Brisbane Roar has secured their first win against two time W-League Champions, Melbourne City, after goals from Allira Toby and Katrina Gorry sealed the three points.
It was a hot day in Brisbane for the last match of the W-League before Christmas and it was a big clash as Roar looked to secure top spot while City were looking to continue their winning ways after narrowly beating Canberra last round.
Some supporters would have expected a high scoring game with 10 Matildas on the pitch but Roar (10%) and City (12%) had some of the lowest conversion rates in the league.
Brisbane Roar – What happened?
It was a slow start for the home side as City found their rhythm early and controlled the game. It took until the 10-minute mark for Roar to open up and from that moment until the hour mark it was pretty even with most of the game being played in the midfield.
After the introduction of Toby and her goal, it looked to give the side confidence and inspired a flurry of attack. They were rewarded when they doubled their lead 10 minutes later. Unsatisfied they continued assaulting the City goal trying to seal the win.
2-0 is one of the most dangerous scorelines in football – well that is how the cliche goes.
While City searched for a goal, Mackenzie Arnold and the defence stood strong, making some brilliant last-ditch efforts to keep a clean sheet. Clare Polkinghorne was once again vital in the backline and had the job of stopping Jess Fishlock’s route to goal.
“I think they were disappointed last week, and felt that an opportunity might have slipped by them but they wanted to right that wrong and they did that today,“ said coach Mel Andreatta.
However, Roar still needs to be more clinical in the final third and punish teams for letting them have too much of the ball.
That Brisbane were not able to almost halve possession but keep the ball moving regularly was one of the key’s to their victory. Celeste Boureille put in an enormous amount of work to quell the influence of City’s midfielders and Katrina Gorry was excellent in dictating the rhythm of play.
It took until late in the game for the Roar forwards to get on top of their City counterparts and one thing Andreatta would be pleased with is their ability to get the ball into the box without a worry but again its that final shot.
“We will keep working on those areas that we need to strengthen, we did that this week and we will continue to do that next week, and the week after to make sure the squad is fit, happy, healthy and we are creating an environment for them to thrive“ Andreatta said.
Melbourne City – What happened?
This may sound harsh but City has to stop relying on Jess Fishlock to get the job done. It’s not about the scoring goals but her influence on the game like moving the ball up the field or lifting her teams’ spirit after conceding but unfortunately a frustrating game for the away side led to a loss.
Despite the loss, City was on par or led Brisbane on possession, shots, and passing accuracy and the halftime stats didn’t lie as City had more balls and shots in the opening 45 minutes despite an average half from both teams.
But the loss came down to two things, and it was the same situation Brisbane was in last week and that is not taking their chances and not making use of their possession. When they had possession, Roar’s press was such that it took away a lot of the time and space that the champions often enjoy on the ball.
They had some moments of their usual style when they were able to string passes together to get the attack right and threaten the goal. However, the Roar defence was able to keep the City attack quiet throughout the game especially in the second half.
The good news for City supporters is the January 2018 arrival of EURO 2017 top goalscorer Jodie Taylor. Adding Taylor as a true number 9 might be just what the team names, a focal point from which Fishlock and the wide players like Dobson and Hatch to play off.
Brisbane Roar is off to the west as they face Perth Glory on the 29th of December while there won’t be big New Years celebrations for City as they play on New Years Day at ANZ Stadium.