Melbourne City relinquish grip on premiership plate

-

Melbourne City’s shock 1-0 loss to Brisbane Roar means they are now relying on Sydney FC to slip up to claw back any hope of winning the premiership plate.

Just days after their monumental win over Sydney, things went south very quickly for the two-time A-League Women’s premiers.

City are now two points behind Sydney, having played the same number of games, meaning even if they win both of their remaining matches it may not be enough to secure the top spot.

City became premiership favourites for the first time this season after beating Sydney 2-1 on Sunday.

Embed from Getty Images

That result has been effectively nullified by the defeat to Brisbane on Thursday night.

Add to that the generally deflated mood around the club following Holly McNamara’s season-ending ACL injury, and things appear to be quite suddenly falling apart for City.

Nonetheless, head coach Rado Vidosic was remaining upbeat.

Whilst acknowledging the challenges facing his squad, Vidosic was not focused on the premiers’ plate in his post-match press conference.

“We spoke about regret throughout this week,” he said.

“We just wanted to work our butts off so that we did not have any regrets at the end of the match. I think we have done that. We do not have any regrets.”

Embed from Getty Images

Vidosic’s circumspect approach was likely a product of the extremely challenging situation City found themselves in ahead of the match regarding player availability.

Hannah Wilkinson and Rebekah Stott are still away with New Zealand on international duty, whilst McNamara’s injury meant City were forced to play without any of, arguably, their three most important players for the first time this season.

“We knew we were going to be a bit short up front,” Vidosic said.

“We did not have the recognised strikers that we have had throughout the season.”

Embed from Getty Images

Instead, 16-year-old Caitlin Karic started up front for City alongside Rhianna Pollicina and Leticia McKenna.

Karic clearly worked hard but has not yet developed the match fitness to play a full ALW game, and so was withdrawn at half-time.

Whilst City’s missing strikers were a glaring weakness, Stott’s continued absence in midfield appeared to be particularly damaging as City struggled to create chances.

Vidosic, though, was focused on the lack of striking options up top.

“It is much easier when you have players like Holly [McNamara] and Wilkie [Hannah Wilkinson],” he said.

“They can control the ball so that other players can come and support.

“Unfortunately, we did not have that tonight.”

Embed from Getty Images

City’s coach clearly feels that the likes of McNamara and Wilkinson do not only benefit the team with their goal-threat, but through their ability to anchor the team’s build-up play, thereby alleviating the midfield of full responsibility to generate chances.

Vidosic was complimentary of Brisbane and in particular star midfielder Katrina Gorry for her quality.

“She [Gorry] is a world class player and unfortunately we did not have anyone at that level tonight,” Vidosic said.

City appear to be maintaining a well-rounded view on the circumstances they are facing.

Vidosic did not downplay the significance of the players he was missing and adjusted his expectations accordingly.

Rather than focusing on winning the league, Vidosic was content to wait for the final prize of the season.

“We are still going to make the top four and we are still going to be in the finals,” he said.

“That was our goal all the way.”

Embed from Getty Images

Whilst City clearly have plenty to play for in the coming weeks, Brisbane are out of the race for finals and are simply playing for pride.

Roar coach Garrath McPherson was still intent on his side winning all three of their remaining games.

“We said before today’s match that we have four games left to play. That is a third of our season,” he said.

“That is 12 points which would get us to 19 points – just shy of what we were targeting this season.

“We want every one of those points.”

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne City FC

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Oscar Rutherford
Sports tragic studying Law/Arts at Monash University. Second-best paid Oscar working in football who has been to China.

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required