Melbourne Victory 5-2 Newcastle Jets
by Kieran Yap (19/12/22)
Above: Melbourne Victory celebrate another strike from Kayla Morrison. Photo: Melbourne Victory.
Melbourne Victory won their third game in a row in an entertaining and incident-filled match at AAMI Park.
Victory named an unchanged lineup from their win over Perth Glory. While Newcastle brought Claire Coelho into goal to replace Georgina Worth.
The home side’s form has steadily improved over the last few weeks. After struggling to get a shot on target in the first two rounds, their attack has started to click. It took only minutes to hit the scoreboard against The Jets.
Alana Murphy was clipped at the edge of the penalty box by Leia Puxty. It was not a deliberate foul, but a mistimed clearance. Nevertheless, Murphy got to the ball first and the referee pointed to the spot in the fifth minute.
Melina Ayres made no mistake with the finish. It was the third consecutive match where the number 14 opened the scoring.
Ayres had her second almost instantly. Victory launched a brilliant end-to-end move starting with Jessika Nash and Murphy. The ball was played backward to Kayla Morrison, who’s pass split the press and found Alex Chidiac near the halfway line.
From there, it was Chidiac, to Lia Privitelli, and then back to the Matildas playmaker. The final ball to Ayres was only outdone by the touch that rounded Coelho before she prodded it into the net.
It was the best piece of play Victory had displayed all season. A training ground move that trusted the individual abilities of each play to excel.
Kayla Morrison soon added a third. Murphy’s corner kick was dropped onto the head of the Victory skipper, and the captain powered the ball into the next with a textbook header from close range.
In a team featuring Chidiac, Beattie Goad, and Elise Kellond-Knight it is indicative of Murphy’s standing in the team that she was on set piece duty. The 17-year-old is a quality prospect and Victory’s increase in form has coincided with her inclusion in the starting lineup.
Morrison was once again unmarked for her second and Victory’s fourth. Goad’s free-kick drifted beyond the pack of players and Morrison slid in at the far post to complete the scoring for the half.
Newcastle struck back in the second half. With Victory goalkeeper Casey Dumont removed with concussion, Miranda Templeman was given her first minutes as an A-League Women player.
The Jets looked to test the highly rated youngster and Sarah Griffith’s long-range rocket was merciless in its power and timing.
With Griffith getting on the ball more regularly, Newcastle looked more dangerous. Her run helped set up The Jets second. Another shot from outside of the box bounced off two defenders. It fell to Ash Brodigan who slammed home the goal on the half-volley.
Despite being two goals ahead, and having introduced new signing Rikke Madsen onto the wing, Victory looked to be tiring against the high-intensity Jets.
The comeback was extinguished in the closing minutes with Morrison’s hattrick. It was another close-range finish from a corner, this time from Chidiac’s delivery.
The ball was spilled by Coelho, and Morrison scrambled it home. Some confusion followed with both players lashing out at each other. Both players received yellow cards but the goal stood. It sealed the game as a contest, and Victory were the 5-2 winners at the final whistle.
It was another honourable loss for the entertaining Jets, and although neutrals love to watch them, that will be little consolation for a side capable of some exciting and high-quality football.
The Jets have a chance to get their second win of the season when they face Brisbane Roar on Friday night. The sides are similarly matched and each have speedy, tricky attackers.
Victory have a break over Christmas. Their next game is on New Year’s Eve at home to Canberra United.
Teams: MELBOURNE VICTORY (4-3-3): Dumont, Nash, Bunge, Morrison, Simon, Murphy, Kellond-Knight, Chidiac, Privitelli, Ayres, Goad. Substitutes: Zois, Markovski, Eliadis, Madsen, Templeman.
Scorers: Ayres 6’ (PEN), 8’. Morrison 19’, 25’, 87’.
NEWCASTLE JETS (4-3-3): Coelho, Puxty, King, Garnier, Clough, Johnson, Davis, Agnew, Allan, Brodigan, Griffith. Substitutes: Worth, Andrews, Stapleford, Allen, Konjarski
Scorers: Griffith 59’ Brodigan 73’
Referee: Casey Reibelt