Melbourne City get off to dream start with narrow win against Canberra United

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Melbourne City have started their season in the best possible way, collecting a 1-0 away win against Canberra United in the A-League Women on Friday night.

With chances being hard to come by early, it was Canberra who had the first opportunity of note with the returning Ash Sykes finding a few inches of room in a crowded penalty area in the 11th minute.

She was never able to quite get the ball under control, sending an attempted volley into the stands.

Small opportunities arose for each team in the next 20 minutes without anything truly testing either of the goalkeepers. A Michelle Heyman shot that again fired over was the best of the lot.

Throughout the first 30 minutes Melbourne struggled to find much space with Canberra dominating the midfield battle leading to the more clear-cut chances

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Heyman nearly got the breakthrough in the 40th minute as Canberra hit on the counter yet again. She ended up heading a Lauren Keir cross just wide as the first half drew to an end with the scores locked at 0-0.

It was Melbourne who started to put the pressure on the home side early in the second as keeper Kayley Richards was forced to make two key saves in as many minutes.

It was City striker Hannah Wilkinson who was twice denied, first from a one-on-one, then from an outside-of-the-box effort in the 54th and 55th minute respectively.

Just four minutes later she was called upon yet again, this time saving a shot from Rebekah Stott as City continued to pile on the pressure.

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Wilkinson continued to make space down the right-hand side, forcing Richards to step up again to palm the ball over the bar in the 64th minute.

Canberra did get their chance to break the deadlock in the 73rd minute with Grace Maher finding space after some smooth footwork from Margot Robbine. Yet again it was easy work for City keeper Melissa Barbieri as Maher hit her driven shot directly at her.

City finally got their deserved goal with Holly McNamara slotting a long-range effort into the top corner in the 79th minute to beat Richards.

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Despite one final chance in stoppage time for Canberra coming off the head of Alexia Karrys-Stahl, the home side could ultimately not mount a comeback with the match ending 1-0.

Canberra now travel to Adelaide next weekend as they look to get their first three points of the season, whilst Melbourne City are instead at home for a derby against Mlebourne Victory on Sunday afternoon.

Canberra United 0

Melbourne City 1 (McNamara 80′)

Stadium: Viking Park, Wanniassa

Referee: Georgia Ghirardello
Assistant Referees: Lauren Hargrave and Delfina Dimoski
Fourth Official: Isabella Blaess

Canberra United: Keeley RICHARDS (GK), Emma ILIJOSKI, Lauren KEIR, Ally HARAN, Grace MAHER, Chelsee WASHINGTON, Laura HUGHES, Chloe MIDDLETON (Karly ROESTBAKKEN 63rd), Ashleigh SYKES (Alexia KARRYS-STAHL 85th), Michelle HEYMAN (C) (Holly CASPERS 73rd), Margot ROBINNE (Hayley TAYLOR-YOUNG 73rd)

Unused sub: Beth MASON-JONES (GK)

Melbourne City: Melissa BARBIERI (GK), Winonah HEATLEY, Emma CHECKER (c), Naomi THOMAS-CHINNAMA (Tori TUMETH 81st), Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC, Rebekah STOTT (Meisha WESTLAND 60th), Leah DAVIDSON (Darcey MALONE 82nd), Kaitlyn TORPEY, Rhianna POLLICINA (Leticia MCKENNA 66th), Hannah WILKINSON, Holly MCNAMARA

Unused Sub: Coco MAJSTOROVIC (GK)

Feature Image Credit: David Jordan

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William Makepeace
Current Intern covering Canberra United. Sports Media student at University of Canberra who lives and breathes Football

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