On a sun-kissed afternoon at Jubilee Stadium, an excellent crowd of 5,540 watched Melbourne Victory extend their lead at the top of the W-League to three points, courtesy of a 3-2 win over Sydney FC.
Natasha Dowie was the star netting a hat-trick, with Chloe Logarzo and Alanna Kennedy grabbing the goals for Sydney.
There was less than five minutes on the clock when Victory took the lead through Dowie, who got behind the defence before blasting the ball past Aubrey Bledsoe from a tight angle.
After the opener, the pattern of the game was established, with the Sky Blues dominating possession, while Victory looked to spring on counter attacks, using Dowie as their main outlet.
From one of these counters, Melina Ayres had a great chance to double Victory’s lead with a quarter of an hour played, firing over from close range.
The Sky Blues responded almost immediately and there were chances for Danielle Colaprico and Sofia Huerta before Dowie forced a sharp save from Bledsoe midway through the first half.
At the other end, Casey Dumont did well to parry a deflected shot from Chloe Logarzo.
With the first half drawing to a close, Sydney FC got the equaliser that their play deserved, when Colaprico did well to keep De Vanna’s cross in play, providing Caitlin Foord with a simple finish.
However, the game swung again on the stroke of halftime, with Victory winning a penalty after Teigen Allen was fouled inside the area. Dowie kept her cool to put her side 2-1 in front, although Bledsoe was unlucky not to make the save after getting a hand to the spot kick.
Dowie was clearly in the mood, and struck again just after the restart, getting on the end of a nice through ball from Emily Gielnik and completing her hat trick.
Victory grew in confidence after establishing a two goal lead, staying organised and restricting their opponents to long range efforts. Despite this, Dumont still had to be alert, diving to her right to grab a shot from De Vanna after the Matildas striker found space just outside the area.
With eight minutes left, Sydney FC were given a lifeline when Angela Beard received a second yellow card for a foul on Savannah McCaskill. Alanna Kennedy made Victory pay from the resulting free kick, sending the ball into the top corner to pull it back to 3-2.
Then in stoppage time, McCaskill sent a couple of dangerous crosses into the middle, and also had a close range shot saved by Dumont, but despite Sydney’s late flurry, Victory were able to see out the remainder of the game, preserving their unbeaten start to the season.