Melbourne City has dropped to fifth place on the table following a disappointing 2-0 loss to Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
The contest was very much a tale of two halves as City controlled proceedings in the opening half but were unable capitalise on their dominance. Brisbane battled back the ascendency in the second period and were rewarded through goals to Allira Toby and Katrina Gorry.
City will look to bounce back when they face the Western Sydney Wanderers in a blockbuster New Year’s Day double-header at ANZ Stadium.
Head Coach Patrick Kisnorbo recognised his squad’s Round 7 performance, maintaining an unchanged starting side following City’s 2-1 win over Canberra United at AAMI Park last Sunday.
With the Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory sharing the spoils in a thrilling 3-3 draw the night before, all the attention turned to the mouth-watering clash at Suncorp Stadium between Patrick Kisnorbo’s Melbourne City and Mel Andreatta’s Brisbane Roar on Sunday afternoon.
Leading into the clash the stakes were high, but Saturday night’s top of the table draw between the Jets and the Glory only reinforced the importance of the result. The equation was clear – Brisbane win, and they move two-points clear on top of the league, City win, and they join the Jets and the Glory atop on 13 points apiece.
Warm conditions greeted both teams in the capital of Australia’s Sunshine State, and it was Kisnorbo’s side that were able to wrestle the early ascendency.
Kyah Simon was the busiest of City’s front trio, with the Matildas international registering two shots on goal in the opening eight minutes.
The better of those chances fell to Simon in the eighth minute when she was found inside the box by Stott’s cross – Stott initially found Luik in the box before the midfielder produced a wonderful turn and laid the ball back to the right-back whose cross was met by Simon, but her resulting header glanced wide.
Five minutes later Simon had another chance to break the deadlock when Jess Fishlock’s perfectly weighted ball found Kinga in the box and the ball fell kindly to Simon, but her shot was fired into the side netting.
As she has done for the duration of this season so far, Yukari Kinga continued to pull the strings in the midfield as Aivi Luik flourished in her defensive midfield duties.
Barnes led a resilient defensive unit in the first-half, as she chopped off any ball that came her way. Steph Catley was winning the battle of the two Matildas, nullifying the influence of Hayley Raso on the wing.
Tameka Butt played the ball through to Emily Gielnik for the Roar’s best chance of the opening half, but the pass was well read and cut off by Lydia Williams.
Four minutes out from the half-time interval Kinga finished off a brilliant attacking play by crossing the ball to Dobson, but the cross flew inches high of the winger who was unmarked in the box.
City were the more dominant of the two sides in the opening half but failed to capitalise on the chances they created – they finished the half with seven shots on goal to Brisbane’s two, with the scores locked at 0-0.
Although the Roar came out of the blocks firing in the second-half, the opening two chances fell to Rhali Dobson. Catley did brilliantly on the wing inside 54 minutes, before her lethal cross found Dobson at the back post – Dobson’s resulting header cannoned into the bar and rebounded favourably for Brisbane.
Thirty seconds later Dobson had another chance to break the deadlock, following a solid run on the wing she cut-back nicely towards the edge of the box but her left-footed strike sailed well wide of Mackenzie Arnold’s goal.
In the 58th minute, Butt’s cross found an unmarked Cheung whose glancing header went over the bar – a chance that proved to be the catalyst for an attacking spree from the home side.
After swapping wings to escape the defensive clutches of Catley, Raso noticeably starting finding her feet in the contest and as a result began to influence proceedings.
Brisbane would eventually break the deadlock in the 63nd minute through second-half substitute Allira Toby. Clare Polkinghorne dispossessed Fishlock before placing a perfectly weighted long ball into the lap of Toby who finished neatly over Williams.
Nine minutes later the Roar would double their lead and seal their spot on top of the league when Katrina Gorry’s free-kick from range beat everyone and curled into the net at Williams’ back post.
Polkinghorne, Gorry and Celeste Boureille showed their class in the second period, stepping up for the home side to secure the three points.
City’s defensive unit was under constant duress for the majority of the second 45 as Roar’s midfield started to control proceedings and gain the ascendency.
Rebekah Stott tried to make something out of nothing in the dying stages, as the right-back went for a magnificent run down the field before she was eventually fouled a couple of yards out from the box. Barnes fired a shot goal bound with the resulting set-piece but she was denied by a spectacular Arnold save.
In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Boureille tried her luck from range but was denied by an equally impressive stop from Williams.
The contest was very much a tale of two halves, as Brisbane was able to capitalise on their chances in the second period.
Westfield W-League Round 8
Sunday, 17 December 2017
Brisbane Roar – 2
Melbourne City FC – 0
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Melbourne City FC: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS (GK), 2. Yukari KINGA, 3. Lauren BARNES, 4. Ashley HATCH, 6. Aivi LUIK, 7. Steph CATLEY (C), 9. Larissa CRUMMER, 10. Jess FISHLOCK 11. Rhali DOBSON, 13. Rebekah STOTT, 14. Alanna KENNEDY, 17. Kyah SIMON