Melbourne City Women’s FC continued its perfect start to the Westfield W-League season with a 2-1 win over Canberra United at GIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Matildas defender Laura Alleway got the ball rolling with a powerful header after just 18 minutes, before a deft toe poke from Melina Ayres provided City with some welcome breathing space with 10 minutes to play.
Ellie Brush pulled a goal back from the spot in the dying stages after Steph Catley was adjudged to have fouled Jasmyne Spencer inside the area, but Joe Montemurro’s side held on to maintain a perfect start to W-League football and extend the Club’s record winning streak to 16 consecutive matches.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing up in the nation’s capital, however, as a new-look Canberra United outfit created several chances to find the back of the net but were unable to find a way past an inspired Lydia Williams in the City goal.
Williams marked her return to her hometown club with a string of key second-half saves to preserve City's advantage. The Matildas keeper denied Jasmyne Spencer and Stephanie Ochs with a superb double save, before showing brilliant reactions to deny Ashleigh Sykes at a critical moment in the match.
Canberra started the match brightly and looked more likely to make an impact on the scoreboard, but found themselves behind after just 18 minutes as Alleway registered her first City goal after 18 minutes.
An expert set-piece delivery from Lauren Barnes picked out Alleway inside the area, who met the ball at full pelt and powered her header past former City keeper Trudy Burke to open the scoring.
The goal proved to be a settler for City as Jess Fishlock, Aivi Luik and Erika Tymrak established control in the middle of the park.
Tymrak in particular was effective in linking play between midfield and attack, and the American came close to doubling the lead in the 54th minute with a bouncing header that clipped the top of the crossbar.
Alleway went from scorer to saviour at the other end, deflecting Michelle Heyman’s goal bound effort over the crossbar with her outstretched leg as Canberra upped the ante.
Williams performed her heroics to prevent Spencer, Ochs and Sykes from levelling the scores, until Ayres took the wind out of the Canberra's sails with the all important second goal.
A perfectly weighted long ball from Fishlock sent Ayres in behind the Canberra defence, who beat Burke to the ball and finished calmly to double the advantage.
Brush did just enough to squeeze her penalty past Williams and ensure a tense finale, but City held firm to maintain its 100 percent start to the season.
Westfield W-League - Round 2
Canberra United 1 (Ellie BRUSH 90+3 [pen])
Melbourne City FC 2 (Laura ALLEWAY 18', Melina AYRES 80')
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Melbourne City FC: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 2. Teigen ALLEN, 3. Lauren BARNES, 5. Laura ALLEWAY, 6. Aivi LUIK, 7. Stephanie CATLEY, 10. Jessica FISHLOCK, 11. Erika TYMRAK, 13. Rebekah STOTT, 14. Melina AYRES (19. Tyla Jay VLAJNIC 87’), 17. Marianna TABAIN
Substitutes not used: 30. Kelsey QUINN (GK), 12. Olivia ELLIS, 18. Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI
Yellow cards: Luik 23’
Red cards: nil
Canberra United: 1. Trudy BURKE, 2. Yukari KINGA, 5. Jenna MCCORMICK, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Hayley RASO (10. Grace MAHER 83’), 9. Jasmyne SPENCER, 11. Michelle HEYMAN (C), 12. Hannah BREWER, 13. Celeste BOUREILLE, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 22. Stephanie OCHS (19. Nickoletta FLANNERY 83’)
Substitutes not used: 21. Georgia STEWART (GK), 4. Clare HUNT
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil