Reds and Victory draw in six goal thriller

Goals from Stella Rigon, Adriana Jones, and Monica were not enough to secure a win for the Reds, as Melbourne Victory came from behind three times to play out a 3-3 draw at Coopers Stadium in Round 1 of the Westfield W-League 2016/17 season.

The six-goal thriller between Adelaide United Women and Melbourne Victory Women exceeded all expectations, as Captain Stella Rigon opened up the score line, with both Adriana Jones and Monica awarded goals. Although Victory’s Natasha Dowie and Selin Kuralay had answered back to every goal with their own, to leave the Reds unfortunate not to claim the three points in what was a tantalising contest.

The Reds started the match off the architects of chances on goal, Kathleen Naughton almost opened the scoring on seven minutes with a wonderfully connected header just sent wide. Adelaide United did not have to wait long to break the deadlock, as Rigon prospered upon the opportunity to take the free kick that Jones was awarded. On the 13th minute, Rigon’s unstoppable left-footed shot found the back of the net due to a deflection.

Two minutes after, immense pressure from Victory created an equaliser and restored parity through Dowie, dispossessing United keeper, Sarah Willacy, before netting the goal. On the 19th minute, an expert through ball by Danielle Colaprico found Sofia Huerta to then assist Adriana Jones who thumped the ball into goal, with anticipation, just inside the six-yard box.

Melbourne Victory had plenty of the ball, but it was Adelaide United who shined through their quick counter-attacks and creation of chances, more so with through balls and long passes to the powerhouse trio of Colaprico, Huerta and Jones.

On the half hour mark, Huerta used her pace to her advantage to win a free kick, Rigon to once again step up with a great effort that merely flew over the crossbar. Huerta than made another run that saw her beat Victory defenders but not keeper, Bianca Henninger. Jones then comes close to score her second on the stroke of half-time, whose chip shot effort hit the crossbar. 

Adelaide United entered the second half with confidence as a result of their 2-1 lead, but the fiery contest and fight for possession continued, the visitors not wasting any time as Rachel Alonso swung in a cross for Dowie, her promising header was shown the post. Rigon produced another dangerous free kick, this time Huerta on the end of it but was unable to get enough power to tap the ball past Henninger.

Kariah White whipped in a cross for Dowie, heading the ball into goal to equalise for the second time 62 minutes in. Brazilian international Monica responded to the equaliser in the 73rd minute, with a header of her own due to a great Emily Hodgson free kick. Jones looked to settle the match, but was unable to bury the one-on-one opportunity against Henninger, as two minutes after, Kuralay struck from 25 yards in the 80th minute, to come from behind once more. 

In the dying minutes, White hit the crossbar as her cross skimmed off the crossbar, Huerta also pursued a run and looked to back up her impressive performance with a winner but her effort was nullified.

Despite the draw, it was an all-round exceptional effort from the Adelaide United Women, to move forward with confidence ahead of their next clash against Western Sydney Wanderers Women.