Match Report: City 4-0 Wellington

Melbourne City has continued its strong recent form in the Liberty A-League, recording a 4-0 victory over Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon.

First half goals to Kaitlyn Torpey, Hannah Wilkinson and Winonah Heatley got City off to a flying start, before Captain Emma Checker sealed the deal with a late second-half strike.

Starting XI

Following three consecutive unchanged lineups, there was finally some movement on the teamsheet for City’s first game since Boxing Day, with Chelsea Blissett coming into the starting XI in place of TJ Vlajnic. The occasion marked 784 days since the full-back last started a game in the A-League Women competition, with an ACL injury keeping Blissett out of the game for well over a season.

What happened?

It was a curious first half at AAMI Park, with the opening 25 minutes largely uneventful in regards to clear-cut chances despite an overall entertaining and competitive contest between the teams.

Kaitlyn Torpey swung momentum in City’s favour in the 29th minute though, netting the first goal of the game with a thumping volley from outside the area to send Wellington’s headed clearance sizzling into the back of the net.

Quiet up until this point, Melbourne Derby hero Hannah Wilkinson netted City’s second in the 43rd minute when she latched onto an under-hit defensive header back to the keeper, lobbing the ball over the oncoming Lily Alfeld with ease.

Winonah Heatley compounded the situation on the stroke of half-time, scrapping the ball over the line – first through a scuffed header and then a desperate swing of the boot – following the corner as several Wellington players attempted to clear.

Ironically, City had a much stronger performance to start the second half, this time without the goals to show for it.

Just three minutes in, Rebekah Stott released Holly McNamara through on goal, with the youngster forcing a brilliant diving save from Alfeld to tip the goal-bound strike out for a corner.

City’s next chance arrived in the 54th minute when Stott was again at the heart of things as she played a ball to Blissett wide inside the area, with the full-back trying a first-time curler towards the far post but missing narrowly.

Having set two teammates up to no avail, Stott had a crack herself the next time she received the ball just outside the area and did well to strike the crossbar with her effort.

Alfeld pulled off a pair of strong saves to deny Torpey and McNamara late in the second half, before Emma Checker sealed the deal for City in the 78th minute. Wellington had failed to clear the City corner and the ball was glanced on to the back post, where Checker chased it down and struck it on the turn low across goal into the back of the net.

It was a positive day on all accounts for City, with Vidosic even able to award a trio of professional debuts to Caitlin Karic, Isabella Accardo and Coco Majstorovic, the latter of whom replaced Melissa Barbieri to see out City’s clean sheet and all three points.

What’s next?

City’s Liberty A-League campaign is now going strongly, with the team moving into outright second on 12 points from five games played. Rado Vidosic’s side will face Adelaide United next Saturday, but will be without Holly McNamara and Winonah Heatley as they travel with the Matildas as train-ons prior to the start of the Asian Cup.