Roar Success Dents City’s Top Spot Hopes

Melbourne City 0-1 Brisbane Roar

Photo: Post match celebrations or Brisbane Roar. Photo: Brisbane Roar.

by Kris Goman (24/2/22)

Brisbane Roar made the trip south to spoil the party for Melbourne City and in front of a vocal Roar Supporters group, made up mostly of players’ families, they achieved that aim and redeemed a bit of pride.

With Brisbane coming off an 8-2 thrashing at the hands of Adelaide United, no one held much hope of the Premier contenders, Melbourne City not winning easily and capturing top place on the ladder. Just a win and three points would see them leapfrog Sydney who have held the top position the whole season.

For most, it was a fait accompli. City had just beaten Sydney last week. The only team in the comp to have done so this season. Brisbane only had two wins the whole season and were beaten convincingly in their last outing. But things are never so straightforward in the Dub. And one key factor is the absence of a couple of key players for City with Rebekah Stott and Hannah Wilkinson playing for New Zealand in the She Believes Cup and Holly McNamara out with an ACL injury.

Melbourne start strong and get an early free kick on the left not far from the byline. Rhianna Pollicina curled it into goal but it was cleared by Roar defence successfully.

Then things change and Roar get a bit more possession and start to make some damaging runs. There’s a series of Roar players caught offside before Larissa Crummer has the first shot on goal for Brisbane at 15 minutes in. It’s the first on-target shot for anyone.

TJ Vlajnic sends left-footed shot to the centre of the goal from a corner and Jamilla Rankin heads it away and out for another corner. Taken from the other side, Pollicina directs it to the near post but it’s straight into the side netting.

Katrina Gorry sends in a cross after a short run which results in a corner, only to see it headed away in front of goal by Tori Tumuth.

At 26 minutes into the match, Roar get a throw in that goes long to Shea Connors and she twists, chests it down and takes it towards the box, and shoots. Mariel Hecher gets a toe to it flicking it over Melissa Barbieri’s hands. Bubs releases an expletive, letting everyone know how she feels and it’s repeated on every replay of the goal. Brisbane are ecstatic and celebrate appropriately. They take the lead 1-0.

Above: Brisbane Roar showing their joy against Melbourne City. Photo: Brisbane Roar.

City ambitiously go for goal from the kick-off but Shuttleworth catches it and launches another attack that sees Crummer get tripped up just into the box. No penalty but City are rattled and Roar and invigorated. Will they spoil it for City?

Gorry has a little run around on the right before passing back to Natalie Tathem but Connors is offside.

Kaitlyn Torpey takes a long-range shot and Shuttleworth dives to save it towards the bottom right corner.

Roar get another serious attempt when a short corner is sent in and bounces around but Connors deflects it away from goal instead of into the open goal. Barbieri comes out to grab it just as Connors is trying to kick the ball in and cops a knee to the chest. She’s hurt and arguing with the ref that she had the ball in her hands. A good three minutes of injury time is accounted for here.

Gorry intercepts the resulting goal kick and takes a long-range shot but it’s out to the left.

Connors launches another attack down the left and shoots but it hits the side netting.

Back down the other end and Isabella Shuttleworth, who hasn’t been that busy, has her pass is intercepted by Caitlin Karic but she loses her footing. Pollicina tries to take over but then dives and it’s cleared.

Leah Davidson gets a little run through the centre and shoots but it hits Karic who then takes control and shoots but it skims the crossbar.

A Gorry free kick goes into the box and is cleared before Tatham lobs a high one that goes out.

Above: Shea Connors looks to get away with possession with team-mate Jamilla Rankin looking on. Photo: Brisbane Roar.

They hit the change rooms with Brisbane in the lead 1-0.

Before she leaves the field, Hecher says they are happy and that she thought they’d be struggling. She thought they needed to be more compact and that the game was a bit scrappy but they are happy with the lead. She said they had nothing to lose and no chance to make the finals but want the winning points and are doing it for pride.

During halftime, Caitlin Karic comes off for Chelsea Blissett to go on.

In City’s closest chance of the match, Torpey creates a good run down the right to produce a corner. Vlajnic’s flag kick is directed to Meisha Westland. Her shot bounces up to hit the underside of the crossbar, then was kicked back in to hit the post. Shuttleworth grabs it amidst shouts for a goal but it didn’t cross the line.

Hecher sends Crummer off down the field and Crummer is in a one on one with Barbieri but she shoots straight into her arms. It was a genuine squandered chance to go up 2-0.

Davidson gets a yellow for a foul on Gorry as she gets nutmegged. Gorry takes the free-kick and it goes to the far post but Barbieri has it then drops it and gathers again.

Roar send a nice through ball that Connors runs on to but Barbieri gets there first and scoops it up.

Up the other end and Torpey centres and Vlajnic pops it up and does a half bicycle kick but it’s caught safely by Shuttleworth.

Despite having 60% possession, City just aren’t making the same decisive runs that Roar are. They also are not connecting in the final third.

Barbieri comes right up near to the halfway line and Checker, who’s also pushed forward, has a shot from the top of the box but she’s hooked it slightly and it flies out to the left of the post. There’s a sustained press by City as they get desperate to equalize at the very least.

Above: Fast-paced action from Brisbane Roar’s win at Melbourne City today. Photo: Brisbane Roar.

We’re into stoppage time and City need to win which means two goals in five minutes and they are getting increasingly desperate. Brisbane are just sending long balls out to clear rather than attacking.

Pollicina is shown a yellow for a foul. Checker gets it on the left and shoots another big ball from the top of the box and hits the cross bar beating Shuttleworth.

Torpey has a final run on the left but on transition, Gorry runs down the right and Barbieri comes right out and appears to handle the ball on two occasions outside the box but only gets a yellow. Gorry to take kick. She slides it to Norrie at the corner to waste time and then whistle goes.

Incredibly, Brisbane hold a clean sheet and win and it means Sydney stay top of the table. It’s a big come back from 8-2 loss the previous match. Bizarre.

In the post-match interview Gorry said that Brisbane had been working hard and had some disappointing losses so wanted to ruin a few people’s finals.

Torpey acknowledged that Brisbane fought for the win. It was disappointing. If we won, we would have been top but will keep fighting.

Garrath McPherson said he was proud of Bella Shuttleworth in goal. It was exceptional to keep a clean sheet.

Teams: MELBOURNE CITY: Barbieri, Torpey, Tumuth, Checker, Heatley, Vlajnic, Westland, Davidson, McKenna, Pollicina, Karic. Substitutes: James (GK), Blissett, Chinnama, Malone, Van der Meer.

BRISBANE ROAR: Shuttleworth, Rankin, Norrie, Hecher, Crummer, Gorry, Tathem, Connors, Haffenden, Palmer, Clough. Substitutes: Margraf, Rasschaert, Stamatopoulos, Kitano, Symes.

Scorer: Hecher 26′.

Referee: Kelly Jones.

Attendance: 857.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

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