Melbourne City has continued its hot start to the A-League Women’s season with a 3-0 win over Brisbane Roar at Casey Fields.
Bryleeh Henry struck on the half hour mark, before second half goals to Maria Jose Rojas and Emina Ekic ensured City would return to the top of the table following last week’s bye.
Dario Vidosic stuck with an unchanged line-up for the team’s first home match of the season, resisting the urge to bring captain Emma Checker straight back into the XI after recovering from a knee injury.
As a result, Checker would return via the bench, where she was joined by Caitlin Karic who also returned to the squad after missing the team’s season opener.
Starting XI: 1. Sally JAMES (GK), 8. Kaitlyn TORPEY, 3. Naomi CHINNAMA, 14. Katie BOWEN, 7. Julia GROSSO, 18. Leah DAVIDSON, 10. Rhianna POLLICINA, 24. Daniela GALIC, 22. Bryleeh HENRY, 13. Emina EKIC, 19. Maria Jose ROJAS.
Substitutes: 23. Melissa BARBIERI (GK), 4. Chelsea BLISSETT, 6. Leticia MCKENNA, 15. Emma CHECKER, 20. Caitlin KARIC.
On a warm day at Casey Fields, City almost got off to a dream start.
Emina Ekic was brought down in the box just seven minutes into the contest and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Up stepped Rojas to take the penalty kick but unfortunately for City, her attempt struck the left upright and her follow up shot hit the opposite post for good measure.
Although it wasn’t able to get that early goal, City enjoyed plenty of possession with the likes of Leah Davidson and Daniela Galic controlling proceedings in the middle of the pitch.
An intelligent Davidson ball found Rhianna Pollicina in a dangerous position in the 20th minute, with City’s number 10’s shot seeming destined for the top corner before Roar goalkeeper Hensley Hancuff pulled off a great save.
The deadlock wouldn’t remain for much longer as Bryleeh Henry was on target just 10 minutes later, opening the scoring as she did last time out.
Ekic was again involved, putting a dangerous ball into the box which deflected kindly to Henry, who made no mistake with the close range finish.
It was a lead City would maintain for the remainder of the first half and quickly double early in the second 45.
A smart cutback from Ekic found Galic in space, who unleashed a venomous effort on goal which was well-saved but didn’t clear the area. The rebound went straight up into the air and Rojas rose highest to head home her second goal in as many games.
Two goals to the good after 51 minutes, City would continue to control the game and eventually ended with a 66% share of the possession.
City fans in attendance at Casey Fields were treated to a nice moment with 20 minutes to go, as captain Emma Checker was subbed on for her first appearance of the season after recently overcoming a knee issue.
After striking the post in Round 1 before winning a penalty and having a big hand in both goals earlier on Saturday, Ekic finally had her first City goal, striking in the 80th minute.
Some nice work driving forward from Leticia McKenna forced a scramble in the box after her attempt on goal, with the American attacker eventually picking up the scraps and finding the bottom corner with a lovely curled effort.
Almost immediately after, Vidosic was calling for another substitution with club stalwart, Melissa Barbieri, entering the contest for her first minutes of the season.
She was immediately called into the action, getting a strong left hand to Shea Connors’ 85th minute attempt to ensure City would keep its first clean sheet of the season.
City will play its second of back-to-back home matches at Casey Fields next Saturday when it takes on Newcastle Jets. Once again, the clash will kick-off at 3pm.