The Westfield Young Matildas kept themselves in the race for a Semi Final place in the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship with a 3-1 win against Thailand.
Recent Adelaide United signing Mary Fowler netted two first-half goals to put Australia in control at Chonburi Stadium.
Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder Courtney Nevin extended the lead after the interval with a stunning free-kick, before the host nation grabbed a consolation through Pattaranan Aupachai.
The victory sets Leah Blayney’s side up for a winner-takes-all final group game against Vietnam on Saturday, 2 November AEDT, as both teams compete for second place behind Korea DPR.
The top two teams in Group A advance to the final four, which guarantees at least a playoff for one of the three AFC qualifications spots for the FIFA Women’s U-19 World Cup in Nigeria in July 2020.
“I am very pleased with the team’s performance,” Blayney told the-afc.com
“We were very good at progressing forward and the quality of our possession in terms of creating goalscoring opportunities was definitely an improvement.
“Mary Fowler’s finishes were excellent on the back of a good build-up. As you saw in the celebration she is very much team orientated and the girls celebrated the goals as a team which was fantastic.”
Strong start puts Australia in control
Fowler put the Westfield Young Matildas on their way with a well-executed, angled strike on 17 minutes and Nevin almost made it two on 29 minutes but her shot was off target.
Princess Ibini’s attempt was kept out by Thai goalkeeper Ponpimon Ngoenphon but Fowler made no mistake from just outside the penalty box on 41 minutes.
Ibini came close again to opening her account for the competition after half-time before Nevin’s set-piece special found the back of the Thailand net on 55 minutes.
Pattaranan’s header breached the Australian rearguard on 63 minutes but goalkeeper Annalee Grove responded by saving Phonchita Thaenprathum’s bending effort.
Fowler was denied her hat-trick on three occasions in the closing stages as the Westfield Young Matildas clinched all three points to set up the must-win finale against Vietnam.