Melbourne City FC has leapt into fifth-position on the league ladder, with a vital 3-1 win over Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
A blistering first-half performance saw City take a 2-0 lead into the half-time interval, as both Yukari Kinga and Tameka Butt found the back of the net.
Desperate to respond, the Jets hit back in the 54th minute through Katie Stengel before Jasmyne Spencer secured the points with a brilliant strike in the 72nd minute.
City’s win keeps them within touching distance of the top-four, as they sit out Round 7 with a bye before returning to action against Canberra United on Saturday 22 December, in what is set to be a blockbuster festive season double-header at AAMI Park.
Head Coach Rado Vidosic made two changes to starting XI that played out a 1-1 draw with Adelaide United last weekend, as captain Steph Catley and experienced defender Rebekah Stott replaced Tyla-Jay Vlajnic and Chelsea Blissett in defence.
Following knee surgery, Catley made her first appearance for the season, while Stott returned from international duty with New Zealand’s Football Ferns.
In warm conditions at McDonald Jones Stadium, Melbourne City FC charged out of the blocks with an electrifying opening few minutes of attacking play.
With three golden chances in the opening three minutes, the score-line could have easily read 3-0 to the visitors.
Two-minutes into the match, Rhali Dobson’s deflected cross found Kyah Simon, although the striker’s header from close range glanced wide. Moments later the attacking duo were again involved, both missing good opportunities from close range following a dangerous low cross by Yukari Kinga.
Three-minutes later City’s attacking intent was again on display, this time Tameka Butt looked to find Simon inside the six-yard box, only to be denied by Jets goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom.
Despite City’s early dominance, Newcastle had a brilliant opportunity to make it 1-0 against the run of play in the 13th minute. Matildas international Emily van Egmond found Jenna Kingsley unmarked at the back post, only for the Jets winger to scuff her effort and miss an open goal.
It was a chance the Jets would live to rue, as a short drinks break on the 27th minute mark seemed to spark City into action.
In the 30th minute Yukari Kinga would eventually break the deadlock after a flurry of missed opportunities. Dobson produced an impressive solo run before finding the Japanese star, who finished clinically from a difficult angle.
Four-minutes later City would make it 2-0, as Tameka Butt registered her 50th Westfield W-League goal and her first in City blue, pouncing on a poacher’s effort from close range and finishing truly.
Two goals in four-minutes handed City a 2-0 lead at the break, perhaps the team’s strongest half of football for the season, as key inclusions Steph Catley and Rebekah Stott both influenced the game with their dash out of defence and their stability at the back.
A half-time substitution saw Catley make way for youngster Chelsea Blissett, as the skipper continues her comeback from injury.
Determined to keep their top-four hopes alive, Newcastle looked to work their way back into the contest and in the 54th minute the home side hit back through Katie Stengel. The American latched onto van Egmond’s set-piece with an impressive half-volley, leaving Lydia Williams with no chance in goal.
As the Jets looked to capitalise on their momentum, American import Jasmyne Spencer took the wind from their sails, firing home a brilliant effort to make it 3-1. Spencer registering her fourth goal of the season and adding to her already impressive selection of goals in City blue.
City’s win sees them move into fifth position on the league ladder, one point outside the top-four.
Head Coach Rado Vidosic’s side will then sit out Round 7 with a bye, before returning to AAMI Park in Round 8 to face Canberra United in what is set to be a blockbuster festive season double-header with the A-League side on Saturday 22 December, kick-off 5:00pm (AEDT). Get your tickets here.