It proved to be a forgettable return to nib Stadium for Melbourne City FC after Patrick Kisnorbo’s side fell to a 4-1 defeat against Perth Glory on Friday night.
City simply endured a start to forget when the hosts netted after just three minutes, through in-form forward Samantha Kerr, who capitalised on a swift break to net past debutant Emily Kenshole.
Matildas star Kyah Simon, making her league debut for City, equalised in stunning fashion just after the restart with an early contender for goal of the season. Rachel Hill added a second against the run of play for the hosts, before Nicola Bolger put the result beyond doubt with a third seven minutes from time.
Hill completed her brace in stoppage time to compound City’s misery, who will feel aggrieved to have gone down by such a heavy margin.
The reigning champions dominated possession and created a gluttony of chances throughout the contest, but were thwarted by a combination of errant finishing and superb goalkeeping from Perth stopper Melissa Maizels.
In the end, it was a night to forget for City, but another big game lies around the corner with a Melbourne Derby at AAMI Park to come next on Friday 3 November.
— Melbourne City Women (@MelbCityWFC) October 27, 2017
Kisnorbo fielded a strong starting XI with several new faces on display. Matildas stars Kyah Simon and Alanna Kennedy made their first appearance in City colours, joining fellow debutants Yukari Kinga and Ashlee Hatch.
Emily Shields was set to deputise for the absent Lydia Williams in goal, but unfortunately suffered a wrist injury in the warm up and was replaced by another debutant in Emily Kenshole.
Despite losing starting goalkeeper Shields to injury in the warm-up, City began the contest brightly and took the game to the hosts right from kick-off, but the Glory displayed their strength on the counter-attack as Kerr fired the hosts into the lead after just three minutes.
Shellshocked but not disheartened, City recovered well and seized total control for the remainder of the half. Japanese international Kinga was buzzing around in dangerous positions, orchestrating a number of enterprising attacks from midfield alongside Welsh maestro Jess Fishlock.
Simon had two golden opportunities to level the scores but couldn’t keep her efforts down, while Kinga could only direct a free-header into the arms of Maizels after ghosting into the penalty area unmarked.
American import Hatch may have arrived in Melbourne as somewhat of an unknown quantity, but the talented young forward demonstrated her qualities in a lively first-half display. The debutant came closest to equalising for City with a neat swivel and shot that was brilliantly turned on to the post by Maizels.
The Perth goalkeeper continued to frustrate City with a series of crucial interventions, this time backpedaling to deny Fishlock’s deft chip with a superb fingertip save.
With a number of chances gone begging, it seemed it would take a moment of magic for City to level the scores, and that’s exactly what happened shortly after the restart through the brilliance of Simon.
Picking up the ball some 25 metres out, Simon weighed up her target and smashed a thunderous long-range drive past Maizels to level the scores with her first City goals.
It looked like the momentum had swung. Kinga was smartly denied by Maizels after some neat interplay with Hatch, Fishlock fired a powerful effort wide, and Simon was denied a carbon copy of her equaliser by another strong hand from the Perth shot-stopper.
But after a period of sustained pressure, the Glory went up the other end and found the net against the run of play through Hill. It got worse seven minutes from time when Bolger snuffed out hopes of a come-back with Perth’s third, before Hill put the icing on the cake with her second in injury time.
Westfield W-League Round 1
Friday 27 October 2017
Perth Glory 4
Melbourne City FC 1
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Melbourne City FC: 20. Emily KENSHOLE (GK) 2. Yukari KINGA, 3. Lauren BARNES, 4. Ashley HATCH, 7. Steph CATLEY (C), 9. Larissa CRUMMER, 10. Jess FISHLOCK, 13. Rebekah STOTT, 14. Alanna KENNEDY, 15. Amy JACKSON, 17. Kyah SIMON
Substitutes not used: 5. Lia MULDEARY, 11. Rhali DOBSON, 19. Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC
Head Coach: Patrick KISNORBO
Perth Glory: 18. Melissa MAIZELS (GK), 2. Sarah CARROLL, 3. Kim CARROLL (Danielle BROGAN 90’), 4. Natasha RIGBY, 7.Nicole STANTON, 9. Rachel HILL, 10. Raquel RODRIGUEZ, 11. Nicola BOLGER (8.Shawn BILLAM 84), 16. Amanda FRISBIE, 17. Marianna TABAIN (12. Shannon MAY 46’), 20. Samantha KERR
Substitutes not used: 1. Gabrielle DAL BUSCO (GK),
Head Coach: Bobby Despotovski