Melbourne City FC continued its perfect start to the Westfield W-League season with a 3-0 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon.
Jess Fishlock netted a second-half double either side of Steph Catley's neat finish to secure all three points for Joe Montemurro's side, in-front of an energetic crowd of 1,943 who flocked to AAMI Park for the the Club's first double header this season.
It was a hard-fought Melbourne Derby contest right up until Fishlock's opener, as local rivals Victory battled valiantly and worked tirelessly to keep a rampant City outfit goalless for the first hour.
But in the end City’s class shone through, as Montemurro’s side demonstrated their polish to maintain a perfect record in the W-League and extend an impressive winning streak to 17 matches.
City stamped its authority on the contest right from the first whistle and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, but both sides had chances to open the scoring during a lively opening period.
It took a superb save from City goalkeeper Lydia Williams to prevent Natasha Dowie from firing Victory into the lead after just five minutes, with the Matildas stopper plunging to her right to beat a stinging drive out of the bottom corner.
Fishlock had her first sight on goal for the afternoon moments later, unleashing a blistering strike which had the ‘keeper beaten but narrowly whizzed past the post.
City began to up the ante at this point in search of the goal which would break Victory’s resistance. Teigen Allen linked up on the right with Steph Catley, who played a neat one-two with Fishlock before firing in a shot straight at Bianca Henninger.
Henninger was the busier of the two goalkeepers, first holding onto an effort from Laura Alleway before racing out smartly to smother the ball ahead of the onrushing Melina Ayres.
MelindaJ Barbieri then tested Williams with a curling shot after cutting inside from the left, while at the other end Ayres might have done better with a header that just cleared the top of the crossbar.
While the chances continued to flow for City, the elusive goal finally arrived in the 64th minute when Fishlock coasted in between the Victory defence to nip Marianna Tabain’s cross past Henninger to open the scoring.
It was the goal which eased the pressure and instigated a scintillating 10 minute blitz as Catley put the game beyond reach with a well-taken second goal.
Another well-weighted ball from Tabain found its way to the captain inside the penalty area, who took a touch, took her time and curled the ball over replacement goalkeeper Bethany Mason-Jones to double City’s lead.
Fishlock put the icing on the cake only moments later, playing a neat one two with Ayres before coolly chipping her finish over Mason-Jones to stretch the lead to three goals.
Player of the Match
Steph Catley demonstrated her versatility with a superb performance in a more advanced position on the right hand side. The captain was at the heart of nearly every City attack, bursting up and down the right wing and troubling the Victory defence with her directness and speed.
Catley proved she is no slouch in-front of goal either, showing her composure with a well-taken goal to effectively put the contest out of Victory’s reach.
It was another impressive performance from the Matildas star, who is getting better and better each week as she continues her return to full fitness.
City will travel up north in Round 5 to face Brisbane Roar at A.J Kelly Field on Sunday 4 December, before returning home for a blockbuster clash against Canberra United at CB Smith Reserve.
Westfield W-League – Round 4
Melbourne City FC 3 (Jess FISHLOCK 64’, 76’, Steph CATLEY 75’)
Melbourne Victory 0
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Melbourne City FC: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS (GK,), 2. Teigen ALLEN, 5. Laura ALLEWAY, 6. Aivi LUIK, 7. Steph CATLEY (C), 10. Jess FISHLOCK, 11. Erika TYMRAK (18. Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI 83’), 13. Rebekah STOTT, 15. Amy JACKSON, 17. Marianna TABAIN (19. Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC 86’)
Substitutes not used: 30. Kelsey QUINN (GK), 12. Olivia ELLIS
Head Coach: Joseph MONTEMURRO
Melbourne Victory: 1. Bianca HENNINGER (GK) (20. Bethany MASON-JONES (GK) 70’), 2. Alexandra NATOLI, 3 Alexandra CHEAL, 6. Annabel MARTIN, 7. Lia PRIVITELLI, 8. Ayesha NORRIE (13. Laura SPIRANOVIC 65’), 9. Natasha DOWIE, 10. Christine NAIRN, 11. Melindaj BARBIERI (19. Rachel ALONSO 81’), 15. Adriana TARANTO, 16. Samantha JOHNSON
Substitutes not used: 17. Gulcan KOCA
Head Coach: Jeff HOPKINS