Roar’s dramatic loss to the Newcastle Jets and City’s startling 2-0 defeat to Victory last week saw these two sides come into Sunday with a lot to prove. Round 13 was made even more important with the top four still in contention (and following a very odd round of results, still in contention) and the match did not disappoint in terms of entertainment. However, whilst City ultimately returned from last week with pizzazz, Roar lacked the fire to keep their finals hopes alive.
Melbourne City – Key Moments and Players
City came out with pace, despite the hot weather. From the start they were able to dominate possession, carefully moving their way up whilst keeping hold of the ball before breaking out with speed on the flanks with the likes of Teigen Allen and Steph Catley.
Throughout the season, Jess Fishlock has been seeking out shots at the end of long diagonal balls. In the 18th minute, Marianna Tabain exhibited how beautiful this play can be. Tabain brought the cross down with ease, turned and quickly slammed her shot past several Brisbane defenders into the opposite corner.
It is not unknown for Rebekah Stott to cause havoc in the final third, with the role of overlapping defender a natural position for her. She pushed in crosses to the likes of Beverly Yanez and Melina Ayres, but the most spectacular parts of her play had to be her brace. A reliable and consistent presence in the City side for the past two seasons, it seemed unavoidable that she would eventually put her name on the scoresheet.
Her first came from a smart one-two with Fishlock, a quick decision that rippled the net. The second, whilst a spectacular shot, reflected Roar’s apathy in the dying minutes of the game. She was trailed by Katrina Gorry as she ran the ball up the right flank, but was under no pressure following a one-two from Tyla Jay Vlajnic. Time and space made for easy placement (though I am sure Stott made it appear more effortless than it was!)
“It’s a big game. We had to get a result to help us get into the finals, and my brother’s here so I thought I should get a few in!” – Rebekah Stott
Brisbane Roar – Key Moments and Players
From the whistle, Brisbane seemed to be deliberately more defensively minded. On the attack, they were distinctly less imposing than usual. Whilst physical in the middle and upfront, it was a struggle for them to create meaningful options in the final third, with Madalyn Evans and Cortnee Vine able to receive but shut out of play quickly. Tucking back a little, Amy Chapman also had some golden opportunities on goal.
With Mackenzie Arnold out on a red card, Georgina Worth took her place between the posts. Throughout the game, she had to come off her line multiple times to hinder a hungry forward line and demonstrated remarkable confidence under pressure. Clare Polkinghorne was also a crucial stop blocker for Roar.
Brisbane did come back stronger in the second half, something aided by the addition of Allira Toby up front pairing up with the strong attacking play of Emily Gielnik. One of Toby’s chances resulted in a goal for the side; a forceful shot at an acute angle on the ground. Lydia Williams was able to bat it away but Katrina Gorry followed and with just a tap brought the score to 2-1 at 67 minutes.
And perhaps one key moment the crowd won’t be forgetting in a hurry: whether it was a picturesque farewell for Roar or unique celebratory display for City, the sprinklers came on during added time.
“We’ve got to learn from the mistakes that we made this season and come out stronger and better than we did this year. I’m really proud of the way we played every weekend. Most games we did dominate and we played really attractive football. The thing that we’re missing is getting clinical in attack.” – Katrina Gorry.
That was the last we will see of Brisbane Roar this season, but City have one more obstacle to overcome before confidently claiming a finals spot. Newcastle Jets – just behind them on the ladder – will meet them at Hunter Stadium on Friday 27th January for a 5.20pm kick off. City need a draw or a win to make the finals.
“I just think that we finally got the results we’ve probably deserved over the past couple of weeks, especially last week with Victory. That was a hard one to take given the complete domination we had over the game… We’re lucky. I always say goals change games and [Roar] missed one just before we scored our third and that could’ve been a completely different game.” – Jess Fishlock
Melbourne City 3 (Marianna Tabain 18’, Rebekah Stott 62’, 92’)
Brisbane Roar 1 (Katrina Gorry 67’)
Sunday 22 January 2017
Venue: C.B. Smith Reserve
Referee: Lara Lee
Melbourne City: Lydia Williams (gk), Lauren Barnes, Teigen Allen (Tyla Jay Vlajnic 89’), Laura Alleway, Aivi Luik, Steph Catley (c), Jess Fishlock, Rebekah Stott, Melina Ayres (Erika Tymrak 60’), Marianna Tabain, Beverly Yanez
Substitutes – Emily Shields (gk), Amy Jackson
Brisbane Roar: Georgina Worth (gk), Nina Frausing-Pedersen, Amy Chapman, Clare Polkinghorne (c), Kaitlyn Torpey (Brooke Spence 66’), Cortnee Vine (Allira Toby 60’), Katrina Gorry, Tameka Butt, Summer O’Brien, Emily Gielnik, Madlyn Evans
Substitutes – Ayana Aoyagi (gk), Angela Beard