W-League | Sublime second half for City wins derby

A second half brace from Jess Fishlock helped Melbourne City to a deserved 3-0 victory over a lackluster Melbourne Victory.

A tightly contested first half opened up in the second to favour the home side in the W-League’s Melbourne Derby. City were more solid in defence and also capitalised on open space efficiently with player of the match Stephanie Catley integral to their victory.

The game’s first opportunity came for Melbourne Victory in the third minute when Christine Nairn fed Natasha Dowie but her shot was saved by a diving Lydia Williams.

Melbourne City’s first chance was created by the ultimate match winner – Fishlock – who pounced on a defensive Victory slip-up and her powerful shot from outside the box sailed just wide.

It was an enthralling start to the W-League Melbourne Derby as there were multiple outstanding goal-saving tackles from both teams – Melindaj Barbieri for Victory and Rebekah Stott for City.

City’s second big chance came in the 18th minute – Stephanie Catley weaved through the Victory defence at will , before she cut onto her left foot, but her shot was straight at Victory ‘keeper Bianca Henninger.

A wonderful Erika Tymrak cross found Melina Ayres in the 33rd minute and it should have been 1-0 to City, but her header went well over the crossbar.

Victory pair Nairn and Dowie were causing City headaches as they continued to thrive off each other at the front. The away side’s biggest first half chance came in the 38th minute as the duo combined again, however, Dowie’s first touch was too heavy and City ‘keeper Williams pounced, grasping the ball in her gloves.

An enthralling first half concluded 0-0 as both teams failed to capitalise on the multiple opportunities presented.

The second half began slowly, with both teams taking a few minutes to regain their composure.

A lobbed through ball from Marianna Tabain in the 64th minute split the Victory defence in two and forced ‘keeper Henninger to attack the ball, but the through ball pinpointed Fishlock and her clever first touch gave City the lead.

City’s lead was almost doubled a minute later as Fishlock had a chance to score her second, but her header flew just wide.

The home side were dominating now, creating chances via the flanks and centre of the pitch; Tymrak, Fishlock and Catley were the facilitators.

It was that lady, Catley, who extended City’s lead to 2-0 in the 74th minute. A lovely Marianna Tabain cross fed Catley, who was left unmarked in the box, her first touch effortless as she beautifully curled the ball into the back of the net.

Victory’s defence was lacking the pressure and intensity needed to hold the home side at bay. This was evident as City made it 3-0 in the 77th minute; a brilliant chip from Ayres fed Fishlock, before she finished beautifully by chipping the Victory ‘keeper.

Fishlock looked unstoppable and her second half almost became even better as the Melbourne City star went close to scoring her hat-trick. She found space in the penalty area however a mistimed header went wide.

A 3-0 win in the Melbourne Derby was the final result, made possible by three second half goals from Melbourne City; a deserved victory.

Melbourne City 3 (Fishlock 64’ 77’, Catley 74’)
Melbourne Victory 0

Stadium: AAMI Park
Crowd: 1,943

Referee: Katie Patterson
Assistant Referees: Danielle Anderson & Laura Moya
Fourth Official: Oliver Bannister

Melbourne City: 1. WILLIAMS Lydia (GK), 2. ALLEN Teigen, 5. ALLEWAY Laura, 6. LUIK Aivi, 7. CATLEY Stephanie (C), 10. FISHLOCK Jessica, 11. TYMRAK Erika (18. GALABADAARACHCHI Jacynta 83’), 13. STOTT Rebekah, 14. AYRES Melina, 15. JACKSON Amy, 17. TABAIN Marianna (19. VLAJNIC Tyla Jay 87’)
Substitutes: 12. ELLIS Olivia, 18. GALABADAARACHCHI Jacynta, 19. VLAJNIC Tyla Jay, 30. QUINN Kelsey (GK)

Melbourne Victory: 1. HENNINGER Bianca (GK) (20. MASON-JONES, Bethany 69’), 2. NATOLI Alexandra, 3. CHEAL Alexandra, 6. MARTIN Annabel, 7. PRIVATELLI Lia, 8. NORRIE Ayesha (13. SPIRANOVIC Laura 65’), 9. DOWIE Natasha, 10. NAIRN Christine (C), 11. BARBIERI Melindaj (19. ALONSO Rachel 80’), 15. TARANTO Adriana, 16. JOHNSON Samantha
Substitutes: 13. SPIRANOVIC Laura, 17. KOCA Gulcan, 19. ALONSO Rachel, 20. MASON-JONES Bethany (GK)

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A-Grade football fan, C-grade player