Ayres is back

Melina Ayres was welcomed back into the starting line-up after she scored two of Melbourne’s goals in Round 11 against Canberra United.

The 20-year-old hasn’t been getting many minutes on the park so far this season, but she made her way into the starting line-up for today’s match and certainly didn’t waste her opportunity to shine.

Ayres is no stranger to scoring goals at Lakeside Stadium, and today was a similar story.

She scored her first goal of the season 31 minutes into the match and doubled her tally only eight minutes after that.

Darian Jenkins crossed the ball into the path of Ayres for a cool finish, with Natasha Dowie setting up the second goal for the youngster who sent the ball into the bottom right corner.

Ayres played with plenty of drive and confidence, getting into good positions to receive the ball in space and making intelligent movements off the ball.

Ayres played a vital role in picking up the three points today, putting Melbourne on the right path in the build-up to finals.

Victory fans will be hoping that Jeff Hopkins welcomes Ayres back into the starting eleven after such a stellar performance – she’s got plenty to prove.

Fight for the finals

Today’s match was a fight for the finals between fifth and sixth on the ladder, with Victory coming into the game four points ahead of Canberra United.

But after being defeated 3-0 with only 10 points on the ladder, Canberra United’s season is over.

Canberra only have two games left in the campaign, and even if they won both they’d still be in fifth spot at best.

This result means the Victory now have their fourth win in a row and are sitting just inside the top four behind Sydney FC.

The game started out fairly evenly, with neither team able to settle or gain control until Melina Ayres claimed the game for the Victory.

Picking up the three points was essential for Melbourne, and if they’re able to win their remaining three games they’ll be definite finals contenders.

Today was the difference between a continued fight for a finals spot or seeing the season crumble before your eyes.

Unfortunately for Canberra, finals hopes are behind them – but with this result, the Victory are well on their way to yet another top four spot.  

Let's talk about Darian Jenkins... again!

Jenkins is a pivotal player for Melbourne Victory, and today’s match provided her with yet another opportunity to show the league just how good she is.

Jenkins spent the game running up and down the sideline, crossing balls into the area and using her unique pace to beat players and set up goal scoring opportunities for her team.

She set up Victory’s first goal through her speed and a perfect cross from the by-line that found Melina Ayres.  

Plus, the 25-year-old isn’t picky – she switches from the left to right side and manages to look just as threatening no matter where her position on the park.  

Canberra found it extremely difficult to defend her, and often left her with too much time and space to exploit.

It was a good battle between Jenkins and Nikola Orgill, with the Canberran able to close her down a few times. Orgill is a quality player with lots of experience, but Jenkins won this battle more often than not.

Jenkins has been quality for the Victory on countless occasions so far this season, and her role in creating attacking opportunities for Melbourne will be even more important now that we’re headed towards the business end of the season.