Melbourne City begun its A-League Women’s season in style with a comprehensive win over Wellington Phoenix at Sky Stadium.
While the first half was a stalemate, there was plenty of action in a second 45 minutes which saw five goals scored, including four from City in just 20 minutes.
In the absence of Head Coach Rado Vidosic who was unwell and didn’t travel, Assistant Coach Dario Vidosic stood in and named the first line-up of the season.
No less than six players were named for their first club appearance, with; Katie Bowen, Julia Grosso, Daniela Galic, Bryleeh Henry, Emina Ekic and Maria Jose Rojas all wearing City blue for the first time.
Starting XI: 1. Sally JAMES (GK), 8. Kaitlyn TORPEY, 3. Naomi CHINNAMA, 14. Katie BOWEN, 7. Julia GROSSO, 18. Leah DAVIDSON, 10. Rhianna POLLICINA (C), 24. Daniela GALIC, 22. Bryleeh HENRY, 13. Emina EKIC, 19. Maria Jose ROJAS.
Substitutes: 23. Melissa BARBIERI (GK), 4. Chelsea BLISSETT, 6. Leticia MCKENNA, 21. Isabella ACCARDO, 25. Darcey MALONE.
City had more than its fair share of possession in the early stages of the contest but wasn’t able to translate that to any clear-cut scoring opportunities.
It was the Phoenix who’d fire off the first attempt at goal, but Ava Pritchard’s shot did little to trouble Sally James who comfortably claimed the tame effort.
City’s first real sight at goal came in the 38th minute after a lovely bit of interplay between Rhianna Pollicina and Rojas. The latter teed up Ekic who lost her defender with a lovely turn but saw her shot on goal cannon off the post and stay out.
Ekic was almost on the scoresheet again just moments later, this time being fed in by 16-year-old midfielder Daniela Galic on professional debut.
The American attacker received a lovely ball over the top of the Phoenix defence and forced a good save out of Wellington keeper Bri Edwards.
While the first half may not have seen any goals, they came in a flurry in the second 45 minutes.
A 20 minute period of City domination did the damage, hitting the back of the net four times in that period.
Rojas was the catalyst just days after joining the club as an injury replacement, assisting two and getting her own name on the scoresheet in a Player of the Match performance.
A lovely ball through the Wellington defence found Bryleeh Henry’s well-timed back-post run with the young attacker netting her first City goal.
Just two minutes later Rojas was the one finding the back of the net, bamboozling the Phoenix defence with a lovely spin before tucking home her shot into the bottom corner.
Captain Emma Checker didn’t travel for City’s season opening fixture as she continues rehabbing a knee injury, but stand-in skipper Rhianna Pollicina led the team admirably.
She was on the scoresheet twice in the space of just four minutes to secure the three points, first putting home a penalty won by Rojas.
The second came via a Galic assist, although there was also a smart bit of play in the build-up from Ekic to let the pass run through her legs to find Pollicina. City’s number 10 received, took a couple of touches to set herself, then curled a lovely effort into the back of the net.
Wellington was able to find a late consolation goal courtesy of a deflection, but it did little to take the shine off what was an impressive first up performance from City.
City has a bye next week but will play its first home match of the season on December 3 against Brisbane Roar at Casey Fields. Ticket information is coming your way tomorrow so stay tuned to our socials and website!