Catley: Derby loss hurts, but we need to bounce back

Captain Steph Catley admits Sunday’s 2-0 Melbourne Derby loss was a difficult result to take, but insists Melbourne City FC must work hard to gain winning momentum ahead of an important run in to the Westfield W-League Finals Series.

Goals to Natasha Dowie and Christine Nairn were enough to consign City to its first ever Melbourne Derby defeat in the W-League, with Jess Fishlock’s side missing a golden opportunity to move a step closer to guaranteeing a place in the Finals Series. 

Sitting a point clear in fourth position ahead of a do-or-die showdown against fifth-placed Brisbane Roar on Sunday, Catley said it is time for City to move on and focus firmly on obtaining maximum points from the remaining two league fixtures.

“It always hurts to lose a derby,” the skipper said post-match. “They (Victory) finished today. They were clinical and defended well and in the end they got the win.”

“I think it was a case of we weren’t finishing. We had the ball pretty much for most of the time and moving it around nicely; shifting it and playing some really good football.

“It’s coming to the pointy end of the season and we need to start getting wins on the board, and we’re not doing that right now. Hopefully next week we can focus a little bit more on the result and make sure that we get it.

“We just have to improve on finishing those chances and not giving away those sloppy goals as well.”

Despite controlling the match and creating numerous goal-scoring chances – with Fishlock hitting the post and missing a late penalty – City were on the back foot from the get go after Dowie opened the scoring after just 26 seconds.

The captain was happy with her side’s response from the early setback, but emphasised the importance of translating that dominance into a positive result on the scoreboard.

“We played a square ball straight from the kick-off and gave them possession straight away, which obviously isn’t ideal,” Catley said.

“We’re better than that so we shouldn’t be doing that. We hold ourselves to higher standards, but in saying that we didn’t drop our heads. We didn’t stop playing, kept trying to push for a goal and playing as if it was 0-0.

“It was one of those days where we just couldn’t finish, conceded a couple of sloppy goals. We’ll look at what we did well and improve next week.”

The reigning champions will have another opportunity to lock down a place in the Westfield W-League Finals Series in a tantalising clash against Brisbane at CB Smith Reserve on Sunday 22 January, kick-off at 5:00pm. 

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