Brisbane Roar 0-0 Melbourne City
By Ben Gilby
Brisbane Roar totally dominated defending champions Melbourne City in the season opener at Dolphin Stadium, but a combination of below par finishing and some outstanding saves by City keeper Teagan Micah ensured that it was a frustrating afternoon for the Queensland side.
Roar were absolutely rampant from start to finish and, apart from a brief Melbourne City improvement towards the end of the middle quarter of the game, the home side dominated territory and possession to an extent that was embarrassing for the Sky Blues.
Within the first two minutes, Australian international Emily Gielnik was causing problems down the right as just one example of the Roar’s real hunger to take the game to City.
Seconds later Winonah Heatley put Gielnik in again and her curled effort towards the back post found fellow Matilda Tameka Yallop. Her effort cannoned down off of the cross bar and out.
Before the fifth minute mark Gielnik again weaved her magic to get past Tyla-Jay Vlajinic and play a ball in to Mariel Hecher whose effort was narrowly wide.
Hecher came agonizingly close again on the quarter-hour mark when she combined with Gielnik on the right of the hour. The dominant Roar striker found Isobel Dalton who in turn laid it off to Hecher who saw her effort come back off the post.
Brisbane continued to dominate possession but could not make it count on the scoreboard.
Six minutes before the break, the team in orange created another golden opportunity. Heatley played in Yallop who was in acres of space but frustratingly, she took one touch too many which resulted in her having to cross rather than shoot. Yet that cross created chaos in the City penalty area despite Teagan Micah managing to get a hand to it. First Leticia McKenna and then Hecher had efforts but City escaped.
There was time for two more chances for Roar before the break. Gielnik’s rampaging down the right caused yet more carnage. She found McKenna who was clear through only to be denied by a sensational block by the legs of Micah.
Right on half time, there was an incredible miss from Yallop. Dalton got free down the left and crossed. City defender Tori Tumeth completely misjudged the bounce and allowed Tameka Yallop, in the six yard box to get an effort away, but such was the midfielder’s surprise at getting the chance, she scooped her effort over the bar.
The second half was equally one way traffic. Within four minutes of the re-start, after claims of a penalty for a potential foul on Yallop were waved away, Emily Gielnik put a follow-up effort wide from the right.
Gielnik’s outstanding performance continued with another great run which ended with a pass in to Mariel Hecher. Her exquisite lay-off into the path of Leticia McKenna who was only denied by yet another superb stop by Teagan Micah. To add to Brisbane’s frustration, Katrina Gorry’s eventual follow-up then came crashing off of the top of the bar.
Two more opportunities came and went for the home side. First, Hecher found Yallop. Her deflected shot needed yet another world class save from Micah to prevent it hitting the net. Then, in stoppage time Dalton’s effort from the edge of the area was comfortably stopped by the City goalkeeper.
Despite their inability to transfer total dominance into goals, this performance by Brisbane Roar against the reigning champions is one which confirms their status as the team to beat in the W League this season.
As for Melbourne City, their inability to create anything in the attacking third means the jury is out on their chance of retaining the title. For now.
Teams: BRISBANE ROAR: Worth, Heatley, Rankin, Polkinghorne, Carroll, Dalton, Hecher, Gorry, Gielnik, Yallop, McKenna. Substitutes: Aquino (GK), Murphy, Horsey, Freier, Sutton.
MELBOURNE CITY: Micah, Johnson, Tumeth, McCormick, Davidson, Vlajnic, Allen, Cain, Dobson, Palmer, Robinne. Substitutes: Barbieri (GK), Sardo, Thomas-Chinnama, Muldeary, Withers.
Referee: Rebecca Durcau.