Match Report: City 3-1 Adelaide

Melbourne City FC got back to winning ways in the Liberty A-League following its 3-1 win over Adelaide United in the first match of Saturday’s double-header at AAMI Park.

Rhianna Pollicina and Hannah Wilkinson got City off to a flying first half, before Chelsie Dawber pulled one back for Adelaide early in the second period. The three points were sealed when Wilkinson was able to net a second in the 93rd minute to ensure all three points for her side. 

Starting XI 

Rado Vidosic named an unchanged lineup for the clash, but the big news item within the squad announcement was the return of Chelsea Blissett to the bench. The young defender would later make her first competitive appearance in 657 days following an ACL injury that ruled her out of the 2020/21 season.

What happened? 

City raced out of the blocks in the opening five minutes, with a pair of Holly McNamara crosses coming within inches of being met by Hannah Wilkinson’s outstretched boot for what would have been a certain goal on either occasion. 

The ball couldn’t avoid City’s Kiwi striker forever though, and Wilkinson got her first big chance in the 19th minute when Rhianna Pollicina’s floated set-piece found her on the move inside the area, but the striker headed wide of the mark. 

City’s dominance continued with three chances in three minutes just after the opening half hour. Leah Davidson kicked the spell off with a dangerous drive into the penalty area, firing off a shot but not getting enough power behind it to beat Annalee Grove. Following this play, the lively McNamara – comfortably City’s best player in the opening half – was able to latch onto a loose United back-pass and volley from close range, but her effort was blazed over the bar. Soon after, it was Rebekah Stott’s turn, with the defender-turned-midfielder rifling a shot from distance but watching her effort float wide of the mark. 

This tidal wave of chances pointed to an inevitable City goal incoming, and it finally arrived in the 38th minute. After receiving a pass to release her wide on the left, Pollicina was able to work her way back centrally before unleashing a ripping shot to pick out the top right corner.

The midfielder wasn’t done there, stepping up to take a corner-kick two minutes later that found the head of Hannah Wilkinson for City’s second, handing the home side a 2-0 lead heading into the half-time break.

Whilst there were chances for either side early in the second half, the tide began to turn Adelaide’s way around the 60th minute and the visitors would soon find the back of City’s net through Chelsie Dawber. The Reds’ 65th-minute corner was met by Shadeene Evans, whose initial header was well-saved by Barbieri but the ball fell back into the path of Dawber to tap home from close range. 

The final third of the game would have been a frustrating period for City fans, with our squandered early chances haunting us as Adelaide pressed for an equaliser. 

However, it was City who were able to land the late knockout blow, with Hannah Wilkinson finding the back of the net from Leticia McKenna’s cross in the 90th minute.

The smart finish through Grove’s legs ensured a 3-1 result for the home side who, overall, were deserving of the three points. 

What’s next? 

The team needed the win to bounce back from a Melbourne Derby loss last weekend and the three points against Adelaide will set Rado Vidosic’s side well on its way to preparing for retribution in the reverse of that Round 2 fixture when City and Victory meet again on Boxing Day.