Match Report: City 2-0 Newcastle

Melbourne City FC has secured a vital three points to keep its A-League Women Premiership hopes alive following its 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets on Tuesday night.

Kaitlyn Torpey opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a well-taken goal from outside the box, before Rhianna Pollicina teed up Hannah Wilkinson for a point-blank header in the 49th.

Starting XI

After missing City’s past two games whilst on international duty, Football Ferns Rebekah Stott and Hannah Wilkinson returned straight back into the starting lineup, replacing Meisha Westland and Caitlin Karic.

What happened?

City nearly started in extraordinary fashion just two minutes in, with Kaitlyn Torpey’s outside-foot through-ball finding Rhianna Pollicina who attempted an outside-foot shot, but fired narrowly wide of Claire Coelho’s upright.

The task was nearly made difficult in the 7th minute when Sophie Harding nicked a loose ball away from the City defender and broke into the box unchallenged. Melissa Barbieri came out to close the angle, but Harding’s chance seemed a certainty until her shot clattered off the upright and incredibly evaded the oncoming Jets forward.

The game’s wild start only gathered pace from there, with another huge opportunity arriving in the 11th minute, this time for City. Wilkinson did well to use her strength to body her defender off the ball and tee Pollicina up in a promising position, but the midfielder just hit it with too much power and the ball flashed narrowly over the crossbar.

City’s early dominance paid off in the 16th when Kaitlyn Torpey was rewarded for her blistering start with a well-taken goal from the edge of the area, striking low and hard into the bottom left corner.

Harding had another massive opportunity for the visitors in the 30th, latching onto a mishit pass and streaming into the box, but some City defensive pressure meant that the striker couldn’t get the power to beat Barbieri in goal.

Wilkinson had a chance later in the half when she was teed up with a low cross from wide, but the Kiwi blazed her effort well over the bar with the referee blowing for half-time a few minutes later as the scoreline remained 1-0.

City started fast again in the second half, netting a decisive second goal in the 49th minute. The assist for Wilkinson’s close-range header was extraordinary, with Pollicina’s initial strike being parried away by Coelho but the ball was rescued from the byline by City’s #10, who kept it in the air with a smart flick before sending in a pinpoint cross in the same movement.

Already in the middle of another inspired goalkeeping performance, Barbieri came up huge for City in the 52nd with a brilliant diving save to deny Harding yet again.

With Jets players tiring, City began to get on top around the 60th minute, with a great opportunity arriving for Marisa van der Meer in the 67th after the Kiwi was substituted on for Kaitlyn Torpey a few minutes prior. A flowing team move saw Pollicina release the defender wide into the box, but van der Meer blazed her effort over the bar.

van der Meer continued to threaten with multiple big chances over the following 25 minutes, but neither the Kiwi nor any other City player could beat Coelho for a third time as the final scoreline remained 2-0.

What’s next?

A win is a must on Saturday afternoon away to Western Sydney Wanderers, with three points enough to see us into first place until Sunday’s Adelaide vs Sydney clash which will decide the Premiership.