A strong win for Melbourne | Credit: Emily Mogic / TWG
Melbourne Victory have tuned up for the Westfield W-League finals with a resounding 4-1 thumping of Adelaide United at Wembley Park.
Early goals to Danielle Johnson, Petra Larsson and Jessica McDonald put the screws on the Reds before Laura Spiranovic sealed the game in the second half.
The Reds did manage to get a consolation goal through Sarah McLaughlin late in the game as they put together some dangerous counter-attacks.
The match was almost played exclusively in the Victory half as the Reds sat back and looked to launch direct attacks on the break.
After starting brightly, Victory got on the board after two minutes as a poor defensive header allowed captain Johnson to head home from close range.
Only four minutes later, the lead was doubled as Larsson speared a shot into the top corner from outside the area giving Reds keeper Kristi Harvey no chance.
The sustained onslaught continued on the Reds goal and on 14 minutes, a defensive mix-up between the Adelaide central defenders allowed McDonald to waltz through and place her shot home with just the keeper to beat.
The rest of the half was uneventful as Adelaide pushed players behind the ball but they did have a half-chance on the stroke of half-time as Emma Checker headed straight at Victory custodian Brianna Davey.
Victory continued to dominate possession in the second half as the Reds tired and resorted to fleeting chances on the break.
Central defender Rebekah Stott went within a whisker from making it four as her driving run and fierce shot struck the crossbar on 50 minutes.
Larsson looked to repeat her long range heroics on 55 minutes and her shot was unwittingly deflected in by team-mate Spiranovic record Victory's fourth.
While the Victory pressure and close calls continued, Adelaide started to find their feet up forward in the latter stages of the half and were unfortunate when substitute Marijana Rajcic struck the post after some clever footwork in the area.
But the Reds did manage to find a consolation goal on 87 minutes with a superb volley from McLaughlin from inside the six-yard box.
The win vaulted Victory into second spot on the W-League table but with third-placed Perth Glory playing bottom side Newcastle on Sunday, a home-final next week looks unlikely.
Adelaide will be confident staying off the bottom in seventh with only a surprise Newcastle win able to consign them to last spot.
Melbourne Victory 4 (Johnson 2, Larsson 6, McDonald 14, Spiranovic 57)
Adelaide United 1 (McLaughlin 87)
Melbourne Victory: 1. Brianna Davey (GK), 2. Danielle Johnson (c), 3. Maika Ruyter-Hooley, 4. Rebekah Stott, 5. Laura Spiranovic (11. Caitlin Friend 74), 6. Petra Larsson, 7. Stephanie Catley, 10. Jessica McDonald, 14. Enza Barilla, 15. Amy Jackson (23. Jessica Humble 69), 17. Gulcan Koca (9. Tiffany Eliadis 74)
Adelaide United: 1. Kristi Harvey (GK), 2. Ruth Wallace (7. Racheal Quigley 40), 3. Alex Natoli, 4. Jessie Wharepouri (9. Marijana Rajcic 58), 5. Abby Erceg (c), 8. Sarah McLaughlin, 12. Elise Whorlow (18. Georgia Macri 53), 13. Ann Mayo, 15. Emma Checker, 16. Jessica Waterhouse, 23. Kristy Moore