Melbourne City have continued their undefeated W-League season with a 4-0 win against Melbourne Victory over the weekend.
Melbourne City have continued their undefeated W-League season with a 4-0 win against Melbourne Victory over the weekend. Goals to Jennifer Beattie, Larissa Crummer (x2) and Kim Little were enough to sink the gallant Victory ship.
In what was a tough day for football in Melbourne on hot synthetic turf at the Veneto Club, both teams put up an enchanting first half display for the fans before City put the foot down and sped away.
Melbourne Victory’s learning curve
Melbourne Victory were hit hard yet again with injuries in an already depleted side, with Laura Spiranovic a casualty from last round (PCL – out for the season) and Hayley Raso and Enza Barilla both unavailable due to injury (ankle and groin respectively).
Victory coach Dave Edmondson fielded a young but strong team with Annabel Martin (16), Melissa Taranto (16), MelindaJ Barbieri (15) and Whitney Knight (15) all playing well to hold City to just a 1-0 lead up to the half time break.
Stop for a moment and really think about that.
In W-League we’re somewhat accustomed to teenage maestros with the likes of Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord dazzling us from a young age. But this new band of youngsters are up against some of the best players in the world and holding their own … at least for part of it.
Maybe it’s rose coloured glasses, but that’s pretty admirable! Edmondson thinks it’s admirable too, stating in the post match press conference, “I thought they were all fantastic to be honest”.
These youngsters are the future and while they’re on a steep learning curve, what better place for them to be?
Considering City boasts the likes of international calibre players including Little, Beattie, Jess Fishlock, Rebekah Stott and home grown talent who are right up there with them in Lisa De Vanna, Laura Alleway, Steph Catley and on an on, Victory should be somewhat pleased with the result.
They stuck to their game plan - maintain position, sit defensively and counterattack quickly.
Christine Nairn played a strong game for the full 90, running hard for the duration and one of the only Victory players able to maintain the same tempo as City. Occasionally Nairn looked like she was pulled too far left but her ability to track back to the middle when required made her more than one player.
The new combination of Natasha Dowie and Whitney Knight worked nicely together up top, but it was a rare event for Victory to possess the ball in their attacking territory. That is, apart from one period in the second half where they managed five corners in quick succession, but they were ultimately unable to deliver on any of them.
Are Melbourne City unbeatable?
On the flip side, one of City’s key strengths is their set pieces, with Beattie nailing a perfect header off a perfectly weighted Little corner to illustrate the point nicely.
Even still, it was definitely a tougher match for City from the start. Several players were fatigued from international duties in Brazil (Stott), UEFA Qualifiers (Little, Beattie, Fishlock) and Korea (Alleway, Catley, Crummer, De Vanna), and the hot conditions ensured City didn’t have it all their own way in the early stages of the match.
That said, City’s patience on the ball in setting up their attacking forays was evident as we have come to expect. Their tempo and ability to step up the pace at will showcases the different level City play at.
From the sidelines, coach Joe Montemurro rarely looked troubled as they coast along but with five games still to play, the pressure is on.
As much as City have been steamrolling their way through the season, teams and tactics are getting smarter in how to play them, and maybe, just maybe they’re beatable. With their Round 9 clash against Newcastle on the road at Hunter Stadium, perhaps it’s the perfect opportunity.
Victory remain at home for another week with a winnable chance against the Western Sydney Wanderers. Edmondson will be celebrating his impending nuptials, and perhaps with Assistant Coach Kat Smith at the helm for the week, Victory will have something of their own to celebrate?
Melbourne Victory 0
Melbourne City 4 (Beattie 35?, Crummer 52?, 72? Little 79?)
Sunday December 6th 2015
Veneto Club, Bulleen
Referee: Lara Lee
Melbourne Victory: 2. Alex Natoli, 4. Melissa Taranto, 6. Annabel Martin, 8. Jamie Pollock, 10. Christine Nairn, 11. MelindaJ Barbieri (15. Adriana Taranto 90? +2), 12. Whitney Knight (17. Gulcan Koca 75?), 13. Thea Slatyer, 20. Melissa Barbieri (GK), 26. Cindy Lay (5. Briar Palmer 46?), 27. Natasha Dowie
Unused Subs: 1. Cassie Dimovski (GK)
Yellow Cards: Martin 31?, Nairn 42?
Melbourne City: 4. Jennifer Beattie, 5. Laura Alleway, 6. Aivi Luik, 7. Steph Catley, 8. Kim Little, 9. Larissa Crummer (15. Amy Jackson 79?), 10. Jess Fishlock, 11. Lisa De Vanna, 13. Rebekah Stott (18. Anisa Guajardo 63?), 17. Marianna Tabain (16. Beattie Goad 75?), 20. Trudy Burke (GK)
Unused Subs: 1. Brianna Davey (GK)