Melbourne City played out a 3-3 draw with Melbourne Victory in a behind-closed-doors preseason friendly at the City Football Academy on Sunday.
A positive opening five minutes of play by the hosts led to an early lead, as Maja Markovski laid it back to Mari Pastor who fired her effort into the top corner to hand City a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute.
City continued to press forwards but were undone on the counter six minutes later, as Melina Ayres found space in-behind before finding Natasha Dowie who slotted an equaliser home from point blank range.
As both teams continued to wrestle for the ascendency, Dowie looked to break forwards again, although Emma Checker was equal to the task, blocking her effort from inside the 18-yard box.
In the 20th minute, Dowie outmuscled Varley before charging towards goal and unleashing an effort which looked headed for the bottom corner. City shot-stopper Lydia Williams produced a brilliant low stop to deny Victory’s striker.
On the 28th minute mark, Markovski played a perfectly weighted ball which was met by Rhali Dobson, whose glancing header travelled just wide.
Moments later City restored their lead, with two quick-fire goals in two minutes. Emily van Egmond made it 2-1 on the half-hour mark, when she met Steph Catley’s pin-point cross with a well-placed header.
Clinical in attack, Head Coach Rado Vidosic’s squad made it 3-1 in the 32nd minute, as Markovski’s low drive beat Maizels at the near post.
With 30 seconds of the first half remaining, Ayres was played through one-on-one with Williams although the shot-stopper stood tall, denying the attacker.
Five minutes into the second period, Victory pegged a goal back as Ayres’ cross was turned into the back of her own net by central defender Varley to make it 3-2.
On the 52nd minute mark, Dobson found Pastor who turned nicely before finding Ellie Carpenter on the right wing, City’s new recruit delivered a dangerous cross which fizzed past the far post. Dobson then cut inside, before firing her effort into Dumont’s arms.
In the 57th minute, Carpenter again delivered a threatening ball which was met by Dobson, whose resulting header was cleared off the line.
With most of City’s attacking play coming via the right wing, Carpenter’s short cross found Sakalis whose effort was blocked.
In the 70th minute, Williams produced an incredible double save to deny both Dowie and Robers an equaliser from close range. Five minutes later, City’s shot-stopper again stood tall, this time denying Maher from range.
With less than 10 seconds remaining, Maher snatched a late equaliser after slotting the ball past Williams with the final kick of the game.
Melbourne City 3 - 6’ Pastor, 30’ van Egmond, 32’ Markovski
Melbourne Victory 1 – 12’ Dowie, 50’ Varley (OG), 90’ Maher
Williams, Catley, Checker, Carpenter, Van Egmond, Dobson, Maja (trialists), Goff (trialist), Pastor (trialist), Varley (trialist), Muldeary (trialist).