Melbourne City FC suffered its first defeat of the Westfield W-League season on Sunday evening, going down 2-1 to Canberra United at Viking Park.
After conceding in the 73rd minute, City were able to find an equaliser through stand-in captain Jenna McCormick just four minutes later but a stoppage time winner to Nicki Flannery gave the home side all three points.
Rado Vidosic didn’t make any changes to his starting line-up from City’s season opening draw against Brisbane Roar. Japanese attacker Chinatsu Kira was included in the squad and named on the substitutes bench.
The opening moments were far from a sign of things to come in the first half.
After a mistake from Canberra goalkeeper Sarah James, Margot Robinne found the ball at her feet on the edge of the area in just the second minute.
Her attempt lacked a little power and was saved by James and neither team would go much closer to scoring for the entirety of the first half.
Tyla-Jay Vlajnic and Teigen Allen both worked tirelessly down the wings but City still weren’t able to generate any big scoring chances early on.
After having so much work to do last week, City goalkeeper Teagan Micah was able to ease into the game with Tori Tumeth and Sam Johnson dealing with a lot of the danger in front of her.
City looked much better in the second half as Leah Davidson looked creative in midfield and caused issues for Canberra.
She was found by Rhali Dobson on the edge of the area in the 59th minute but her shot was kept out of the top corner by a good save from James.
Davidson was then involved once again four minutes later when she played a delightful one-two with Hollie Palmer before Palmer’s attempt towards the near post was knocked out for a corner.
Canberra scored the opener against the run of play with a Michelle Heyman curling strike going across Micah and finding the top corner.
It didn’t take City long to answer with the equaliser coming just four minutes later.
Despite being subbed on just 15 minutes earlier, it didn’t take long for Japanese attacker Chinatsu Kira to find her groove in her first match for City. Her cross from a free kick was perfectly paced at the back post for captain Jenna McCormick, who hit it at full speed and rocketed a header into the back of the net.
Both teams pushed for a winner in the final minutes but unfortunately for City fans, it was Canberra who found it with a Flannery strike from distance deciding the game.
After starting its W-League season with a couple of away trips, City will now play its next two fixtures at home! First up is a Melbourne Derby on Sunday January 10 with kick-off at 4.05pm before Vidosic’s squad take on Adelaide the following Thursday.
Both matches will be at Frank Holohan Soccer Complex in Dandenong.