Melbourne Victory has secured a third straight win over crosstown rivals Melbourne City courtesy of a Christine Nairn wonder goal to return to the top of the W-League table.
Derbies are always special and this one proved to be no exception. Much like their first meeting this season in November, City was without some key players.
Back in round three, it was no Steph Catley and no Rebekah Stott. This time around, Kyah Simon was in a moon boot while Jasmyne Spencer was unavailable due to personal reasons.
This saw Adriana Jones elevated to the starting XI while Helen Caceres retained her spot after a solid shift against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Victory, on the other hand, fielded an unchanged line up to the one which defeated Perth Glory.
The opening 10 minutes belonged to the team in navy. However, within this opening period, Jeff Hopkins’ side would show two styles of attack – one that has served them well so far this season and one that will remind fans of previous Victory incarnations.
The former style sees neat combination play between the midfield, wingers and strikers. Nairn, Natasha Dowie and Emily Gielnik have combined in duos or as a complete trio for many of Melbourne Victory’s goals this season.
Along with the likes of MelindaJ Barbieri, Lia Privitelli, Grace Maher and Dani Weatherholt, the Victory attackers seem to know where their teammates are and exactly where they will be.
The pinpoint passes and the intelligent movement on and off the ball have been as visually pleasing as they have been effective for the Victory.
The latter style was high balls over the top of the opposition defence to the lone forward – with Dowie playing that recurring role.
Although it can be effective, it more often than not sees the Victory captain look isolated, typically in the space between the 18-yard box and the halfway line, surrounded by multiple defenders.