A difficult and at times disheartening season ended on a bright note for Adelaide United last night as they defeated rivals Melbourne Victory 2-1 at Marden Sports Complex

Goals to Makenzy Doniak and Jenna McCormick were enough cancel out Kyra Cooney-Cross’ equaliser and take the spoils.

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Although it was a bottom two grudge clash the Reds played with intensity and heart.

The hosts dominated the opening half before holding out late to grab the win, something they have rarely managed.

Speaking after the game, Adelaide coach Ivan Karlovic was proud of the performance displayed from his charges.

“It was an exceptional first half,” said Karlovic.

“Our intensity really to win the ball was exceptional, our aggression was really good and at the end our desire and hunger to win the game in our own defensive half I thought showed a lot of character and will to win the game.

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It was a half that provided a perfect summarisation of Adelaide’s season.

The hosts were bright early, tearing apart Melbourne’s defence to take a deserved lead through Doniak on the 17th minute.

Brilliant play from Alex Chidiac saw her intercept a pass and play in the American, who ran 25 yards before calmly placing the ball past keeper Casey Dumont.

The Reds continued to control possession, but a goal against the grain came through Cooney-Cross in the 41st minute.

The ball fell to the 15-year old – who was only substituted on in the 26th minute after a Natasha Dowie injury – from a goalmouth scramble and she made the most of it, blasting the ball past Sarah Willacy.

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Karlovic and Travis Dodd earned yellow cards for their troubles before the break, as genuine concerns for Georgia Campagnale’s welfare after a head clash in the lead-up to the equaliser were waved away.

“I thought there were some duty of care issues there,” Karlovic said.

“The fourth official was yelling in her earpiece that there’s a player down with a head injury but she allowed play to go on for close to another 90 seconds.

“I don’t think she believed it was a head issue, but I’m happy the girls fought back.

Adelaide’s nine shots to half-time were not enough to hold the lead, but heads didn’t drop as they jumped back in front in the 57th minute.

McCormack was the perpetrator for the Reds, latching onto a driving low cross from Doniak to bundle home the side’s second goal.

Melbourne responded well to falling behind but ultimately were not able to come up with the goods, falling short against a side much stronger than the one they trumped 4-0 back in December.

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