Adelaide United are still searching for their elusive first win of Season 9 after a tense 2-2 battle with Canberra United on Saturday night.

Elite Systems Stadium was packed, all eager to see how the two teams would match up. Canberra lead in possession early, often wrong footing the Adelaide defence as their attacking combinations proved threatening. Perhaps a little vulnerable in the wingback positions, Adelaide struggled to stem the flow of Raso and Ochs who exploited the wide areas.

Canberra’s Michelle Heyman was dangerous in patches, but it was Ashley Sykes who created the real headaches for the Adelaide defence.

Monica and Katie Naughton were solid in the air, but overall the Adelaide defence still lacks cohesion. After about 20 minutes Adelaide began to settle into the game, as they started to hold possession show some attacking flare.

Huerta and Colaprico again proved to be a dangerous duo, but it was Rachael Quigley’s amazing footwork that stole the show in the first half.

The attacker’s incredible control and finesse created numerous opportunities around the box, with Adelaide unlucky not to convert on several occasions. While both Campbell and Burke were irreplaceable in goal, it was Campbell that was dealt the hardest hand early on.

With a constant flow of Canberra attack, Campbell saved Adelaide on numerous occasions, and was unstoppable on the ground and in the air. If not for Campbell’s heroics, Adelaide would have certainly have found themselves trailing by multiple goals midway through the first period. Campbell’s form seemed to rejuvenate the team, as Adelaide began to hold possession and provided fantastic pressure in their forward half.

The first goal of the match came in the 26th minute, when Ashley Sykes was taken down in the box, receiving a penalty. The call was somewhat controversial however, as it appeared that the referee allowed the play to continue on, only calling the penalty after a subsequent shot was missed.

Despite the uproar from the crowd, Brush converted the penalty to put Canberra in the driver’s seat. It wasn’t long before Adelaide were able to even up the score line however, with Huerta’s perfectly timed through ball allowing an oncoming Rachael Quigley to open Adelaide’s scoring in her first game back in the W-League this season.

For majority of the game, Adelaide looked most dangerous on the counter attack, using the element of speed and surprise to upset a more consistent Canberra defence. The tempo of play seemed to lift in the second half, as both teams looked to secure the three points.

Campbell continued to pull out all the stops for the Adelaide defence, while also playing an important role in offense as she enabled the Reds to attack through her distribution. A breakthrough moment occurred for the Reds when an attacking run from Huerta ended in an own goal for Canberra, as the attacker’s dangerously angled cross deflected off Canberra United defender Hannah Brewer to give Adelaide the lead.

The air was taken out of Adelaide United’s tires however, when Quigley was taken off in a stretcher at the 67th minute, clutching her hamstring. Canberra’s second goal was again controversial, when Burke was permitted to take a free kick, after an incident that arguable should have been a drop ball. Burke’s free kick fed in Hayley Raso, allowing her to tie up the score line with just 8 minutes to play.

The game increased in physicality, claiming Grace Abbey as another victim of the rough nature of play after she copped a knock in 87th minutes. Her replacement Isabella Scalzi was fouled by Raso almost immediately, who was lucky to have not been shown a second yellow after a rough tackle minutes earlier.

Seven minutes of injury time was played, with both teams throwing everything they could at the contest, determined not to end in a stalemate.

Despite Canberra’s early domination and solid defence however, Adelaide’s threatening attack in the latter 60 minutes of the game showed that a draw was a fair result for the teams. The stats showed that the teams matched up evenly, and that both dominated for periods of the match and could have put the game away.

At the end of Round 5, Adelaide sit in 8th place with 2 points on the table. With just 5 point separating 3rd from 8th, a few strong performances from the Lady Reds could see them back in finals contention.

Meanwhile, the draw with Adelaide saw Canberra rise to 3rd spot on the ladder, with 7 points after 4 games. Melbourne City continued their unbeaten run to maintain the top of the table position, with a higher goal difference than Sydney FC, who also have 12 points thus far. Sydney FC, Brisbane Roar, Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory have all yet to have a bye so far in season 9.

Up next

Canberra United will take on Melbourne City at C.B. Smith Reserve next Saturday at 5pm local time. Meanwhile Adelaide United are also on the road, taking on Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium at 1:30pm local time, with the match also being broadcast on ABC and Fox Sports.

Match Details

Adelaide United 2 (Racheal Quigley 32’, Hannah Brewer 54’ O.G.)

Canberra United 2 (Ellie Brush 26’, Hayley Raso 83’)

Saturday 3 December 2016

Venue: Elite Systems Football Centre

Kick-Off: 7:00PM

Referee: Lara Lee

Adelaide United: Eliza Campbell (gk), Emily Hodgson, Monica, Stella Rigon (c) (Alexandra Chidiac 46’), Racheal Quigley (Georgia Iannella 68’), Sofia Huerta, Adriana Jones, Grace Abbey (Isabella Scalzi 88’), Georgia Campagnale, Danielle Colaprico, Katie Naughton

Substitutes – Sarah Willacy (gk)

Canberra United: Trudy Burke (gk), Yukari Kinga, Jenna McCormick, Ellie Brush, Hayley Raso (Nickoletta Flannery 93’), Grace Maher, Michelle Heyman (c), Hannah Brewer, Celeste Boureille, Ashleigh Sykes, Stephanie Ochs

Substitutes: Georgia Boric (gk), Clare Hunt, Karly Roestbakken

Cautions: Hayley Raso 84’