Football: Wellington Phoenix back-up keeper Brianna Edwards steps up to rescue triumph from disaster against Canberra

Brianna Edwards admits she wasn't really paying attention, when her moment arrived.

With Wellington Phoenix up 2-0 over bottom-of-the-table Canberra, goalkeeper Rylee Foster drew a shock red card, after an off-the-ball melee in the goalmouth - but Edwards' attention was elsewhere.

"If I'm going to be completely honest, I don't think I was watching the game at that point," she reflected. "I was having a chat and the next thing I saw, the play was stopped and [assistant coach Callum Holmes] is going, 'Bri, you'd better warm up'.

Briana Edwards drops an 'F-bomb' after her matchsaving heroics.
Briana Edwards drops an 'F-bomb' after her matchsaving heroics. Photo credit: Supplied/Getty Images

"I just started warming up, I wasn't really thinking and then realised what was going on. I was just trying to slow the adrenalin, slow the nerves.

"I was, like, 'F***, it's my time'. I was pumping, it's what I'm made for."

In just her third appearance of the season, Edwards was immediately called on to face the penalty resulting from Foster's infraction. As she entered the fray, teammate Kate Taylor offered a private word in her ear.

"I feel like the girls know to just leave it up to me," said Edwards. "She just said to me, 'Just breath, you got it'."

She did. The day after her 21st birthday, Edwards guessed correctly, diving right to block Maria Rojas' rightfoot strike from the spot.  

Coach Paul Temple credits Edwards' heroics for steadying the ship, after two Mariana Speckmaier goals and Foster's shock exit.

"I'm delighted for her," he said. "She came on and stepped up, and that gave everyone the energy for the last 25 [minutes].

"If that had gone in, the energy would have been sucked out and it would have been tough, but that penalty save really helped us get through to the end."

The result snaps a four-game losing streak for the Phoenix women, who have slipped outside the playoff picture, after a bright start to their third campaign.

Edwards has had to watch most of that rollercoaster from the sidelines, but remains ready when her number is called.

"Any second goalkeeper will tell you it's hard going from playing every game last year to not playing," she said. "It's tough, but it's moments like this that you live for, and you get on the field and you do your job.

"You start asking questions. I've got goals and I've got ambitions, and I'll just keeping pushing for them.

"I've just got to keep getting on the field and making that save gives me confidence to believe in myself. Going into next week, I'm ready."

Temple insists the club will appeal any further punishment for Foster, after what seemed like an innocuous jockeying for position during a corner-kick, but if that's unsuccessful, Edwards may be destined for more action over coming weeks.

"Whatever happens, I'll be ready, whether I'm playing, or on the bench again and have to come on again. That's what I say to myself every week."