matildas star, Alex Chidiac.

Three rounds into the Westfield W-League, both Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers were yet to grasp their first win of the season, as they came out in full force in what was a pivotal match for both sides.

The Round 3 clash started off as a tantalising contest, with non-stop, end-to-end action but neither side could break the deadlock in the first 45 minutes, despite countless chances. 

United started the stronger side over the hosts, retaining possession and looked promising in the early minutes. Western Sydney then took hold of the reigns as they applied a sustained period of pressure, that tested the United defence. 

It was a game of chances, and with an almost perfect start to the game, Eliza Ammendolia struck first for the Wanderers, and United’s Jones fired her shot over the crossbar after clever movement to find space. 

A lively Ellie Carpenter was bound to cause headaches throughout the United defence, with a menacing run to drive the ball into the box, but the United defence piled on the pressure to clear the ball. Erica Halloway ascended with two attempts on goal, but failed to unleash any danger.

On 34 minutes, Captain, Stella Rigon came close to duplicating her goal in Round 1, her powerful left-footed free kick forced Wanderers keeper, Jana Whyman, to dive for a save. 

After more attempts from the Wanderers, the dangerous Sofia Huerta tried her best to even up the chances tally, with two chances on goal, but put both her efforts wide. Nielsen found time before the end of the first stanza, with another chance, but was thwarted by a hard-working Reds defence.

The second-half continued on from where the first period left off, as the deadlock was still there to be broken. The encounter provided more end-to-end play, with both sides persevering to put their team ahead. 

After a close Halloway attempt, the Reds responded with one of their impressive counter-attacks, but were denied by the post in the 55th minute. In a match that was a physical but entertaining affair, Stengel opened up the scoring on the hour mark with a neat finish. 

Jones enforced a 61st minute equaliser from close range to restore parity, and shaking off her earlier bump in the first half. 

A late goal from Nielsen left Adelaide United in desperate need to find another equaliser, but their efforts were left squandered.