Melbourne City suffered its second defeat of the season, going down 1-0 to Western Sydney Wanderers in Unite Round on Sunday evening.
Despite their loss to the in-form Wanderers, City maintain top spot on the A-League Women’s ladder.
Dario Vidosic made one change to starting XI, with Emina Ekic replacing Naomi Chinnama. Ekic’s inclusion saw Kaitlyn Torpey move back to right fullback.
Chinnama moved to the bench, alongside Melissa Barbieri, Leah Davidson, Bryleeh Henry and Karly Roestbakken.
Starting XI: 44. Lysianne PROULX (GK), 13. Rebekah STOTT (C), 5. Taylor OTTO, 7. Julia GROSSO, 11. Emina EKIC, 14. Laura HUGHES, 6. Leticia McKENNA, 10. Rhianna POLLICINA, 17. Hannah WILKINSON.
Substitutes: 23. Melissa BARBIERI (GK), 3. Naomi CHINNAMA, 16. Karly ROESTBAKKEN, 18. Leah DAVIDSON, 22. Bryleeh HENRY.
In wet conditions in Sydney, both teams wrestled for the early ascendency in a tight fixture.
The game’s earliest chance came in the 21st minute when Daniela Galic met Kaitlyn Torpey’s long ball, before playing through Leticia McKenna. McKenna’s brilliant forward run saw her force a sharp save from the keeper, with only a goal line clearance denying City the opener.
Just five minutes later City once again went close to finding the breakthrough. Hannah Wilkinson was played through by Rhianna Pollicina, before rounding the keeper 30 yards from goal and slipping through Ekic.
The Bosnian international cut in on her left foot before unleashing a curling effort which struck the crossbar.
Vidosic’s team continued to put the pressure on in search of the opener. With nine minutes of regulation time to play in the first, a strong build up from the back led to Galic whipping in a dangerous cross to Wilkinson. The towering New Zealand international met the youngster’s cross with a first-time finish, only to be denied by another sharp save from Collins.
With City pressing for the opener, the Wanderers counted with their first real threat of the match on the 38th minute mark.
Morris picked up the ball on the left wing, darting into the box before firing a fierce deflected effort which was only kept out by a world-class save from Lysianne Proulx to ensure the score remained 0-0 at the break.
City’s attacking intent was on display in the early stages of the second period and Vidosic’s side had a great opportunity to go ahead after the referee pointed to the spot for a handball off Pollicina’s corner.
Pollicina stepped up to take the resulting penalty, although her effort was put wide.
Two minutes later City were forced to rue missed opportunities as Caspers latched onto an errant pass from Proulx, finding the bottom corner of the empty net with the opener and eventual winner of the match.
City will look to bounce back when the team return to Melbourne to host their first ever match at Casey Fields against Wellington Phoenix on Saturday afternoon.