Melbourne City FC can book its spot in the Westfield W-League Finals Series by avoiding defeat against Newcastle Jets in a crucial final round clash at Coffs International Stadium on Friday evening.
Back on the winners list and gathering momentum at the right time of the season, City enter the final round of the Westfield W-League season with one simple aim; to secure a finals berth for a second consecutive campaign.
After seeing off the challenge of Brisbane Roar last week, City are holding on to fourth place heading into Friday's encounter against Newcastle, five points behind league leaders Sydney FC, and three behind Canberra United and Perth Glory.
The equation is simple for Jess Fishlock’s side. Avoid defeat against the Jets – who sit only two points behind in fifth place - and finals qualification is signed, sealed and delivered.
Should Newcastle claim victory, then City’s hopes of defending a championship title will come to an untimely end; a scenario which seemed unfathomable following a record breaking inaugural campaign.
A top-two finish isn’t entirely out of the question either, should both Perth and Canberra fall to defeat in their final round matches, but that situation seems improbable.
At the very least, City are in pole position to seal fourth place after a convincing 3-1 win over Brisbane at CB Smith Reserve last Sunday.
It was a dominant display from start to finish from Fishlock’s side, who snapped a six-match winless run with the trademark ruthlessness and cutting edge in the final third which had eluded them in previous weeks.
Meanwhile, the Jets will come into the clash at Coffs International Stadium brimming with positivity after two consecutive league wins, soaring into finals contention with a vital 3-1 away win over Sydney last week.
City will take confidence from a 1-0 win over the Jets in the only meeting between the two sides this season, with Marianna Tabain nodding home the game’s only goal in a hard-fought Round 1 win at CB Smith Reserve.
It was a tight contest which demonstrated just how difficult City’s title defence would be, and with a finals place on the line for both sides, expect Friday's clash to be just as enthralling.
How can I follow the match?
It all comes down to this. You can listen to all the match action between City and Newcastle LIVE on our Mixlr channel, or stay up to date with all the events on our official Twitter account, @MelbCityWFC.
Westfield W-League – Round 14
Friday, 27 January 2017
Newcastle Jets vs Melbourne City FC
Venue: Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
Melbourne City FC squad: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS (GK), 2. Teigen ALLEN, 3. Lauren BARNES, 5. Laura ALLEWAY, 6. Aivi LUIK, 7. Steph CATLEY (C), 10. Jessica FISHLOCK, 11. Erika TYMRAK, 13. Rebekah STOTT, 14. Melina AYRES, 15. Amy JACKSON, 16. Beverly YANEZ, 17. Marianna TABAIN, 18. Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI, 19. Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC, 20. Emily SHIELDS (GK)
*One to be omitted*
Unavailable: Larissa Crummer (foot - season)