Melbourne City FC secured their first win of the season, snatching all three points at the death in an entertaining 2-1 win at McKellar Park over a resilient Canberra United outfit.
After goalless first half, the hosts took the lead against the run of play at Katie Stengel made no mistake from close range before City hit back through Serbian international Milica Mijatovic. Just as the game looked destined to finish 1-1, Yukari Kinga was fouled in the penalty area leading to Emily van Egmond’s composed spot kick to secure the win in the 90+4th minute.
City will be eager to extend their unbeaten start to the season when they host Adelaide United at John McEwan Reserve in Shepparton in Round 3.
Kyah Simon returned from injury, named in the starting XI alongside mid-week arrivals Aivi Luik and Rebekah Stott. Scottish international Claire Emslie missed the clash after suffering a slight knock in training.
— Melbourne City FC (@MelbourneCity) November 24, 2019
In warm conditions in the nation’s capital, City looked eager to hit the road running in the opening stages of the contest.
It took just four minutes for the visitor’s to split open Canberra United’s defence, although Kyah Simon failed to capitalise as a scrambling Khamis kept her header out from close range.
As the half progressed, Heather Garriock’s side did well to nullify City’s impact in the final third. Attacking fullback, Ellie Carpenter continued to charge into attack upon her return to McKellar Park, receiving quite the reception from the local fans.
Carpenter’s ability to beat several opponents lead to Simon finding Milica Mijatovic in the 23rd minute, but the Serbian international was unable to convert as her effort flashed wide of the far post.
On the half hour mark, Simon was again involved. This time the attacker met captain Steph Catley’s perfectly weighted ball but struggled to generate enough pace on the header to trouble the goalkeeper.
A flurry of missed opportunities saw City head into the sheds with the scores locked at 0-0.
A half time substitute saw Simon make way for Rhali Dobson in her return from injury, and it took just three minutes for the speedy winger to make an impact. Dobson found space on the right before hitting Emily van Egmond with a pin-point cross, whose resulting effort was somehow saved by Khamis from point blank range.
With City unable to find the back of the net at one end, Canberra made no mistake at the other in the 59th minute, as American import Katie Stengel opened the scoring. Charley and Camilla combined, before the latter unleashed a fierce effort that struck the inside of the upright post, falling to Stengel who made no mistake with a quick reaction finish.
Desperate to get back into the match, Rado Vidosic’s side continued to press and were eventually rewarded for their efforts following a piece of midfield brilliance from Japanese star Yukari Kinga. In the 67th minute, Mijatovic picked up the ball in midfield before finding Kinga, who rewarded the Serbian’s run with a defence-splitting assist, the attacker latched onto Kinga’s ball with an intelligent finish, beating the ‘keeper and putting the ball home into an empty net.
Following Mijatovic’s goal, the Serbian made way as Vidosic was forced to make a reshuffle that would see Steph Catley move up front with youngster Chelsea Blissett taking her spot on the left.
With 90 minutes gone, the game looked destined to finish 1-1 until star fullbacks Carpenter and Catley combined brilliantly before Kinga was fouled in the penalty area as a scrambling Canberra defensive unit struggled to deal with City’s dangerous combinations on the right.
Up stepped Emily van Egmond, with 90+4′ minutes played, and she made no mistake with a composed finish that took a touch from the keeper and travelled into the bottom corner to see City secure three important points on the road and van Egmond secure her second goal in two games for the Club.
City travel to John McEwan Reserve in Shepparton on Saturday 30 November where they will host Adelaide United in a blockbuster double-header with City’s Y-League side, W-League kick off 7:00pm. Tickets will be available at the gate, City members go free.