Melbourne City FC pulled off a dramatic 2-1 win against Brisbane Roar when the teams faced off at Moreton Daily Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It was an action-packed second half as Brisbane opened the scoring thanks to a Katrina Gorry penalty, before Rhianna Pollicina scored a brilliant free-kick to equalise later on. Even later, however, it would be Hannah Wilkinson who would snatch all three points with the winner deep into stoppage time.
Following a tough result against Sydney FC in which City failed to score, Rado Vidosic experimented with his starting lineup, moving Tyla-Jay Vlajnic further afield as Chelsea Blissett slotted into left-back. Youngster Darcey Malone was the one to miss out as a result of this move.
On home turf the Roar got off to a strong start, dominating the territory battle early on and earning the first significant chance of the game in the 8th minute. Midfielder Rie Kitano received the ball just outside the area and slipped it into the box for Larissa Crummer, who struck first time but couldn’t beat Melissa Barbieri who rushed out to make a big one-on-one save early.
The Roar were in again not long after, with Katrina Gorry getting a fantastic opportunity to open the scoring for her side, but blazed her shot over the bar from a wide angle inside the box.
Crummer had another brilliant opportunity in the 13th, beating Barbieri to a ball that landed in an awkward area just outside the box. With the City shot-stopper well off her line, Crummer needed only work her first-time effort on target, but the shot trailed wide of the post for a goal kick.
City finally found its feet in the 17th minute, earning a first shooting opportunity through Rebekah Stott. The midfielder was able to fire on goal from outside the area to force a good save from Mia Bailey, who tipped the strike over the bar for a corner.
For all its action early on, the contest soon became a largely uneventful affair over the remainder of the opening half. Both teams had shots on target, but none possessed the ferocity or placement to force a difficult save from either keeper.
Whilst it was Brisbane who had the hot start in the first half, City were the ones to come out firing in the second period, spending much of the opening five minutes inside the home side’s defensive half. This period of dominance culminated in a dangerous cross in from Rhianna Pollicina who found Hannah Wilkinson centrally, but the Kiwi striker couldn’t make the decisive connection to open the scoring.
It was Brisbane who’d get the next opportunity though, allowed to do so thanks to a defensive turnover from Emma Checker who had been caught on the ball by Roar forward Shea Connors. The American burst through on goal virtually unchallenged, but a heavy touch and proactive decision-making from Barbieri enabled the City shot-stopper to rush out and nick the ball off Connors’ toe.
Despite the balance of the game generally trending in City’s favour, it was the home side who finally opened the scoring in the 71st minute. Tracking Meaghan McElligott into the area, Vlajnic collided with the substitute forward as she made a run toward the ball and a penalty was awarded for the contact, with Katrina Gorry converting from the spot.
When City needed a goal to get back into the contest, it was Pollicina who provided in the 79th minute; the midfielder stood over a free-kick and struck truly, curling her effort into the top-left corner.
With the scores locked at 1-1, both sides gave everything in an enthralling climax to the contest. It would be City fans, however, who would have been ecstatic when Hannah Wilkinson rose highest to head home a 94th-minute set-piece to snatch all three points at the death.
The important result also serves as a much-needed confidence boost as the team gets back to winning ways and Vidosic’s side will again look to claim all three points when they next face Western Sydney Wanderers at home as part of a double-header next Sunday.