Melbourne City remain within touching distance of Sydney FC after Holly McNamara and Rhianna Pollicina inspired a 2-1 win over Western Sydney in the A-League Women.
Coach Rado Vidosic has delighted in Holly McNamara's influential A-League Women return in Melbourne City's 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers as he starts planning for a stint without star Kiwi duo Hannah Wilkinson and Rebekah Stott.
Melbourne City versus Western Sydney Wanderers
- Melbourne City beat Western Sydney Wanderers in the A-League Women.
- Holly McNamara's contribution after return from the Matildas was vital to the City win.
- Wanderers scored their third goal of the 2021-22 season.
More A-League Women's news can be found on The Women's Game.
Four days after arriving back from the Matildas' Asian Cup campaign and being cleared of a knee injury, McNamara played a key role in Rhianna Pollicina's opener in the 28th minute, scored a wonderful goal in the 45th minute and was threatening throughout before coming off AAMI Park with cramp.
"We knew she wouldn't be able to last the whole 90 minutes," Vidosic said.
"We were hoping that the game would be a little bit more in our favour so we could take her off a little bit earlier but unfortunately, it didn't happen.
"So I'm quite proud of what she's done and how much he has contributed to the team. You could see the team was bubbling a little bit more and and there was more energy in our game and it was good to see."
Then return of the Mac 🔥— Liberty A-League (@aleaguewomen) February 6, 2022
Holly McNamara returns from international duty to put one in the back of the net for @MelbourneCity.
Live details: https://t.co/dM3z5DtjNm#MCYvWSW #WeAreALeagues pic.twitter.com/wBIKd9QgcE
Sunday also marked 24 years and 364 days since City goalkeeper and former Matildas captain Melissa Barbieri made her Women's NSL debut and she was celebrated as the clubs left the field.
City's workmanlike effort ensured they stayed just four points behind leaders Sydney FC and three clear of Adelaide United.
Vidosic hinted he would have to manage Stott for Saturday's clash with Perth, noting the influential midfielder had started to hit the wall after an impressive return from Hodgkins Lymphoma.
He expected New Zealand internationals Stott and Wilkinson to miss two games, against Sydney and Brisbane, when they travel to the United States for the SheBelieves Cup and was pondering a personnel reshuffle up front.
"We need to find who can play in that No.9 role," Vidosic said.
"Holly playing that No.10 role and then having the freedom to go wherever her nose takes her, she's done really well in that role.
"So do we sacrifice her and play her further up, do we bring in Caitlin Karic or do we play someone else? We just need to see."
The Wanderers scored just their third goal this season when on the stroke of half-time, Bryleeh Henry was strong back-to-goal, working a pass back to Teigan Collister, who skidded a shot into the bottom corner.
Coach Catherine Cannuli delighted in Henry and Collister's work but lamented being unable to add to their sole effort.
"In terms of my team, the effort and their determination I don't think you can fault that. You can see in every game that they go out, fighting hard and wanting to win and wanting to get something out of the game," she said.
"Unfortunately, you know, if you don't score goals, you can't win and it's been an unfortunate season so far for them."
The full A-League Women's schedule can be found using this link.