Melbourne City have bounced back from their round one defeat in Perth and grabbed their first win of the season, beating local rivals the Melbourne Victory on Friday night.
City dominated possession for much of the opening half, running into the same issue of creating a lot of chances for no reward on the scoreboard that haunted them against Perth.
And as a similar pattern emerged in the second half it looked as though head coach Paddy Kisnorbo’s side would have to settle for a draw, a result that would have been a first in the history of the W-League Melbourne Derby.
However, a headed goal to Rebekah Stott in the 83rd minute was enough for City to grab a deserved late winner and ensure that Melbourne bragging rights will remain with the team in City Blue.
The focus for City will now shift to next Sunday afternoon, when City will return to AAMI Park to host the Newcastle Jets.
Recognising the strong effort his side put in last week despite the loss to Perth, Kisnorbo fielded an outfield unchanged from the round one defeat, with Matildas star goalkeeper Lydia Williams returning to the side after missing round one.
Melissa Hudson, signed midweek as an injury replacement for Emily Shields, came into the side as Williams’ back up.
City started the game strongly, grabbing the lion’s share of possession against a Victory side that went to great lengths to keep the game in front of you.
City signalled their intent early, when in the first minute Kyah Simon launched a cross into the Victory area from her left wing towards Hatch, who could only launch an ineffective header downwards.
Whilst definitely being pushed back on their heels early, Victory made it clear they weren’t there to be dominated when five minutes later fifteen-year-old Kyrah Cooney-Cross took advantage of a City mix-up in the midfield to steak the ball and run to the edge of the City penalty area, only to not challenge the Williams with her wide effort.
It would prove to be a rare chance for the Victory though, and City soon settled and took clear control of the game.
City’s two experienced campaigners in the middle of the park, Jessica Fishlock and Yukari Kinga, were key to City’s efforts throughout the first half, constantly harassing the Victory as they sought to build up from the backline and being the focal point of the City attack as they searched for a lead.
City’s two best chances of the first half came within minutes of each other.
In the 26th minute a Simon corner managed to clear both City and Victory player alike as it floated over the area before reaching Alanna Kennedy at the back post. Lashing out at the ball on the half volley the Matilda could only watch however as her ball flashed across the face of goal.
Two minutes later City went agonizingly close again when American import Ashley Hatch broke down the wing and played the cutback to Kinga waiting on the edge of the area, who launched a shot that was destined for goal if it were not for a magnificent save by Casey Dumont in the Victory goal, with the resulting save bouncing off striker Larissa Crummer and out for a goal kick.
Weathering a brief Victory fightback late in the latter stages of the half, City were able to wrest back control just before the break and came out to start the second pressing hard to secure their first win of the season.
In the 53rd minute Larissa Crummer found Simon, who launched a cross towards Hatch at the back post. The winger got hear head to it, only to watch as it floated onto the top of the bar and out for a goal kick.
City went even closer in the 73rd minute when Alanna Kennedy launched a right footed free kick that curled agonizingly close to the goal before inching past the near post.
Just as the clock ticked over to the 82nd minute and the game looked to be headed towards the first draw in the fixtures five encounters, substitute Rhali Dobson found space on the right wing.
Setting herself, the 25-year-old launched a beautiful looping cross to the far post towards a waiting Stott. The New Zealand international rose above the Victory defence to meet it and headed it back across the Dumont to give City the late win.
Westfield W-League Round 2
Friday 3, October 2017
Melbourne City FC 1
Melbourne Victory 0
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Melbourne City FC: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS (GK) 2. Yukari KINGA, 3. Lauren BARNES, 4. Ashley HATCH, 7. Steph CATLEY (C), 9. Larissa CRUMMER, 10. Jess FISHLOCK, 11. Rhali DOBSON, 13. Rebekah STOTT, 14. Alanna KENNEDY, 15. Amy JACKSON, 17. Kyah SIMON, 19. Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC
Substitutes not used: 5. Lia MULDEARY, 23. Melissa HUDSON (GK)
Head Coach: Patrick KISNORBO
Melbourne Victory: 1. Casey DUMON (GK), 5. Laura ALLEWAY, 6. Annabel MARTIN, 7. Ga EUL JEON, 8. Angela BEARD, 9. Natasha DOWIE, 10. Kyra COONEY-CROSS, 14. Melina AYRES, 16. Lia PRIVITELLI, 17. Gulcan KOCA, 19. Kristen MCNABB, 31. Christina GIBBONS
Substitutes not used: 13. Laura SPIRANOVIC, 18. Tiffany ELIADIS, 20. Bethany MASON-JONES (GK)
Head Coach: Jeff Hopkins