Melbourne City 1-0 Western Sydney Wanderers
by Ryan Miller-Woods (21/1/23)
Above: Hannah Wilkinson looks to round diving Western Sydney Wanderers goalkeeper Sham Khamis. Photo: Keep Up.
Melbourne City are back on the winner’s list with a close 1-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers at Casey Fields.
The only goal of the match was scored by New Zealand international Hannah Wilkinson who has now hit the back of the net in consecutive matches. It also ended Western Sydney’s four-match unbeaten streak in the A-League Women.
Wilkinson was a menace from the earliest stages. Within five minutes, she jumped on a back pass made by Western Sydney Wanderers’ Lauren Keir but goalkeeper Sham Khamis was able to block the effort with Danika Matos clearing the ball away from the box.
City continued to press, and with 14 minutes gone, hit the front. A corner by Rhianna Pollicina found the head of Kaitlin Torpey which deflected off the back of a defender, sending the ball up into the air. Khamis was able to get a touch on it but it directly went towards Wilkinson who didn’t really need to exert any energy at all as she headed the ball into the back for the opening goal of the match.
Wanderers responded. Sophie Harding intercepted the ball from Katie Bowen and advanced before seeing her shot being brilliantly saved by Melissa Barbieri.
Western Sydney wasn’t out of the match by any means and Harding created another great opportunity just before the break as she slotted a great through ball to Sarina Bolden who advanced and fire a shot that Barbieri repelled for a corner.
Chances were fewer in the second period. The visitors had an opportunity just after the hour mark as a link-up between Torpey and Pollicina led to the latter getting away a shot at goal from outside the box that went just going too high.
Western Sydney could have levelled with eight minutes remaining as Malia Steinmetz’s through ball found Danika Matos whose shot at goal in the box was comfortably saved by Barbieri.
Two minutes later, City came agonisingly close to scoring a second goal thanks to Leticia McKenna whose through ball found Wilkinson who then ran onto it with her shot on an angle in the box just went wide of the goal.
Bryleeh Henry had the final opportunity to confirm City’s win as Wilkinson went down the right-hand side, then crossed the ball to Pollicina who laid the ball off to the former Wanderers star, but her shot from the edge of the box went over the bar.
Teams: MELBOURNE CITY (3-4-3): Barbieri, Torpey, Chinnama, Checker, Roestbakken, Bowen, Davidson, Pollicina, Grosso, Galic, Wilkinson. Substitutes: Hrehoresin, Blissett, Henry, Malone, McKenna.
Scorers: Wilkinson 14’.
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS (4-1-2-1-2): Khamis, Matos, Keir, Hunt, Apostolakis, Caceres, Harrison, Gordon, Chessari, Bolden, Harding. Substitutes: Hristodoulou, Price, Rue, Steinmetz, Morrissey.
Referee: Bec Mackie.