Melbourne City FC has kept their slim finals hopes alive with a 2-0 win over Sydney FC at WIN Stadium on Thursday night.
Helen Caceres opened the scoring, notching her first goal in City blue in the 67th minute, before Tameka Butt doubled City’s lead with a composed finish following Theresa Nielsen’s brilliant run.
City now play the waiting game after drawing level on points with Perth Glory, who remain ahead on goal difference.
Head Coach Rado Vidosic’ made one change to the starting XI that defeated Newcastle Jets 4-0 a fortnight ago, with American import Hailie Mace named to make her starting debut in City blue.
Mace moved into the number nine position, as Jasmyne Spencer moved to the wing and Rhali Dobson to the bench.
In difficult conditions in Wollongong, City came out of the blocks determined to secure a finals place.
After of flurry of half chances in the opening eight minutes falling to the visitors, City shot-stopper Lydia Williams was called into action in the ninth minute against the run of play, producing a brilliant save to deny Princess Ibini from close range.
Three-minutes later City had a golden chance to open the scoring when Tameka Butt was fouled inside the area, after latching onto Elise Kellond-Knight’s intelligent short free-kick. Japanese import Yukari Kinga stepped up to take the penalty after a slight delay in play, but put her shot wide of the goal, much to the home fans delight.
On the 20th minute mark City continued to press, as defender Rebekah Stott went inches away from opening the scoring. Stott met Kellond-Knight’s corner with a perfectly timed half-volley, only to be denied by a desperate clearance off the goal line.
10 minutes later, captain Steph Catley beat two Sydney defenders before unleashing a fierce cross, which fizzed past three oncoming City attackers.
With one minute of time to play in the first-half, City attacked again through Stott. The central defender toyed with the Sky Blues defence, before firing an effort that sailed just over the crossbar.
Much-like the first-half, City were again on the front foot as the whistle blew to kick-off the second period.
After a range of missed opportunities, perseverance paid off as Helen Caceres turned in Yukari Kinga’s cross to make it 1-0 – her first goal for the Club.
In the 81st minute, goalkeeper Lydia Williams was again called into action, pulling off an incredible save to deny Huerta’s attempted equaliser. Her save seemed to spur her teammates, with Tameka Butt securing the three points with a composed finish with four minutes to play. Teresa Nielsen produced a scintillating run from right-back, before skipping past a couple of Sydney defenders and laying it off to the attacker who made no mistake.