Condon on the spot to edge Reds past battling Glory
Adelaide United bounced back from their opening round loss as Emily Condon’s penalty fired the Reds to a 1-0 victory over Perth Glory.
Condon opened her account for the season from 12 yards, her spot-kick bursting through the Glory net in the 80th minute, to earn Adrian Stenta’s side their first points of the campaign following a dramatic 4-3 opening round defeat against Canberra United.
Adelaide had been hammering on the door but Perth seemed set to survive the onslaught in their season opener until Chilean star Maria Jose Rojas was brought down after tangling with Glory captain Natasha Rigby in the penalty box.
Making his competition debut in the Perth dugout, coach Alexander Epakis’ side took a direct approach and made a promising start to their season opener in South Australia as English striker Gemma Craine rattled the post inside two minutes.
Glory's Kiwi goalkeeper Lily Alfeld made a sensational first-half save from Condon's drilled strike and Dylan Holmes crashed an effort off the Western Australian outfit's crossbar as the Reds were frustrated for much of Saturday night.
Stenta’s team controlled the match in sweltering 35 degree heat at Marden Sports Complex and the hosts finally edged past a much-changed Glory side that fielded only three players from their previous match on 29 February 2020.
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Glory started quickly in the stifling heat with English striker Gemma Craine cannoning a strike back off the Adelaide post two minutes into her Westfield W-League debut, before Marianna Tabain fired a clear-cut opportunity wide from 20 yards in the eighth minute.
The Reds were scrambling as Matilda McNamara dragged down Katarina Jukic on the edge of the area and Tabain slammed the free-kick narrowly wide of the post. The home side began to ease into the match with some controlled possession, but Reds keeper Sian Fryer-McLaren had to stay alert to smoother at Jukic’s feet.
Adelaide forward Emily Condon must have pictured the ball hitting the back of the net when she recorded Adelaide’s first attempt on goal but her fizzing half-volley was met with an exceptional fingertip save from Glory’s goalkeeper Lily Alfeld, as the game headed for its first drinks break midway through the first half.
Craine was not deterred by the scorching hot conditions, twisting and turning through the Reds defence and forcing a superb low block by Fryer-McLaren from close-range, before the Reds shot-stopper denied Jukic from an angled drive.
Condon weaved through Perth tackles before her low drive forced Alfeld into another diving save as Adelaide finished the half on top and Mallory Weber fired a warning shot off target straight after the interval. The Reds dialled up the pressure even further when Dylan Holmes crashed a strike off the bar and Weber was blocked by Natasha Rigby as the American followed up from close range.
Rojas was beginning to take control of the match and the Chilean ace worked her magic in the Reds' midfield moments later. Her stampeding run was almost rewarded with a goal but her vicious strike whistled over the crossbar as Glory escaped another close shave.
With the clock ticking down and Glory edging closer to a battling point, Chile international Rojas produced a sharp turn in the visitor's penalty area and went down under pressure form Perth captain Rigby. After a penalty was awarded, Condon kept her cool and slotted in the winning goal.
Ways to watch
Perth Glory v Adelaide United
Thursday, 14 January 2021
Venue: Dorrien Gardens
Kick-off: 8.05pm AEDT