After defeating Melbourne Victory 2-1 in the inaugural Westfield W-League Melbourne Derby, Melbourne City Women’s FC coach Joe Montemurro lauded the performance of his depleted squad.
The hosts were forced into making four changes ahead of yesterday’s fixture with Round One starters Steph Catley, Laura Alleway, Larissa Crummer and captain Lisa De Vanna away with the Matildas on international duty.
Trialists Tyla-Jay Vlanjic, Hannah Brewer, Tessa Sernio and Racheal Quigley were called upon to fill the void, performing admirably as City controlled majority of the contest.
“[They] were difficult circumstances in a difficult week but we showed that the planning and organisation was good enough to get us over the line,” Montemurro said.
“A lot of girls that made their debuts or came into the squad during the week have been working with us since day one so we were quite lucky that they understand the system and the understand the structure.
“It was nice to see – apart from a bit of nerves at the start – that they really slotted in quite easily. All credit to them,” he added.
Marianna Tabain broke the deadlock after the break with her second goal in as many games, before stand-in-skipper Aivi Luik converted from the spot to double her side’s advantage with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining.
Victory added a late consolation in stoppage time but it was too-little-too-late as Montemurro’s side claimed bragging rights in the inaugural Melbourne Derby.
Tallying maximum points from the Club’s opening two fixtures, Montemurro conceded that he would have a number of selection dilemmas ahead of next week’s trip to Perth.
Internationals Jess Fishlock and Kim Little will be available for Saturday’s Round Three clash while the club will welcome back the return of its Matildas.
“It’s a cliché but it’s a good headache to have,” he said.
“I’ve said this many, many times, it’s not just about the footballers [we have at the Club].”
“It’s about the characters we bring to the club because this is now going to stamp future teams and future outlooks in how we are going to build a team.
“It was very important that not only we bought good players but good characters that understand where they are at and it’s a good place to be at the moment.”
With a number of youngsters throughout his squad, Montemurro outlined the importance of the Club’s long-term vision.
Alex Chidiac made her first start in City colours while 16-year-olds Melina Ayres and Olivia Ellis were introduced off the bench for the second time this season.
“The project wasn’t just to just be successful and to stamp your authority form day one,” he said.
“Obviously that was part of it but we need to look to the future. One of the biggest things I think both in the W-League and women’s football is that the W-League clubs have to have a presence 12 months of the year.
“Alex [Chidiac] is part of that and also some of the girls that we’ve got working with us at the moment. It’s all part of the building process and the building blocks to make it a holistic women’s program.”