Melbourne City FC returned to the winner's list and leaped back into the Westfield W-League top four with a 2-1 win over Canberra United at AAMI Park on Sunday.
Jess Fishlock’s tremendous strike from 25 yards was cancelled out by Michelle Heyman’s opportunistic effort in the 23rd minute, before the Welsh midfielder secured her brace and all three points for the home side with her 80th minute winner.
City will look to replicate their match-winning performance when they face Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium next Sunday.
Head Coach Patrick Kisnorbo made two changes to the starting XI that faced Adelaide United in City’s 1-1 draw in Round 6. Rhali Dobson was added to the starting line-up in place of Larissa Crummer, while Aivi Luik replaced Amy Jackson in defensive midfield.
In perfect conditions for football at AAMI Park it was City that started the brighter of the two sides in an electric opening 25 minutes.
From the onset, Rhali Dobson looked eager to make the most of her second start for the season. The 25-year-old combined well with Rebekah Stott on the right-wing to trouble CarlRoestbakken and Pressley in defence.
A quarter of an hour into the match, Ashley Hatch came closest to opening the scoring for the home side when her fierce strike from outside of the box faded wide.
Five minutes later, Jess Fishlock put City ahead with a thunderous strike from 25 yards. Kyah Simon dispossessed Toni Pressley on the right wing before laying it off to Fishlock who sent Kopmeyer scrambling.
City’s early dominance was undone three minutes after taking the lead courtesy of Michelle Heyman’s 23rd minute poacher’s effort. Alanna Kennedy’s back pass found Lydia Williams, before the keeper’s errant pass was met by Heyman who calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net – her 50th goal for Canberra.
Patrick Kisnorbo’s side responded well to the equaliser creating a series of chances. The most notable opportunity came on the half-hour mark when Simon fizzed a dangerous ball across the six-yard box that missed Fishlock’s lunging attempt by inches.
Hatch again found herself in a dangerous attacking position as she charged towards Kopmeyer, but her shot was fired straight into the keeper’s arms.
City’s last chance before the half-time interval came in the 42nd minute when Simon’s perfectly placed corner found the head of Kinga but her glancing header travelled just wide.
Fishlock’s ability to work hard defensively and win the ball back in the opposition’s half was outstanding, as was the battle between the two Matildas wing-backs in Steph Catley and Ellie Carpenter.
Much like the first-half, City started the second period the better of the two sides. Dobson came agonisingly close to giving City the lead when her shot was tremendously saved by Kopmeyer following a gut-busting run from the winger.
Thorsnes recklessly fouled Fishlock in the 56th minute, but the Welsh international responded in the 62nd minute when she blasted a shot goalbound after her delightful nutmeg on Sayer.
Two minutes later, Simon went close to breaking the deadlock for City. Luik found Kinga on the edge of the area before the midfielder played a delightful chip into Simon whose glancing volley drifted wide.
In her first appearance for the season, Aivi Luik’s composure was telling as she anchored the midfield in front of the ever-reliable combination of Lauren Barnes and Kennedy.
With 15 minutes remaining Kisnorbo’s side were the more dominant of the two, but much like the week previous they were failing to capitalise on their opportunities. Simon, Fishlock and Kinga were clear standouts throughout the afternoon as the catalysts for City’s attacking play.
City’s dominance eventually prevailed in the 80th minute when Fishlock’s left-footed strike beat Kopmeyer at the near post. Kinga picked up the ball on the edge of the box before delightfully playing Fishlock into the box with a perfectly placed diagonal ball.
Second-half substitute Grace Maher sent a vicious strike goal bound with three minutes of regulation time remaining but Williams comfortably controlled the ball and secured all three points for the home side.
Westfield W-League Round 7
Sunday, 10 December 2017
Melbourne City FC 2
Canberra United 1
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Melbourne City FC: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS (GK), 2. Yukari KINGA, 3. Lauren BARNES, 4. Ashley HATCH, 6. Aivi LUIK, 7. Steph CATLEY, 10. Jess FISHLOCK, 11. Rhali DOBSON (9.Larissa CRUMMER 75’), 13. Rebkeah STOTT, 14. Alanna KENNEDY, 17. Kyah SIMON (17. Amy JACKSON 90+3’)
Substitutes not used: 23. Melissa HUDSON, 19. Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC
Head Coach: Patrick KISNORBO
Canberra United: 1. Hayley KOPMEYER (GK), 3 Clare HUNT, 4. Toni PRESSLEY, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ (10. Grace MAHER 55’), 11. Elise THORSNES, 16. Karly ROESTBAKKEN, 17. Madelyn WHITTALL, 20. Amy SAYER (19. Aiofe COLVILL 67’), 21. Ellie CARPENTER, 23. Michelle HEYMAN, 34. Laura BASSETT
Substitutes: 30. Georgia BORIC (GK), 18. Taren KING
Head Coach: Heather GARRIOCK