Melbourne City underlined their title credentials by defeating reigning Westfield W-League Champions Canberra United 4-2 in their Round 4 clash at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford.
Goals from Marianna Tabain, Larissa Crummer, Aivi Luik and Kim Little plus a player of the match display from Jess Fishlock proved too much for United in a pulsating contest.
City took the lead in only the fifth minute with a goal simple in its execution. Lisa De Vanna helped create it with an inch-perfect through ball to Welsh maestro Fishlock. The midfielder may have been tempted to shoot herself but decided on the easy option and slipped a pass past the onrushing Lydia Williams to allow Tabain the simplest of tasks to slot in her fourth goal of the season.
It was double-delight for Melbourne six minutes later as they went further ahead with another straightforward goal. De Vanna was the architect again, slicing open the square United back-four to allow Crummer a clear run on goal. The Westfield W-League top scorer rounded Williams and rolled home her fifth of the campaign.
Canberra settled after that nervy opening and fought back into the match as Caitlin Munoz tested Trudy Burke with a long-range shot that the City custodian did well to clutch. The ‘keeper could do nothing in the 29th minute though as United pulled a goal back. Munoz played in Ashleigh Sykes and the forward picked her spot to bury her 18th Westfield W-League goal into the corner.
Stephanie Catley then hit the base of the post with a fantastic effort for Melbourne and Laura Alleway was wasteful when left free in front of goal, her header drifting wide, before De Vanna rattled the crossbar with a thumping drive that had Williams beaten as City upped the ante. And they got the third goal their performance deserved as Luik curled a stunner into the top corner close to half-time.
Canberra's chances of getting back into the match were given a boost twelve minutes into the second half when De Vanna was given her marching orders for appearing to swing an elbow, off the ball, at United captain Nicole Begg. With the player advantage it took Canberra three minutes to get back into it as Begg squared for Michelle Heyman to slot home from close range in off the far post.
But with United pushing for an equaliser, Melbourne hit them on the break and Scottish star Little clipped in the fourth, and deciding goal, to keep City’s 100 per cent record alive.