Melbourne City will enter the A-League Women’s November-December international break on top of the table after an impressive 3-2 win away to Sydney FC on Sunday.
It was a blistering first half for City netting all three goals ahead of the break, before two Sydney FC goals either side of a 40-minute delay due to lightning ensured it would be a tight finish.
City took to the field for the first time following a season-ending injury to the in-form Holly McNamara, with Head Coach Dario Vidosic making two changes in an attempt to replace the winger.
Naomi Chinnama made her first start of the season while Leticia McKenna was also recalled to the line-up as Hannah Wilkinson moved to the bench.
Starting XI: 44. Lysianne PROULX (GK), 8. Kaitlyn TORPEY, 3. Naomi CHINNAMA, 13. Rebekah STOTT (C), 5. Taylor OTTO, 7. Julia GROSSO, 14. Laura HUGHES, 6. Leticia McKENNA, 24. Daniela GALIC, 11. Emina EKIC, 10. Rhianna POLLICINA.
Substitutes: 23. Melissa BARBIERI (GK), 2. Leia VARLEY, 17. Hannah WILKINSON, 18. Leah DAVIDSON, 19. Tijan McKENNA.
Sydney FC came out the better of the two teams from the opening whistle, but it wasn’t long before City was able to gain some momentum.
McNamara’s injury saw a change of system with fullbacks Kaitlyn Torpey and Julia Grosso now looking to get higher up the pitch and it paid off in a big way in the 23rd minute.
Rhianna Pollicina – who was playing a more advanced role herself – played a dangerous ball into the box which took a slight deflection on the way to finding Grosso’s well-timed run, before the American found the bottom right corner with an instinctive finish on the swivel.
City continued to heap the pressure on with Leticia McKenna forcing a finger-tip save on the half-hour mark before a moment of magic from the subsequent corner doubled our advantage.
Expertly using the heavy breeze, Emina Ekic’s left-footed corner found the back of the net directly for a beautiful ‘olympico’ goal.
10 minutes later it was Pollicina looking to get in on the action, first forcing a great save out of Jada Whyman before her effort on goal early in stoppage time was cleared off the line.
Thankfully for City though, the clearance went directly to Daniela Galic who took a touch to get onto her preferred foot and slammed home her second goal in as many weeks.
Former City defender Tori Tumeth fired off a warning shot in the first minute of the second half but Lysianne Proulx was up to the challenge, quickly down to her left to make the save.
Proulx was again called into action a couple of minutes later, this time making an acrobatic save to deny Shae Connors and preserve the 3-0 scoreline.
Both sides would trade chances as Ekic (directly from a corner again) and Laura Hughes both went close for City, before an unfortunate double deflection got the hosts back into the game at 3-1 in the 74th minute.
Lightning in the area saw the game postponed not long later but then just minutes after the eventual resumption, another deflected Sydney goal all of a sudden had City fans on the edge of their seats with little over 10 minutes to play.
Vidosic’s side was up to the challenge though and defended strongly throughout the final moments, ensuring the three points would be coming back to Melbourne.
Following the international break, City will return to the pitch to host Perth Glory on Saturday 9 December. Stay tuned for ticketing details in the coming days.