Melbourne City FC fell to its first ever Melbourne Derby defeat at AAMI Park after going down 2-0 to Victory in a historic standalone fixture.
Goals either side of the break – the first an unfortunate own goal by City’s Elise Kellond-Knight and the second a well-placed finish from Victory forward Emily Gielnik was enough to consign Rado Vidosic’s side to its first home reverse of the season.
Vidosic was forced to juggle his line-up due to the continued absences of key personnel. Kyah Simon and Steph Catley remained on the sidelines, while Elise Kellond-Knight had to be deployed as a makeshift central defender in the absence of Kiwi international Rebekah Stott, despite having featured twice for the Matildas in the past six days.
Tameka Butt also made her City debut after rushing back from international duty to add further steel in midfield alongside Yukari Kinga and Amy Jackson.
With the international break in full swing, all eyes were on the first Melbourne Derby of the W-League season as football history was made at AAMI Park.
It was a cagey opening 15 minutes as both sides searched for clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities in what was always going to be a tense contest between the two cross-city rivals.
It took until the 21st minute for City to fashion a chance on goal through the in-form Jasmyne Spencer, with the American keen to add to her stellar hat-trick last weekend.
This effort from the American trickled wide of the post, before Yukari Kinga spurned City’s best chance of the opening half only minutes later when she headed over Tameka Butt’s inch-perfect cross from close range.
At the other end, Gielnik fired wide with Victory's first effort on goal, before Christine Nairn’s shot struck a City defender inside the area but appeals for a penalty were waved away by referee Kate Jacewicz.
Lydia Williams had to be at her best to prevent Natasha Dowie from opening the scoring with a brilliant fingertip save from the English striker’s long-range drive but was powerless to prevent Victory from taking the lead in fortuitous circumstances from the resulting corner.
Nairn's cross from the right was aimed at Dowie, but the striker was unable to make contact with the ball; however, only for it to deflect off Kellond-Knight and bounce in past the stranded Williams.
City continued to press forward and create opportunities to get back into the contest. Spencer linked up well with Butt, slipping a pass through for the Matildas star, but Victory ‘keeper Casey Dumont was out sharply to smother the loose ball.
The Champions went close shortly after the break when Butt found Yukari Kinga inside the penalty area, whose shot flashed inches wide of the target.
That missed proved costly as Victory doubled its advantage after the hour mark. It was the ever-dangerous Gielnik who put the icing on the cake, firing into the bottom corner past Williams via the base of the post to give Victory the derby spoils.
City will look to bounce back immediately when Rado Vidosic’s side face Perth Glory at nib Stadium next Sunday.