Wellington Phoenix 1-4 Melbourne City
by Ryan Miller-Woods (20/11/22)
Above: Melbourne City celebrate at Sky Stadium earlier today. Photo: Melbourne City.
In their opening match of the A-League Women season, Melbourne City was victorious against Wellington Phoenix in front of a record crowd attendance for a home and away A-League Women’s match in Wellington after a convincing performance.
Whilst City had the greater opportunities in the first half, Phoenix made distinctive claims as well.
The pressure early on was made by Melbourne City, but the Phoenix were able to have an answer to the City attack relatively without any significant danger.
The first major attempt by Wellington was made by Ava Pritchard in the 12th minute from outside the box with a shot that went safely into the arms of City goalkeeper Sally James.
As the game approached the half hour mark, Wellington were seen more from an offensive perspective, but City were stubborn at the back.
The visitors had a great opportunity to open the scoring in the 37th minute when Emina Ekic was found in the box, and made a great turn, but her shot agonisingly hit the post.
Brianna Edwards for Wellington made a great save from a one-one situation in the 41st minute via a cross from Daniela Galic which was then controlled and shot at by Ekic that was then covered off and cleared by the Wellington defence.
Within three minutes of the re-start, Cote Rojas began to unleash her magic wand. She crossed the ball into the box and at the near-post, an open Bryleeh Henry slotted first-time into the back of the net.
Not long after that, City was able to double their lead thanks to a pass made by Rhianna Pollicina towards Rojas in the box who then turned, timed her shot, and directed the ball past Edwards into the goal in the 50th minute. It was Rojas at her best.
Controversy reigned in the 53rd minute as Pollicina crossed into the box with the ball appearing to have gone over the line before Wellington’s Edwards had saved it, but in the moment it then was spilled out towards Rojas who put it in but was deemed offside. The officials then deliberated on whether the initial cross made by Pollicina went over the line and after a little bit of time, it was decided that Edwards did enough to keep the ball out and deny the goal.
In the 65th minute, Wellington’s Zoe McMeeken made contact with City’s Rojas who had made a run into the box with the ball at her feet and went down in the box from the contact made, and the visitors were awarded a penalty as a result of it. Pollicina then stepped up to score despite Edwards who got a hand to it.
Within four minutes, Pollicina was on target for City again as Galic passed the ball into the box for Pollicina, who then turned and curled her shot past Edwards that went into the bottom-left corner.
The home side, roared on by an atmospheric crowd, ended the game on top, and with 82 minutes played, the ball was guided into the box from a corner. City keeper James that got directly parried which led to an almighty scramble that ended with Pritchard, who slightly missed the ball initially before seeing her second attempt deflect off the visitors’ Kaitlin Torpey and in.
Five minutes into stoppage time, Phoenix were unlucky not to add to their tally as, Lancaster, who had made a great run, saw her shot hit the post.
Teams: WELLINGTON PHOENIX (4-2-3-1): Edwards, Van der Meer, Barry, Taylor, McMeeken, Knott, Whinham, Hassett, Foster, Pritchard, Satchell. Substitutes: Candy, Vosper, Cicco, Lancaster, Clegg
Scorers: Torpey (og) 82’.
MELBOURNE CITY (3-4-2-1): James, Torpey, Chinnama, Bowen, Grosso, Davidson, Pollicina, Galic, Henry, Ekic, Rojas. Substitutes: Barbieri, Accardo, Blissett, Malone, McKenna
Scorers: Henry ‘48’, Rojas 50’, Pollicina 65’, 69’.
Referee: Anna-Marie Keighley.