Adelaide United have finished 2018 on a winning note after scoring twice in stoppage time to defeat the Newcastle Jets 3-2 in the W-League's first ever early morning kickoff at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Due to yesterday's extreme heat, the fixture was moved from Sunday afternoon to the unusual time of a Monday morning 9.30am kickoff.
The Jets had the bye last round, and made the most of their free time as the side spent the weekend on the Gold Coast and played two friendlies against the Chinese national side.
China triumphed 2-0 and 5-0 in these matches as Jets coach Craig Deans used the fixtures as an opportunity to give his squad some extra match fitness ahead of the business end of the W-League season.
The hosts were already without injured American import Taylor Smith and suspended Matilda Larissa Crummer, but were dealt a further blow as striker Katie Stengel missed the game through injury. In Stengel's absence, Pana Petratos was handed her first W-League start, while Teigan Collister and Cortnee Vine also came back into the starting lineup.
The visitors from Adelaide named an unchanged lineup after enjoying a 3-2 victory over league leaders Melbourne Victory in their last outing, and knew 3 points today would send them to 2nd on the table heading into the new year.
Despite the morning kickoff, the match was still played under sweltering conditions as the temperature hovered around 27 degrees shortly before kickoff.
The temperature had an obvious affect on the players as the first half got off to a slow start with neither side able to mount any meaningful pressure, but in the 21st minute, an innocuous long ball saw the home side hit the front.
There appeared to be no immediate danger as a hopeful long ball was played in behind the Adelaide defence, but Adelaide goalkeeper Sarah Willacy's decision to come and clear the ball proved costly as Teigan Collister showed great pace to beat Willacy to the ball before cooly rolling the ball into the empty net from an acute angle.
Trailing at the break, Icelandic striker Fanndís Fridriksdóttir came on for the visitors at halftime and took barely 10 minutes to level the scores with an excellent strike as she cut in onto her right before smashing the ball past Jets custodian Britt Eckerstrom in the 57th minute.
As both sides looked to find a winner, it was Adelaide who went close on 72 minutes when Michelle Heyman's clipped effort was cleared off the line by the retreating Libby Copus-Brown, but just as Adelaide looked like they were on top, the Jets took the lead thanks to another piece of calamitous defending 5 minutes from time.
Arin Wright's deep cross to the far post was drifting beyond Collister, however Adelaide's Laura Johns was caught in two minds and only managed to head the ball over Willacy into her own net to gift the Jets a 2-1 advantage in the 85th minute.
Adelaide immediately responded to falling behind by bringing on Isabel Hodgson for Emma Checker, and as the game entered 6 minutes of injury time, it was the substitute who dramatically levelled the scores once again.
An Adelaide long ball was flicked into the path of Hodgson by Veronica Latsko, and she made no mistake firing past Eckerstrom from the edge of the area in the 92nd minute.
The Lady Reds were not done there however, and when Hodgson found space down the right in the 4th minute of stoppage time, her tantalising cross to the back post found Veronica Latsko who tapped home to seal an incredible comeback and claim all 3 points for the visitors.
It was heartache for the home side who must have felt they were safe as they entered stoppage time holding a 2-1 lead, while the visitors celebrated an excellent win to finish 2018 and lifted themselves up to 2nd on the ladder after 10 rounds.
After the game, Jets coach Craig Deans confirmed American striker Katie Stengel has a possible stress fracture in her foot and could be out for the remainder of the season, whilst he will also face a nervous wait on the condition of Cass Davis who left the game late on with a possible medial injury to her left knee.