Melbourne City FC has recorded it’s first win of the Westfield W-League season, defeating Melbourne Victory 3-2 at Epping Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
It was a Melbourne Derby that had everything and was an incredible turnaround after City last week suffered its heaviest ever defeat to its cross-town rival.
Alex Chidiac opened scoring in the 22nd minute before a Victory own goal had City well placed, 0-2 in front at half time. Two quick goals to Victory early in the second half had things back on level terms before Harriet Withers’ scored the late winner with her first W-League goal.
Rado Vidosic made two changes to his starting line-up from last weeks derby. After playing half an hour off the bench in her return to City last Sunday, Alex Chidiac was named in midfield while Rhali Dobson also returning to the starting XI.
Captain Emma Checker was named amongst the substitutes for the first time this season with Jenna McCormick in the arm band from the opening whistle.
It was a back and forth start with both teams looking to get on the front foot and take control of the game early.
It was a bit of a change in playing style from City who lined up with Rhali Dobson and Harriet Withers on the wings and Chinatsu Kira up top.
This change seemed to play dividends with Dobson looking well at home on the left wing and causing problems for the Victory defence.
It was the best half of the seeing for Rado Vidosic’s squad as it looked dangerous going forward but also solid in defence led by Matildas Jenna McCormick at centre back and Teagan Micah in goal.
Grace Ayres looked to threaten this defence in the 13th minute but was shut down by a strong McCormick challenge which was potentially goal-saving.
Kira was involved in everything for City and dribbled through the Victory defence to find Chidiac for the opener.
The newly returned midfielder made no mistake with the finish, taking a couple of touches inside the box before finding the back of the net with her left boot.
Just minutes later City’s advantage was doubled and it was again Kira causing trouble for defenders.
She was found on the right by Leah Davidson before swinging in a cross which Victory defender Claudia Bunge turned into her own net.
Fired up after conceding two goals in quick succession, Victory came out with a point to prove straight from kick off with Angela Beard finding space on the edge of the box before Micah reacted quickly and got down low to her right to save.
Micah was called into action again a couple of times towards the end of the first half, most notably from a Kyah Cooney-Cross free kick which she did well to tip over the bar to ensure City entered half time with a two goal lead.
The start of the second half couldn’t have possibly been any different from the first half with Victory doing all the attacking as City were slow to wake up.
It took just six minutes for City’s 0-2 half time lead to go up in smoke as a Mindy Barbieri free kick and a Catherine Zimmerman rocket had Victory quickly back on level terms.
City’s defence continued to be put under pressure and it could’ve easily found itself behind if not for a few key Micah saves.
City Captain Emma Checker appeared for the first time of the season in the 66th minute and was quickly marshalling the defence with McCormick subbed off not long after following a knock.
Both teams pushed hard for a winner and the moment came for City in the 86th minute.
After putting in a solid shift just over a week after coming out of quarantine, Chidiac cut through the Victory midfield and found Withers in space on the left.
The 25-year-old took a touch and was composed with her finish across the keeper for what was her first Westfield W-League goal.
The final moments were marred by fans behind Micah’s goal throwing bottles onto the field but nonetheless, it was a massive win for City as it looks to get on a roll and build some momentum as we reach the middle of the season.
City will look to make it two in a row when it travels to Adelaide to take on the Reds on Thursday night at Marden Sports Complex. This fixture will be live on both Fox Sports and Kayo as well as the My Football Live app and will kick off at 7.05.