Melbourne Victory has consigned the Lady Reds to a second consecutive Westfield W-League wooden spoon after a 4-1 win at Burton Park today.

Melbourne were in control for much of the match and despite falling behind to a Marijana Rajcic header the Victory bounced back to put three past the Reds with goals to Gorry, Brown, Friend and Fletcher sealing fourth place on the ladder.

The Victory will now head to Canberra for their knockout clash with the premiers while Perth’s shock win last night over Newcastle leaves the Lady Reds anchored to the foot of the table for another season.

The Lady Reds were without US international Ashleugh Gunning for the clash while the Victory made just the one change, Katrina Gorry returning from suspension.

Gorry was causing early headaches for Dave Edmondson’s side, providing a defence-opening ball to Jodie Taylor and firing just over the bar inside the opening four minutes.

Jodie Taylor wasted a golden change in the 18th minute after another brilliant through-ball by Gorry left the Reds’ defence stranded. The returning midfielder’s chipped pass came to Taylor on the half-volley but her right foot could only blast the ball over Sian McLaren’s crossbar.

The Lady Reds’ reply came swiftly as Marijana Rajcic found the net in the 21st minute from an Adelaide corner. After Rajcic’s aerial prowess forced a goal-line clearance by Amy Jackson, the resulting corner was floated in and found the Reds’ striker with time and space to head past Brianna Davey and give Adelaide a 1-0 lead.

Adelaide was forced into a change in the 30th minute with Ebony Philcox succumbing to injury and being replaced by Georgia Macri.

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Gorry’s pressure paid off in the 31st minute, deciding to put the ball in the net herself after Taylor turned provider for the diminutive midfielder. Gorry was played into a one-on-one situation and fired a left-foot shot which slid underneath McLaren’s diving body.

The Victory were inches away from taking a deserved lead in the 34th minute with the post all that saved the Reds from facing a 2-1 deficit. An exquisite first touch on her left turned the Adelaide defence inside-out but managed to slide her shot into the post as the Reds scrambled to keep the scores level.

Ashley Brown scored her first ever Westfield W-League goal on 36 minutes with her attempted cross deceiving McLaren and floating over her and into the back of the Adelaide net.

The Lady Reds were absorbing plenty of pressure and fell further behind in the throes of half-time, the swirling winds aiding Melbourne and confounding the Reds’ ‘keeper with Caitlin Friend the beneficiary helping the Victory to a 3-1 lead after the opening 45 minutes.

The second half opened with a slow pace with the first real chance falling to Victory captain Jodie Taylor in the 52nd minute. The twenty-five-year-old fired a left foot shot which looked destined for the top corner before the outstretched hand of McLaren denied Melbourne their fourth goal.

As the second half wore on there were fewer and fewer clear cut chances as the South Australian heat began to take its toll on both sides.

Adelaide’s best chance of the half came in the 76th minute after a sparkling run by Racheal Quigley allowed her to set up substitute Macri. Unfortunately for the Reds Macri couldn’t hit her shot on target as she blasted high over the bar.

Melbourne found their fourth and final goal in injury time with American Kendall Fletcher putting it away from close range after a strong piece of play down the wing by Taylor. The result will give the Victory plenty of confidence heading into the finals while Adelaide can be happy with an improved season and will look to build again heading into 2012.

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