Melbourne City FC has secured its third successive win with a 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers at ANZ Stadium on New Year’s Day.
Georgia Yeoman-Dale opened the scoring for the hosts in the 14th minute with an effort from range, before Tameka Butt hit back with a perfectly timed chip in the 38th minute.
Second-half substitute Adriana Jones secured the win, rounding the keeper and finishing truly in the 81st minute - her first goal in City blue.
City now face a short turnaround before taking on Melbourne Victory in this season’s second Melbourne Derby on Saturday 5 January at Epping Stadium, before returning to AAMI Park to host Brisbane Roar on Friday 11 January.
After being named in City’s initial starting XI, Kyah Simon was a late withdrawal, being replaced in the starting line-up by Helen Caceres. Experienced defensive midfielder Amy Jackson was named on the bench.
In hot conditions at ANZ Stadium, City looked determined to kickstart the New Year with the three-points. From the onset, Head Coach Rado Vidosic’s side looked to press the Wanderers defence and force an error in the opposition’s defensive half.
Captain Steph Catley looked threatening from the get-go, as City looked to utilise the left-wing when penetrating forwards. Late inclusion Helen Caceres was involved early, as she looked to find Yukari Kinga who made an intelligent run into the box, only to be denied by a desperate Wanderers defence.
Despite City’s early dominance, it was the home side who struck first. Leena Khamis did brilliantly in the centre of the park before playing through Georgia Yeoman-Dale, who dinked the ball over Lydia Williams’ head from 20 yards.
City looked to respond immediately through Rhali Dobson, although the winger’s effort from inside the area was blocked brilliantly by Miramontez.
As the half progressed, both sides wrestled to gain the ascendency, with chances opening up at both ends.
In gruelling conditions, Vidosic’s side continued to push and were rewarded for their efforts seven-minutes from half-time. A shallow Wanderers clearance fell to Tameka Butt on the edge of the area, who turned LaBonta brilliantly, before producing a neat chip to level the scores.
Much-like the first-half, City had a series of early chances to open the second period. The first of those was a low drive from Butt which drifted just wide, before Jasmyne Spencer combined brilliantly with Yukari Kinga before putting the ball in the back of the net, only to be called back for offside.
Second-half substitute Adriana Jones looked to make an immediate impact off the bench, latching onto Theresa Nielsen’s cross with a glancing header which drifted just wide in the 72nd minute. Moments later, Butt played through Dobson, who looked to chip the keeper, only for her effort to fall wide.
City continued to press and were again rewarded for their dominance. Jones and Dobson were again involved, as the latter’s brilliant flick found Jones, who rounded the keeper and finished truly from close range – securing the points for the reigning champions.
City will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to five matches when they take on Melbourne Victory at Epping Stadium on Saturday 5 January, kick-off 4:00pm, before they return to AAMI Park to host Brisbane Roar on Friday 11 January, kick-off 5:20pm. Get your tickets here.