Western United mounted another, trademark comeback in the Liberty A-League Women to claim a priceless 2-1 win over rivals Melbourne Victory on Sunday.
Emma Checker opened the scoring for Victory inside 15 minutes but United pushed and probed until finally getting its reward in the second half.
Melissa Taranto converted from a corner, delivered by sister Adriana, to draw United level before another set piece provided the winner.
Substitute Keiwa Hieda won it and scored from it, bundling in from close range for her first Liberty A-League goal to secure a huge win.
Mark Torcaso made one change to his starting XI, and it was a big one – Matildas star Chloe Logarzo led the team out as captain in her first start for the Club.
Alyssa Dall’Oste continued in goal and joined Grace Maher in making her home debut, while Lucy Richards was named on the bench for the first time.
Looking to right some of the wrongs from last week, United started this game with a much higher tempo, looking to get forward early with Kahli Johnson getting a few looks at Jessika Nash on the left-hand side.
United’s early impetus ultimately amounted to nothing and Victory were able to get up the other end and take the lead in the 15th minute.
A flat corner delivery evaded everybody in the box and came to Checker at the back post, whose header looped in the air and into the net over the top of Dall’Oste.
Western United continued to work to find a footing in the game and slowly began to show positive signs in possession, knocking the ball from side to side and getting into the final third.
A sweeping move just past the half hour came once again down United’s left as Johnson picked out Tyla Jay Vlajnic in the box, but her shot from a tight angle was well held by Lydia Williams.
Moments later Johnson won a corner that was flicked on by Hannah Keane before deflecting out for another corner, and that set piece nearly resulted in an own goal with Victory clearing their lines in the nick of time.
United continued in that vein and dominated much of the back end of the first half, with the only thing missing being the equalising goal to show for it.
Immediately out of half time, United sought to continue its spell of dominance but couldn’t quite enjoy the say some success in possession.
Against the wind, it became increasingly difficult for United to work the ball up the pitch but there remained some nice passages of play to work the ball higher up the pitch.
Victory didn’t really carry any significant threat going the other way as they hoped to lower the tempo of the contest, but the threat of their dynamic front players remained.
Much of the visitors’ most exciting moments came off of Western United turnovers, but good recovery in defence ensured Victory could only fire off target from outside the box.
The Green and Black began to edge further forward and after a couple of corners in quick succession, Torcaso’s team finally had its equaliser.
Adriana Taranto’s in-swinging delivery held up slightly in the wind and her sister was alive to it, with Melissa nipping in front of Williams and flicking the ball into the net despite Kayla Morrison’s best efforts on the goal line.
That goal made things interesting with both sides now searching for a go-ahead goal, and Victory very nearly supplied it in a trice when McKenzie Weinert stretched to reach a ball at the back post, but she couldn’t get any sort of controlled connection on it to steer it on target.
From there, Victory began to take the ascendancy and held more of the possession, making it difficult for United to get out of the defensive third.
But United wasn’t to be deterred, showing its customary grit and determination to wrestle the lead on the stroke of injury time.
After winning the corner from which it came, substitute Hieda scored her first professional goal, steaming in to finish from virtually on the goal line after Williams had saved Keane’s effort up into the air.
Western United held its nerve thereafter and saw out stoppage time to clinch a brilliant win and the first of the new Liberty A-League season.