Melbourne City 0-6 Melbourne Victory
By Kieran Yap
Under a beaming summer sun and in front of a vocal and ecstatic crowd, Melbourne Victory delivered a football lesson to Melbourne City and sent out a warning to the rest of the league. After a stuttering and at time frustrating opening game, they look to have hit their stride.
The navy blue fans had plenty to cheer in the first half, they started aggressively, snapping into tackles and pressing their opposition at every opportunity. It was almost undone after a sequence of errors presented City striker Harriet Withers with an open goal, but her shot under pressure from 16 yards bobbled wide.
Despite this scare, Victory had the best of the opening exchanges and on 15 minutes they made it one-nil, the busy and tireless De Vanna received the ball from Zimmerman and threaded a perfect pass into the path of Annalie Longo, the New Zealand playmaker did not have to break stride and was able to side foot it past Micah in the City goal with a well placed first time shot.
De Vanna remained a constant threat and combined with Cooney-Cross to flash a cross just out the reach of Zimmerman in the middle and minutes later tried to lob Micah after another City turnover but hit her shot high and wide.
The second goal eventually came after Angie Beard intercepted a pass into the City midfield. The Victory captain fed De Vanna out wide and continued her run to receive the return ball hitting a shot from close range that Micah did well to save. Unfortunately for City she could not hold the ball, Melina Ayres was on the spot to tap home the rebound and she wheeled away to celebrate with the fans behind the goal.
Harriet Withers was the most dangerous player for Melbourne City, she provided them with an attacking focal point not obvious in previous games and although City had trouble maintaining possession her tenacity, pace and willingness to shoot meant that Victory could not lose focus at the back.
She provided City’s best clear chance in the first half after running onto a long ball on the right wing, driving with purpose into the box and cutting the ball back to Japanese International Kira. The shot was well saved by Garton when a goal looked certain and after some short-lived panic, Victory managed to clear.
The half ended after two more chances for Victory, Kyra Cooney-Cross and De Vanna linked up to send a dangerous ball into the box towards Zimmerman and Ayres but again Micah was well positioned to deny them. In the dying minutes before the break, De Vanna tackled and flicked a pass to the unopposed Ayres who perhaps had too much time to think about the shot and in the end hit it over the bar.
The second half continued much the same as the first, the introduction of Rhali Dobson injected more pace up front for City but they struggled to maintain possession or create from midfield despite working hard to chase and press. Victory had no such problems and on the 60th minute Melina Ayres nearly doubled her tally after receiving a Cooney-Cross pass on the edge of the box and firing against the frame.
The returning Matilda, Alex Chidiac made an almost immediate impact after coming on for City, surging in familiar style towards goal before being bundled over by De Vanna, the resulting set piece ended in a spectacular point blank Garton save from Withers after McCormick headed across goal.
City looked to have some momentum finally after that moment and Dobson came close to scoring with a long run along the left flank and shot that flashed wide of the near post, but their momentary ascendancy was killed off in spectacular fashion.
Lisa De Vanna had the ball played out to her on the right wing, with the defender racing to reach her she let it run past both of them with a delightful step over and surged toward goal. With only Tory Tumeth ahead of her she sped past the young defender and fired across Micah into the far corner. It was vintage De Vanna and a spectacular goal, the calm finish capped off a run that began deep in her own half. After some near misses in the first game, she had hit full stride to punish City.
This goal opened the floodgates with midfieler Amy Jackson exchanging passes with Ayres to glide through the defense almost unopposed and make it 4-0. It was a great run and finish but Micah was left stranded by overwhelmed and fatigued defenders.
Victory had no intention of slowing down even in conditions that required drink-breaks every 15 minutes and as added time ticked over, Catherine Zimmerman scored her first W-League goal, emphatically blasting home into an open goal after a perfect Barbieri cross found her at the far post.
Spectators could be forgiven for thinking it was all over at 5-0 but Victory had one more goal left in them, Kyra Cooney-Cross ran onto a chipped Tiffany Eliadis pass and accelerated past her marker to finish well to make it 6-0 to Melbourne Victory.
Six goals, from six scorers, all coming from different styles of attacks, Jeff Hopkins would have been pleased to see six different scorers and an attacking third of the pitch working in perfect harmony. The substitutes had an impact and Angela Beard continued her form from their first game with an excellent performance at left back.
City again showed glimpses and a fully match-fit Alex Chidiac will help link the midfield and the attack but today they were a long way off Victory who looked fluid, inventive and clinical in comparison. City will get a chance for redemption in six days, it will be an engaging encounter but one set of fans will be more excited than the other.
Teams: MELBOURNE CITY: Micah, Johnson, Tumeth, McCormick, Allen, Vlajnic, Cain, Davidson, Withers, Palmer, Kira. Substitutes: Melissa Barbieri (GK), Sardo, Chidiac, Robinne, Dobson.
MELBOURNE VICTORY: Garton, Doran, Beard, Morrison, Bunge, Jackson, Zimmerman, Longo, Cooney-Cross, De Vanna, Ayres. Substitutes: Maizels (GK), Mindy Barbieri, Martineau, Privitelli, Eliadis.
Scorers: Longo 15, Ayres 29, De Vanna 72, Jackson 80, Zimmerman 90, Cooney-Cross 90 + 2.
Referee: Lachlan Keevers.
Westfield W League Table Round Three:
|Canberra United||3||2||1||0||7||5||7||+ 2|
|Sydney FC||2||2||0||0||5||1||6||+ 4|
|Melbourne Victory||2||1||1||0||6||0||4||+ 6|
|Western Sydney Wanderers||2||1||0||1||2||4||3||– 2|
|Melbourne City||3||0||1||2||1||8||1||– 7|
|Perth Glory||1||0||0||1||0||1||0||– 1|
|Newcastle Jets||2||0||0||2||2||4||0||– 2|