Reigning champions Melbourne City gained an important victory in their battle at the bottom of the W-League against Perth Glory at Dorrien Gardens.
In a game played in 30o heat despite the early evening kick-off, the W-League’s heat policy came into play with drinks breaks.
Going into the game, Melbourne City’s Emma Checker was celebrating her hundredth game in the W-League after starting out as a 15-year-old with Adelaide United in 2011.
With two minutes played, Rhali Dobson’s chip through towards Chinatsu Kira needed Glory skipper Tash Rigby to head away at the expense of a corner. From Kira’s flag kick, Jenna McCormick headed over.
Vlajnic won a second corner for City with less than four minutes played as the Victorian side continued to dominate possession in the early exchanges. Despite this, the Sky Blues never came close to seriously troubling the Perth defence.
The Glory came into this game on the back of a record-equalling six consecutive defeats, a run that doesn’t quite tell the story of the quality of their performances and efforts. Their build-up play, usually intricate and skilful was noticeably less accurate than usual early on.
The home side fashioned their first opportunity twelve minutes in when Caitlin Doeglas went charging down the left and unleashed a powerful shot that went into the side netting.
A period of poor quality passing hampered the game and underlined the league position of the two teams at the foot of the table with no further opportunities for scoring coming until the twenty-fifth minute when Doeglas got a shot away which Melissa Barbieri held with ease.
With just over half an hour gone, Tyla-Jay Vlajnic won a free kick for City down the left-hand side after a hand in the back from Jamie-Lee Gale, but once more the free-kick was cleared with ease. The ball quickly returned when Jenna McCormick combined brilliantly with Dobson who played a low ball in, but Chidiac badly scuffed her shot wide when it looked easier to score.
Perth fashioned a half-chance with ten minutes of the opening half left. Creditable work from Alexia Moreno down the right saw the 19-year-old hold off several City defenders to win a corner. Deborah-Ann De La Harpe’s subsequent high teasing ball in was met by fellow teen Isabella Wallhead, whose effort went over the bar.
Before the break, Melbourne City’s Naomi Thomas-Chinnama was hurt when trying to clear a fantastic ball in towards Doeglas by the increasingly dangerous Moreno and had to leave the field.
Shortly afterwards, Malia Steinmetz almost caused disaster in the Glory backline with a high pass back to Lily Alfeld which saw the home keeper forced to try and clear with her head. City remained on the front foot and Hana Lowry’s foul on Dobson just outside the box on the left-hand side resulted in a free-kick, but Kira’s free-kick was disappointing to say the least.
The physical battle continued from the resulting goal kick when Vlajnic was yellow carded for jumping into the back of Alexia Moreno.
As the game entered stoppage time at the end of the first half, Perth had a glorious opportunity. Rigby combined with Steinmetz and Gale to play in Doeglas down the right-wing. After producing an outrageous Cruyff turn, the Glory star played in a great cross which Steinmetz couldn’t quite control successfully enough to get a shot away.
Given the general low quality of the opening period, it was no surprise that the score remained 0-0 at half-time.
The opening to the second half was scrappy again, but with five minutes gone, Melbourne City had a golden opportunity when Deborah-Ann De La Harpe fouled Alex Chidiac right outside the penalty area in a central position. Kira’s effort was high again but a poor clearance from Isabella Wallhead allowed Noor Hoelsbreken-Eckhoff in but the Norwegian player’s effort was disappointing.
Perth responded with more great play from Caitlin Doeglas who went on a dangerous run down the left and played in Sarah Morgan but to the loud consternation of the home support, referee Kelly Jones ruled that Doeglas had fouled Samantha Johnson earlier in the move.
The next opportunity went Melbourne City’s way with Johnson’s effort from a corner being dealt with well by Alfeld.
Another free-kick came City’s way on the edge of the box when Chidiac broke through menacingly and Lowry brought her down at the additional cost of a yellow card for the 17-year-old. Chidiac’s resulting effort went over the bar.
Shortly afterwards, and with sixty-seven minutes on the clock, the deadlock was finally broken. Leah Davidson won possession just before the ‘D’ in a central position and the ball eventually found its way to Chidiac who played a clever ball inside Glory defender Liz Anton which meant that Rhali Dobson was in acres of space to slot home calmly into the far left-hand corner of the net.
Perth responded brilliantly with Doeglas getting away down the left again. She squared to Lowry who unleashed a fantastic shot that looked destined for the far corner, but Barbieri pulled off a fine save.
Tori Tumeth worked well with seven minutes left to escape the clutches of De La Harpe to get a well-worked effort away which was narrowly wide.
Perth’s teenagers combined well to create an opportunity for Caitlin Doeglas when De La Harpe strode forward from the back purposefully and found Tijan McKenna. An exquisite ball through from the 16 year-old found Doeglas who was adjudged to be offside.
Melbourne City controlled the last ten minutes, keeping possession well as they homed in on a much needed three points
Perth Glory: Alfeld, De La Harpe, Rigby, Anton, Wallhead, Lowry, Steinmetz, Morgan, Moreno, Gale, Douglas. Substitutes: Bennett (GK), Carroll, McKenna, Jukic, Tabain.
Melbourne City: Barbieri, Checker, Thomas-Chinnama, McCormick, Tumeth, Vlajnic, Davidson, Hoelsbrekken-Eckhoff, Dobson, Kira, Chidiac. Substitutes: Varley, Johnson, Sardo, Muldeary, Cain.
Scorers: Dobson 67.