Adelaide United Women experienced their finest ever season on record but agonisingly fell short of their ultimate goal of a maiden Finals appearance.
Nevertheless, great strides forward were made under the guidance of Head Coach, Ivan Karlović.
Built on industry, discipline, resilience, and mainly a blistering counter-attacking style, the Reds collected a record points tally of 18. Five wins, three draws and four defeats read the final line as United missed out on a top four spot by just a point.
Adelaide began with a gutsy 0-0 away draw against Melbourne Victory. But no sooner had their season started it stopped again for two weeks, thanks to a bye and the international break. Veronica Latsko showed her quality in a Round 3 clash at Brisbane Roar as her expertly taken goal, coupled with an inspired performance by goalkeeper, Sarah Willacy, gave the Reds a 1-0 victory.
That was followed up by a dominant 2-0 win over Canberra United at Coopers Stadium with Adelaide yet to concede a goal in their opening three games. United appeared destined for their first loss of the season against Melbourne City in early December, however Georgia Campagnale’s stunning 97th minute strike in stoppage time rescued a 1-1 draw.
The Reds played their first home match of the season at Marden Sports Complex in Round 6 facing a formidable attack led by Sam Kerr. The Matildas star scored a brace after Latsko’s opener before the American bagged a second-half equaliser. Unbeaten after five matches, it was by far Adelaide’s best ever start to a season. However, another challenge presented itself in the form of Sydney FC. The Reds lost 5-2 in a match that will be remembered more for the delays than the game itself, with inclement weather halting proceedings for over an hour and then the lights going out in the second-half.
But United put their first loss of the season behind them with successive 3-2 triumphs, arriving in rather contrasting fashion. Adelaide were seemingly cruising at 3-0 over Melbourne Victory but two very late goals from the visitors took some of the shine off, albeit it was an impressive result nonetheless.
And on the morning of New Year’s Eve, Adelaide pulled off one of the great escapes in Westfield W-League history, downing Newcastle Jets after scoring two injury-time goals on their way to a 3-2 win. Latsko capped off a memorable month by taking out the December PFA Player of the Month award, with six goals.
However, it was a tough start to 2019 as three straight defeats to Canberra United, Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets, unfortunately meant an inaugural Finals appearance would have to wait another year. But Adelaide aptly finished the campaign on a positive note with another 1-0 victory over the Roar, though this time at home. It was of course a bittersweet way to end. Although, there is no denying the vast improvements made under Karlović, and certainly something to build on moving forward into the future.