Melbourne City 1-0 Newcastle Jets
By Kieran Yap.
Just three full days after their last game, Melbourne City faced the travelling Newcastle Jets and were eager to bounce back after their defeat to Western Sydney Wanderers.
City hadn’t won in the league since January and restored Rhali Dobson to the starting line-up, Newcastle were fresh off their 4-0 demolition of Perth Glory and looking to continue that momentum in the final stages of the season.
Both sides looked to attack early but it was Melbourne who had the first clear chance of the game, a near post corner found Jenna McCormick unmarked but her header, while connecting cleanly was directed wide of the post. Almost right away from the next play, Tara Andrew looked to have scored for Newcastle but the goal was disallowed for an offside call that looked unclear but elicited no protest from the Jets players.
Dobson’s impact was noticeable early, her movement and pace opens up spaces for her teammates and she linked up with Chidiac to send the playmaker into the 18-yard box where a sliding Hannah Brewer blocked her cross solidly.
Newcastle’s best chance of the first half was when centre forward Tara Andrews ran onto a bouncing ball and looked certain to trouble Barbieri in goal. She connected cleanly on the half volley but McCormick had read the danger and threw herself in front of the shot like an 80’s action movie star. It was a desperate and well-timed challenge at personal risk to herself in a side playing only for pride and was magnificent defending.
Chinatsu Kira was dangerous in City’s attack, nearly finishing after a cross from Dobson and then stretching agonizingly close to a Tori Tumeth ball, whipped in from the right. Third time was a charm for the Japanese International when she finished another Tumeth inspired move and this time turned it in spectacularly.
When the cross came in to the back post, could she have controlled it? Sure, could she have headed it? Probably, could she have leapt in the air, contorted her body and scored with a mid-flight back heel? Apparently yes. It was an incredible goal, amazing in its invention and execution and a brilliant way to open her account in the W-League. As the teams departed for half time, City were in the unfamiliar position of being 1-0 up
And that’s the way it stayed, Newcastle had the majority of second half possession and attacked at every opportunity but looked short of ideas, the Melbourne defence, with 16 year old Naomi Chinnama-Thomas at the heart of a back five was impressively solid and even after McCormick departed due to a slight injury, they looked rarely troubled.
City tended to play more on the counter attack as the game wore on, Chidiac’s bursting runs from deep central positions troubled Newcastle and after a one-two with Dobson she was unlucky not to score. Dobson also had a chance to double the lead when Claire Coelho parried a Vlajnic shot but Dobson was unable to score from the rebound.
Chidiac is a different player when she is able to get on the ball in the midfield, she has the ability to run, beat players and spot passes ahead of her and another trademark surge set up Kira whose shot was well saved by Coelho at the near post.
Newcastle still had weapons though and never gave up trying to find the equalizer. Gema Simon whipped in a late free kick toward Andrews, the club leading scorer was able to get her head to the ball but Emma Checker did just enough to put her off and the home side were able to run down the clock for the final few minutes.
It was Melbourne City’s first win since January after suffering their longest run of games without scoring. it was a deserved, hard fought win and they were unlucky not to score one more.
Newcastle perhaps unusually for them, struggled to create many chances either through the wide areas or the normally inventive Rhianna Pollicina, still their effort did not drop and they stayed in the contest until the end.
This was a game between two sides out of finals contention, yet judging by the commitment from both sides this could have been a final, after years of dominance it is a weird feeling being happy for the City players getting a win but they deserved to celebrate and will hope to replicate that feeling next week against Perth.
Teams: MELBOURNE CITY: Barbieri, Checker, Thomas-Chinnama, McCormick, Tumeth, Vlajnic, Davidson, Hoelsbrekken-Eckhoff, Kira, Chidiac, Dobson. Substitutes: Johnson, Cain, Muldeary, Robinne.
Scorer: Kira 42.
NEWCASTLE JETS: Coelho, Tamplin, Simon, King, Brewer, Pollicina, O’Brien, Davis, Andrews, Allan, Franco. Substitutes: Simonsen (GK), Bass, Jaber, Petratos, Harding.
Referee: Isabella Libri.
|Western Sydney Wanderers||11||4||1||6||12||18||13||-6|
Top four sides qualify for the finals at the end of the regular season.
Impetus’ coverage of Australian Women’s Football is supported by The Chicken Salt Co. They are offering every Impetus reader 5% off all orders of Chicken Salt from their website. Go to https://www.chickensalt.co.uk/?mate=impetus and place your order – 5% will automatically be taken off of the cost. The coupon code is impetus.