Condon winner helps Adelaide defeat Canberra and boost top four bid

Adelaide United cemented their prospects of playing finals football with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over fellow top four contenders Canberra United on Sunday.

Emily Condon scored the winning goal on 55 minutes after Paige Satchell’s breakaway goal for Canberra on the stroke of half time cancelled out Chelsie Dawber’s brilliant volleyed opener. 

Canberra shot-stopper Keeley Richards came to the visitors’ rescue with a series of amazing second-half saves as Adelaide sought to double their advantage, thwarting Chile international María José Rojas twice in quick succession while also denying Dawber with a save of the season contender.

The home side did not capitalise on their opportunities and survived a few scares late on but ultimately did enough to secure a win that sees them leapfrog Canberra into third on the Westfield W-League ladder. 

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Key moments

Dawber had given Adelaide the lead in the Reds’ 2-2 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers on February 7 and she was at it again to hammer her side in front against Canberra. Isabel Hodgson sent an arching ball across the face of goal where Dawber ghosted in at the back post to fire a composed sidefoot volley past a helpless Richards.

Adelaide were in cruise control for long stretches of the half, but were nearly caught out twice by Canberra’s Michelle Heyman. First, the Australian international was denied by a brilliant last-ditch challenge from Matilda McNamara as Heyman looked ready to pull the trigger, before later on, she brushed an effort wide of the post after being played in on goal by Kendall Fletcher. 

But Heyman would turn provider for the Green Machine’s equaliser through Satchell in first half stoppage time. She threaded a gorgeous through ball for Satchell, who raced beyond the exposed Adelaide defence before squeezing it in past Annalee Grove at the near post.

Having squandered their advantage on the stroke of half time, Adelaide returned for the second intent on restoring their lead and did so inside 10 minutes via Condon’s excellent close-range finish.

After Canberra could not clear their lines, Dylan Holmes spotted Condon in the box, who shifted the ball and placed it in the corner for 2-1. 

Adelaide then spurned three huge chances to double their advantage and make three big points safe. Dawber skimmed a shot across the post after Rojas charged down the middle, before the Chile international forced Richards into an amazing double save. Rojas left the visiting defence in a daze twice and drew two fine stops, and Mallory Weber could not bury the scraps.

Then, Richards made another sensational save to palm away Dawber’s effort from point-blank range after Rojas seized back possession.

Those three stops were enough to keep Canberra alive and they almost inspired the Green Machine to steal a late point, only for Reds number one Grove to keep out substitute Hayley Taylor-Young in stunning fashion late on, and preserve three points for the hosts.