Melbourne City have one hand on the W-League Premiership after defeating Melbourne Victory 4-0 at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Goals from Emily van Egmond, Kyah Simon, and two from Clare Emslie meant City equaled the biggest-ever Melbourne Derby win, and Victory’s worst-ever margin of defeat in the W-League.

With Sydney FC vanquishing Western Sydney Wanderers 3-0 on Saturday evening, City need only to avoid defeat against the Wanderers on February 20th to claim their first premiership since their debut season in 2015-16.

van Egmond, fresh from starring in the Matildas’ Olympic qualification campaign, had two early opportunities to open the scoring inside the opening two minutes. The first, she side-footed straight at Victory goalkeeper Casey Dumont after latching on to a Claire Emslie knockdown. A minute later she opted for power from a Steph Catley cut-back, but could only find side netting.

City had another opportunity to open the scoring after 17 minutes, when Aivi Luik won a free kick 25 yards from goal, but van Egmond’s clipped effort sailed harmlessly wide.

Emslie had City’s clearest opening to date in the 20th minute as van Egmond slid her through one-on-one with Dumont, but the Victory custodian came off her line in a flash to smother the shot.

Regaining possession immediately outside the box, however, City’s intricate passing combinations finally bore fruit, as captain Catley drifted infield from left wing-back to tee up van Egmond on the edge of the box, who had time to line up her sights before unleashing a laser-guided howitzer into the top right corner.

City continued to pile on the pressure, and could have easily had a second goal through Kyah Simon, who volleyed over the crossbar after the Victory defence could only clear a van Egmond cross skywards.

Emslie finally doubled City’s lead in the 31st minute as she beat Victory’s offside trap racing onto an Ellie Carpenter pass down the right flank. Beyond the last defender, she ran straight at goal, rounding a prone Dumont, keeping her balance and finding the back of the unguarded net with her left foot.

There seemed to be no stopping the City Blue onslaught, with Emslie very nearly capping a breathtaking team move in fitting fashion, but lashed her half volley skywards from the corner of the six-yard box.

With Victory temporarily reduced to ten players due to Darian Jenkins’ injury, City should have put the final nail in the coffin, but Emslie could not turn an awkward thigh-high cross from Carpenter into a gaping net at the back post, and the first half finished 2-0.

Less than a minute passed after the restart before City was in again, a hospital backpass from Jenna McCormick gifting the chance to van Egmond, but Dumont was lightning-quick off her line again to smother the danger.

Dumont could do little, however, in the 50th minute, as Catley teed up Clare Emslie for a one-on-one. The keeper saved her initial effort, but the rebound dropped kindly for the Scottish striker, who calmly side-footed home for City’s third on the day, and her third of the season.

The goalkeeper had perhaps been Victory’s top performer on a disappointing afternoon, but was at fault for City’s fourth goal. Yukari Kinga’s pinpoint pass found Catley down the left side of the box, and the Matilda’s driven cross squeezed straight through Dumont’s legs, presenting Kyah Simon with the simplest of tap-ins.

Emslie had the chance to wrap up her hat trick in the 69th minute when substitute Alexandra Watt found her at the near post, but Dumont managed to push her shot around the post.

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Josh Parish
josh@footballnationradio.com.au