The Western Sydney Wanderers have their first win of the season after defeating Adelaide United 2-1 in their first home game of the season.
Despite a dominant performance, the Red & Black needed an 85th minute goal from American import Paige Nielsen for victory which now leaves them only one point outside the top four. Fellow American Katie Stengel scored the Wanderers’ opening goal.
The match started at a frenetic pace for the Wanderers who went in the sheds at half time desperately unlucky not to have the lead.
Kendall Fletcher was controlling things in the middle from the outset, setting-up Erica Halloway for a brilliant cross but Eliza Amendollia’s finish was not able to hit the target.
Fletcher almost had a goal of her own soon afterwards as she headed towards goal only to see Adelaide’s keeper pull off an acrobatic fingertip save.
What followed was in intense period of pressure from the Wanderers that somehow did not finish with a goal.
Georgia Plessas, Ellie Carpenter, Paige Nielsen, Halloway (twice), Katie Stengel and Rachel Lowe all had chances but were unable to capitalise.
The Red & Black were almost punished for their lack of finishing when Adelaide counter-attacked but goalkeeper Jada Whyman pulled out a brilliant save to keep the score at 0-0 going into half time.
It was much the same for the opening of the second half as Lowe found herself one-on-one with the Adelaide keeper only for the custodian to deny her with an impressive save.
Again, the Wanderers were almost punished when Adelaide hit the crossbar but it mattered not as moments later Stengel scored her first goal in the Westfield W-League.
With the ball at her feet in the box, the centre forward dragged the ball around a defender and placed the ball into the bottom corner to open the scoring.
The lead only lasted a matter of minutes though as a lapse of concentration allowed Jones to capitalise: equalising almost instantly for Adelaide.
Following the goals, chances began to flow freely with Nielsen hitting the crossbar for the third time this season before her luck finally changed.
With little more than five minutes left on the clock and the Wanderers staring down the barrel of three matches without a win, Nielsen pounced.
A fantastic first touch saw the American drive past the backline before shooting the ball into the bottom corner to secure a late win for the Red & Black.
With the top four now in touching distance, the Wanderers will be licking their lips at next week’s match against Brisbane Roar on Saturday. Kick-off is 3pm at Marconi Stadium.
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Katie Stengel 58’ Paige Nielsen 85’)
Adelaide United 1 (Adriana Jones 61’)
Western Sydney Wanderers: Jada Whyman (GK), Ellie Carpenter, Caitlin Cooper (C), Alex Arlitt, Georgia Plessas, Paige Nielsen, Kendall Fletcher, Eliza Ammendolia (Chloe O'Brien), Erica Halloway, Rachel Lowe, Katie Stengel
Unused subs: Courtney Newbon (GK), Alix Roberts, Angelique Hristodoulou