Melbourne Victory 2-4 Brisbane Roar
By Kieran Yap (2/1/22)
Above: Brisbane Roar celebrate Katrina Gorry’s goal that brought them level after being 2-0 down. Photo: A-League Women
Chaos and quality defined the game as Melbourne Victory hosted Brisbane Roar.
Brisbane arrived at AAMI Park in search of their first win of the season and sitting only above Wellington Phoenix on the table. Victory was humbled by a 5-1 loss to Melbourne City and fans expected a response.
The hosts took the lead before they had a shot on goal. Jessie Rasschaert was guilty of an awful back pass that was too hard, too high, and too wide of rookie keeper Mia Bailey. It sailed into the net on the fifth minute to make for a difficult start for The Roar.
Brisbane created the clearest chances. Katrina Gorry started and was involved at every opportunity in midfield. Larissa Crummer would have been disappointed not to score when she was played through only to be thwarted by Maizals in the Victory goal.
Melbourne extended their lead through Lynn Williams in another contentious moment. Amy Jackson’s corner kick swung in and bounced around off heads and shoulders before crossing the line by a microscopic margin.
Nevin knocked it over just to be safe but the goal was credited to the American striker. Victory held the lead into half-time but would have felt lucky to be two in front.
The champions were less than full strength as they have been all season. Alex Chidiac and Casey Dumont were missing and Melina Ayres has still yet to feature as she nurses a hamstring injury.
Amy Jackson started as a centre-back and the first half looked to be a much more settled Melbourne Victory compared to the previous week.
They defended slightly deeper in preparation for the threat posed by the pace of Crummer and Shea Connors and for the first half it worked.
The second half began with Victory in the ascendancy but although their midfield was combining well, clear chances were hard to come by. Despite their early errors and sometimes rushed passing. Brisbane’s defence contained Williams, Catherine Zimmerman, and Lia Privitelli.
The most dangerous-looking Roar player was Katrina Gorry who is getting back to her best. Her brilliant first touch had never deserted her but as the season has gone on she has been able to be more involved more often.
In a sign of the times, Brisbane could only name a bench of four players. Gorry, who had previously been restricted to a half of football or slightly more would be needed for as close to a full shift as possible.
Gorry’s was the driving force behind Brisbane’s first goal. She hit a long-range shot that dipped and bounced in front of Maizels. The Victory keeper could not keep hold of the ball and when it bounced from her grasp Crummer was on hand to finish easily.
The game changed in the second half as Victory’s midfield was removed. Kyra Cooney-Cross saw red for a sliding tackle on Crummer. The reaction of the stadium and the players suggested that a yellow card was expected.
When Alanna Murphy was substituted, Victory were without one of their best performers so far. The new recruit is still just 15 years old, however, and a full 90-minute game may be something she is building towards.
Gorry took advantage of the added space in midfield to score a contender for goal of the season. She scores these goals fairly routinely, but they are still impossible to get used to. 30 yards out with the game on the line is the perfect situation for Brisbane’s number 10. She lined up and struck it beautifully. Maizels could only watch the ball fly over her head and under the crossbar. It is the sort of goal that Gorry is known for and few others can provide.
At 2-2, both teams kept trying for the win. But as Melbourne surged forward to restore their lead Brisbane hit them on the counter-attack. Ayesha Norrie clipped a ball over the top for Nathalie Tathem to square for Shea Connors.
Brisbane’s American striker stayed composed and scored in the 90th minute to take the lead. It was her third goal in as many games. Connors is on an increasingly strong run of form and when she gets close to goal she gets results.
The result was sealed when Norrie scored a late fourth for the visitors. The ball was played to her on the edge of the area by Crummer and the Brisbane captain fired her shot into the net. It was a worthy end to another great game by Norrie.
The first three games of the season saw Brisbane falter at the end of matches after strong starts.
This week they started horribly but ended with the win in a much-preferred reversal of fortunes.
Victory are without a win in two matches. They will lose Kyra Cooney-Cross for at least one week and perhaps longer if she is called into the Matildas squad as expected.
Could this be the beginning of a Roar resurgence? They have an in-form forward in Connors and a midfield with quality and depth. In every match so far they have struggled to stay composed in defence but in Round Five, they got better as the match wore on.
This win had been a few weeks coming and they celebrated accordingly after the match.
For the home side, a troubled season just got more difficult.
Teams: MELBOURNE VICTORY (4-1-4-1): Maizels, Nevin, Jackson, Bunge, Doran, Murphy, Williams, Barbieri, Cooney-Cross, Privitelli, Zimmerman. Substitutes: Iermano, Markovski, Robers, Varley (GK), Withers.
Scorers: Rasschaert (OG) 6′, Williams 26′.
BRISBANE ROAR (4-1-4-1): Bailey, Rankin, Haffenden, Rasschaert, Margraf, Norrie, Connors, Hecher, Gorry, McDougall, Crummer. Substitutes: Clough, Kitano, Tathem, Worth (GK).
Scorers: Crummer 59′, Gorry 86′, Connors 90′, Norrie 90+6′.
Referee: Isabella Blaess.