An inspiring come-from-behind victory has Brisbane Roar Women on the brink of a third Westfield W-League Premiership.
Three goals in a character-filled final 20 minutes saw the Roar flip the script, turning a 2-1 deficit into a remarkable two-goal win.
Emily Gielnik, who was awarded as Player of the Match, netted the final strike in second-half stoppage time and says the Roar will return to Brisbane with exactly what they wanted.
"Today's focus was to get the three points. Credit to Adelaide, they gave us a great fight and it was pleasing to see us come back," Gielnik said.
"We have such a great team and create so many opportunities but unfortunately we haven't scored as many goals as we would have liked on occasions. Today was great for us in that regard."
The result means the Roar have gone through the regular season without suffering a single defeat on the road, taking 16 points from a possible 18 on their travels.
Electric winger Hayley Raso scored the crucial goal in the two sides' last meeting back in Round 4, and she was on hand again in the 20th minute to open the scoring from an acute angle.
The Roar's lead lasted all of two minutes before Makenzy Doniak drew the hosts level before Emily Condon put the Reds in front against the odds 15 minutes into the second half.
Brisbane were never going to surrender quietly, and as they have done on numerous occasions already in Westfield W-League season 10, rose to the occasion.
With a tick over 15 minutes to play, Allira Toby reaped the rewards of some valiant fighting for the loose ball, poking home from close range and locking the scores up once again.
Carson Pickett's dangerous corner then proved the catalyst for the go-ahead goal for the visitors with the ball rebounding off Adelaide's Jenna McCormick and sneaking inside the left post as the Roar re-took the lead.
Gielnik, who had been an ever-present threat out wide throughout the contest, then capped off a memorable performance with her first goal of the season in second-half stoppage time.
A win or draw in a blockbuster final round showdown with Canberra United next Sunday afternoon at Suncorp Stadium would see Brisbane take out the 2017/18 Premiership, but captain Clare Polkinghorne knows there is still plenty of work to be done.
“It has been a solid season so far, but the job's not done yet - we want top spot," Polkinghorne said.
STORY OF THE GAME
- Club stalwart Amy Chapman returned to Brisbane's starting line-up.
- Two goals in as many minutes partway through the second-half lit the fuse for an entertaining contest after a relatively hesitant opening from both sides.
- A fast-finish from the visitors proved to be crucial with three goals in the final 20 minutes enough for Brisbane to record an inspiring victory.
- Scorer of the final goal, Emily Gielnik, was named Player of the Match for the first time in her esteemed Westfield W-League career.
Brisbane Roar – Raso 20’ – 0-1
Hayley Raso is played in behind the Reds’ defence and finds herself in a one-on-one scenario before coolly picking her spot and handing the Roar the lead.
Adelaide United – Doniak 22’ – 1-1
Makenzy Doniak is found in space at the top of the area and has time to set and shoot past Mackenzie Arnold, drawing the hosts level.
Adelaide United – Condon 60’ – 2-1
Arnold scrambles to gather the ball after a shot strikes the crossbar, but can’t get there in time before Emily Condon swoops in to head home from close range.
Brisbane Roar – Toby 74’ – 2-2
Allira Toby does extremely well to win the ball before rounding the keeper and tapping home from point-blank range.
Brisbane Roar – Own goal 83’ – 2-3
Wai Ki Cheung gets her head on to Carson Pickett’s corner, and her shot, which was going wide, is deflected into the net off a Reds defender.
Brisbane Roar – Gielnik 92’ – 2-4
Emily Gielnik polishes off an incredible final 20 minutes for the visitors with a lobbed shot which kisses the underside of the crossbar.
Westfield W-League Round 13: Adelaide United v Brisbane Roar
Marden Sports Complex, Adelaide
Sunday, 28 January
Adelaide United 2 (Doniak 22', Condon 60')
Brisbane Roar 4 (Raso 20', Toby 74', o.g. 83', Gielnik 90+2')