Adelaide keep Canberra at bay

Two quickfire goals inside the first quarter-hour helped Adelaide United stave off Canberra United 2-0 in Sunday's Westfield W-League encounter at Burton Park.

Two quickfire goals inside the first quarter-hour helped Adelaide United stave off Canberra United 2-0 in Sunday's Westfield W-League encounter at Burton Park.

The Lady Reds looked rock solid all over the park and noticeably handled the difficult conditions better than their more fancied opponents, with unseasonal driving rain early on and strong winds throughout battering the arena.

Canberra, keen to notch a third straight win and retain their hopes of finishing top, started energetically as vice-captain Ellie Brush forced Adelaide goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri into a nice save in the opening minutes following a corner.

But the Reds quickly started dictating terms and got on the board in the 10th minute when Lisa-Marie Woods, with a touch of brilliance, bombed a long goal which caught a nice wind pocket from the left-hand side and gave Canberra custodian Lydia Williams no chance of stopping it as it swung into the back of the net.

The visitors were further rocked when Williams, charging out to deny the attacking Reds, was handed a yellow card by referee Rachel Mitchenson as her diving challenge inside the box was deemed over the top, resulting in an Adelaide penalty.

Rachael Quigley stepped up to the spot and rifled it just to the left of Williams, who guessed right but couldn't quite grasp it and left the home side ecstatic and up 2-0.

Brush had a couple of nice looks throughout the half but the Reds defence, led by Jenna McCormick and Snez Veljanovska, stood resolutely and were happy to sit back and protect their early lead.

The visitors, desperate to claw back the deficit, controlled the tempo for virtually the entire second half and attacked in droves as the play was often contained in their front third but could muster very few decent shots on goal in the face of Adelaide's strong defence and the tricky, swirling breeze.

Such was the wind factor, a forceful throw-in by Adelaide captain Kristy Moore in attack evaded her intended target, floated past two Canberra defenders and forced Williams to lunge and avoid conceding an embarrassing goal.

Californian spearhead Stephanie Ochs and Lori Lindsey had the best second-half looks for the hard-charging Greens, but Barbieri wasn't called upon to do much at all as the majority of shots aimed her way either tailed off target at the last moment or were blocked by the Reds defenders, who were plucky and determined throughout.

Adelaide United 2 (Woods 10, Quigley 13p) Canberra United 0 @ Burton Park, 5/1/2014

Adelaide United: 1. Melissa Barbieri (GK), 6. Laura Stockdale, 7. Rachael Quigley (5. Jessie Wharepouri 90'), 9. Lisa-Marie Woods, 10. Monique Iannella, 12. Daila Tais-Borg, 15. Jenna McCormick, 16. Jessica Waterhouse (8. Emily Condon 59'), 17. Tiarn Powell (14. Jayah Brown 78'), 21. Snez Veljanovska, 23. Kristy Moore (C)

Yellow cards: nil

Canberra United: 1. Lydia Williams (GK), 2. Catherine Brown, 4. Kendall Fletcher, 7. Ellie Brush, 9. Grace Gill, 11. Michelle Heyman, 12. Sally Rojahn (8. Meg McLaughlin 57'), 13. Nicole Sykes (C), 14. Ashleigh Sykes (19. Jennifer Bisset 85'), 16. Lori Lindsey, 22. Stephanie Ochs

Yellow cards: Lydia Williams