ALW Report: City 1-1 Sydney FC

Melbourne City took a share of the points against ladders leaders Sydney FC at Kingston Heath on Saturday afternoon.

The visitors opened scoring against the run of play in the first half, but some fantastic saves from Sally James kept City in the game until we finally struck back with a Kaitlyn Torpey equaliser in second half stoppage time.

Team News

Dario Vidosic made two changes to the XI that took on Melbourne Victory last weekend.

Daniela Galic returned to the starting line-up following international duty in place of Rhianna Pollicina who missed due to personal reasons, while Naomi Chinnama was back in the XI with Bryleeh Henry moving to the bench.

Starting XI: 1. Sally JAMES (GK), 8. Kaitlyn TORPEY, 3. Naomi CHINNAMA, 15. Emma CHECKER (C), 14. Katie BOWEN, 7. Julia GROSSO, 6. Leticia MCKENNA, 24. Daniela GALIC, 9. Holly MCNAMARA, 19. Maria Jose ROJAS, 17. Hannah WILKINSON.

Substitutes: 33. Sophia VARLEY (GK), 4. Chelsea BLISSETT, 21. Isabella ACCARDO, 22. Bryleeh HENRY, 25. Darcey MALONE.

What happened?

It was an entertaining start to the contest with both teams taking little time to settle into things.

City controlled the possession early which would’ve pleased Vidosic, with a few early chances coming as a result.

Daniela Galic had the best of these in the ninth minute when she was found in the box thanks to a Julia Grosso cutback, but Sydney goalkeeper Jada Whyman pulled off a strong save diving to her right.

Holly McNamara picked up right where she left off last week providing plenty of excitement and linking up well with Galic in what was the first time the young guns took to the pitch together.

City kept control of the game for the first 20 or so minutes, as a result, Sydney’s attacks only really came in transition moments.

Unfortunately for City fans that would ultimately be the downfall, Cortnee Vine finishing off a swift counterattack in the 24th minute to give the visitors the lead.

It was almost an immediate response from City when Rojas virtually dribbled through the whole Sydney defence from kick-off, but she was brought down on the edge of the area before she could fire off a shot.

The action would continue through the remainder of the half, with Sydney FC going close to extending their lead on a couple of occasions.

Sally James first pulled off a great save to deny a Rachel Lowe header, before a Naomi Chinnama goal-line clearance in added time – with a little help from the post – would ensure the deficit remained a goal at the break.

Sydney came out strong in the second half, putting City on the back foot straight away but its defence stood up well.

James pulled off a number of good saves in the second half, doing everything she could to ensure her team stayed alive in what was one of her best performances in a City shirt.

Vidosic rang the changes in the final 20 minutes in search of a spark with City still trailing 1-0, while Sydney didn’t look at its bench once despite the warm temperatures.

Although it may have been left late, those changes would prove to be the difference. Substitute Chelsea Blissett put a perfectly placed inswinging corner into the box, finding the boot of Kaitlyn Torpey at the back-post who was on target with a great finish.

City didn’t stop though and pressed hard for a winner in the final few moments that followed. Hannah Wilkinson went on a driving run down the left as City fans leaving City fans on the edge of their seats, but Whyman would pull off a good save to ensure the points were shared.

What’s next?

City will be heading west next Saturday night to take on Perth Glory at Macedonia Park, with kick-off set for 6:00pm (AEDT).