Western Sydney Wanderers 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Report by Ben Gilby. Exclusive pitchside photos by Kris Goman (16/1/22)
Above: Tussle for possession on the by-line in the game between Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Victory. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.
A single goal from the penalty spot settled a disappointing game played in temperatures that topped 33c in Parramatta.
Melbourne Victory were dominant from the start with Francesca Iermano popping up on the left making a particularly prominent start along with the hugely influential Alex Chidiac. Options out wide were giving the visitors plenty of opportunities against a Wanderers side who struggled to get out of their own half for the opening quarter of an hour.
On one of those rare offensive sorties from the home side, Erica Halloway earned the first corner of the game after Lia Privitelli put her ball-in out of play. The set-piece was met by Clare Hunt’s header which went wide of the far post.
Victory responded four minutes later as Catherine Zimmerman got free along the right and played in a tempting low ball across the box but no-one in a white shirt was able to get on the end of it.
Western Sydney’s Caitlin Cooper got a shot on target which was a comfortable hold for Casey Dumont.
With half an hour gone, Halloway got through down the right once more and cut back towards Bryleeh Henry, but Zimmerman got back to put in a superb tackle at the cost of a corner. Hunt got up highest once more, and again put it wide of the same far post.
Chances remained at a premium with each side. Indeed there were only three opportunities in the opening 25 minutes of the second period.
Two minutes in, Hunt gave a free-kick away just outside the box. Victory’s Mindy Barbieri stepped up left of centre, just over 20 yards out, but the 21-year-old never quite got power into her effort and the ball bounced harmlessly wide.
Halloway, who continued her eye-catching performance, put another dangerous low ball in from the right towards Henry, but Claudia Bunge slid in ahead and almost scored an own goal in putting the ball out for a corner
With an hour gone, it was Victory’s turn to go close. Chidiac was given space on the right-hand side which allowed her to hit a long-range stunner that came off the left-hand post with Wanderers keeper Sarah Langman as an on-looker.
As the clock ticked towards 73 minutes, the goal that the game was desperately crying out for finally came.
Iermano’s cross into the box from the right-hand side clearly came off the arm of Western Sydney’s Rosie Galea. Referee Rachael Mitchenson awarded a corner, which drew a wry smile from the Wanderers player to reveal her guilt. Whilst Mitchenson missed an obvious offence, her assistant Amber Morris did not and eventually advised her colleague that a penalty was required. 20-year-old forward Maja Markovski stepped up and dispatched her effort cooly into the top left-hand corner.
There was no further scoring which led to Victory finally ending their disappointing run with a vital win.
Kris Goman’s EXCLUSIVE photo gallery from CommBank Stadium:
Teams: WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS: Langman, Apostolakis, Hunt, Cooper, Matos, Copus-Brown, Crofts, Price, Halloway, Henry, Gallagher. Substitutes: Whitton (GK), Collister, Galea, Steinmetz, Allan.
MELBOURNE VICTORY: Dumont, Doran, Bunge, Jackson, Iermano, Barbieri, Chidiac, Murphy, Privitelli, Markovski, Zimmerman. Substitutes: Varley (GK), Eliadis, Robers, Zois.
Scorer: Markovski (pen) 73′.
Referee: Rachel Mitchenson.