Melbourne City continued an unbeaten start to the 2023/24 A-League Women’s season with a draw against Western United on Sunday.
Goals to Holly McNamara and Hannah Wilkinson looked to have been enough before the hosts struck late to ensure the points would be shared.
Head Coach, Dario Vidosic, stuck with an unchanged XI from his team’s win over Canberra prior to the international break.
Leah Davidson was named on the bench for the first time this season after overcoming a foot injury that has sidelined her since the end of last season.
Starting XI: 44. Lysianne PROULX (GK), 8. Kaitlyn TORPEY, 5. Taylor OTTO, 13. Rebekah STOTT (C), 7. Julia GROSSO, 14. Laura HUGHES, 6. Leticia MCKENNA, 10. Rhianna POLLICINA, 24. Daniela GALIC, 9. Holly MCNAMARA, 17. Hannah WILKINSON.
Substitutes: 23. Melissa BARBIERI (GK), 3. Naomi CHINNAMA, 18. Leah DAVIDSON, 19. Tijan MCKENNA, 20. Caitlin KARIC.
Western began strongly finding the back of the net just six minutes in when Hannah Keane was able to capitalise on a City defensive mixup.
It was all City from there as we controlled the possession, finishing the first half with 74% of the ball.
Unfortunately, this didn’t translate to goals though as we struggled to break down a Western defence who were sitting deep.
Holly McNamara went on a nice run into the box down the left-hand side in the 20th minute but saw her shot blocked and the ball spill out for a corner as City continued to mount pressure.
Rhianna Pollicina had our best chance of the half just a minute later after pouncing on the follow-up when the Western keeper parried Kaitlyn Torpey’s cross away, but the midfielder’s effort was just kept out.
After causing plenty of trouble for the Western defence in the first half, McNamara stepped it up another notch in the second.
She had City back on level terms just four minutes in with a wonder strike from outside the box to make it a goal apiece.
The possession was all City’s with Lysianne Proulx not having too much to do in goal as Rebekah Stott was in fine form and able to mop up any of Western’s rare attacks.
A 74th-minute corner almost saw City come undone after a couple of deflections in the box, but substitute Caitlin Karic got back to the goal line to clear the danger.
McNamara continued her strong outing a minute later and went on a strong run down the left before finding Hannah Wilkinson in the box for the simplest of tap-ins.
The lead would last little over 10 minutes though, as Western young gun Lani Johnson unleashed a powerful strike from well outside the box to once again get the contest back on level terms.
Stott pulled off a great block in stoppage time to ensure the hosts wouldn’t steal all three points and despite City hunting desperately for a winner, the final whistle would ultimately sound with the scoreboard still reading 2-2.
City will return to AAMI Park next Sunday to host Western Sydney Wanderers in the second leg of what is shaping up to be a big doubleheader. Click here to get your tickets!