Melbourne City has shown just how much can happen in a week by turning a six-goal loss into an emphatic 3-2 win.
A change in on-field personnel gave City the spark it lacked last week with Matilda Alex Chidiac starting and scoring for the first time in her new colours.
The 22-year-old led the charge alongside Rhali Dobson, who returned to the starting line-up, while the likes of Chinatsu Kira and Jenna McCormick also impressed in a dominant opening half.
Naturally, City came out of the blocks hard – rattling the Victory with a highly physical and intense style of play in far better conditions when compared to the scorching heat in the last meeting.
The visitors were rewarded for their persistence with a two-goal cushion– with Victory’s Claudia Bunge turning in Kira’s delivery to add to City’s lead – before the Victory onslaught began.
Goalkeeper Tegan Micah was called into the action several times as the Victory got going late in the opening half. The 23-year-old made a big save to deny Melina Ayres minutes after City’s second goal, before tipping a long-ranged Mindy Barbieri set-piece over the top of the goal.
Though the Victory were not going to be kept out for much longer.
Requiring a spark, Barbieri lit the flame with a powerful free-kick from just outside the area into the top-right corner in the 47th minute before Zimmerman equalised by smashing the ball into the back of the net at the near post just four minutes later.
But with redemption on their mind and pride to play for, this would be City’s day.
With stoppage time approaching, Harriet Withers found herself on the end of a defence splitting ball from Chidiac to slot home the winner in the 87th minute – a fitting occasion for her debut goal.
The Victory would have a chance late to steal a point when Catherine Zimmerman’s volley from a cross into the box flew over the crossbar in the dying stages.
The win is City’s first for the new season with Rado Vidosic hopeful this intense brand will continue.
‘’Today we competed…there wasn’t a great deal of difference and we have everything we had. Hopefully this is the way we’re going to play from now on and because there is a lack of ‘big name’s’ we can compensate with our effort,’’ he said.
‘’We are judged on our performances and this was a much better performance than last week.’’
The occasion was, however, soured towards the end of the match when several Victory fans, situated behind the City goal, threw bottles onto the ground.
The incident caused a stoppage in play with Victory captain Angela Beard seen walking over to calm the fans while officials and security dealt the issue.
‘’Apparently they were throwing I think it was a bottle of Heineken. I don’t think this is appropriate for the W-League, we love supporters but this was not necessary,’’ Vidosic said.
‘’Come here support the team and that’s brilliant, but to throw things at the goalkeeper, who is a Matilda, is not the right way of dealing with the situation.’’
Victory boss Jeff Hopkins echoed this sentiment when he addressed the situation post-match.
‘’It’s not a good thing and definitely not what we want to see. It’s something we’ll deal with it as a club,’’ he said.
‘’It’s fantastic we get fans here coming across both A-League and W-League but there’s a fine line and we shouldn’t cross that. In general the support has been great and we’ve enjoyed that but when there’s things being thrown that’s unacceptable.’’
City travels to Adelaide in its next match while the Victory is scheduled to meet Brisbane Roar, with that match most likely to be played on Friday.
Featured Image – Melbourne City FC