Ayres earns her starting position

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Melina Ayres was the difference for Melbourne Victory as she scored a double, contributing to her team’s 3-0 win against Canberra United.

Ayres, who had not scored a goal this season for Victory, secured her double in the 31st and 38th minute proving her inclusion in the starting XI to be warranted.

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Her first goal was set up from a cross from Darian Jenkins, with Ayres making no mistake with the finish, whilst the second came from a pass from Natasha Dowie inside the area.

Victory coach Jeff Hopkins said Ayres trained well throughout the week and earned her position to start.

“She was excellent…and just everything that you want from a player that has been sort of left out for a few games, but she rolls her sleeves up, works hard and shows you that she wants to play,” Hopkins said.

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“I was really pleased for her because she comes into the side and whenever she comes in, she gives 100 per cent.

“She works hard, she’s worked really hard on the defensive side of her game and that might come at a little bit of a cost to the attacking side of her game and it’s good to see her get goals because she’s a goal scorer.”

Hopkins said he saw Ayres as a natural goal scorer for his team and was happy she had a positive influence on the game, especially for her first start back.

“Her and Tash [Dowie] are the two natural goal scorers in our team and it’s good to see her just being nice and positive and getting a reward for it as well,” he said.

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“So [I am] really pleased with the effort she put in and she gave everything she had and then we took her off when she got a little bit tired towards the end.”

The 20-year-old only scored one goal in the 2018/19 W-League season and two in 2017/18.

In the two seasons she spent at Melbourne City, she scored only one goal in each also.

Her two goals show signs she deserves to keep her spot in the starting line-up and could finish the season with her most goals scores.

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It relieved some pressure off of captain Dowie who has scored six goals for the season, including the one against United to extend the lead to 3-0.

Victory have secured four wins in a row pushing them up to fourth on the ladder.

A combination of Ayres and Dowie could be what Victory needs to continue their form.

Only time will tell.

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne Victory WWL

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Tricia Mifsud
Covering Melbourne Victory during the 2019/2020 season. Bachelor of Media and Communications (Sports Journalism) at Latrobe University. Dedicated to writing articles that sports fans want to read.