Victory crowned champions in stunning fashion
by Tomasz Ng:
Westfield W-League 2013/14, GRAND FINAL
3:00pm, Sunday 23 February – Lakeside Stadium, South Melbourne
Melbourne Victory FC 2 (De Vanna 38′ Barnes 41′)
Brisbane Roar FC 0
Melbourne Victory won their first ever W-League title with a 2-0 win over Brisbane Roar on a perfect afternoon at Lakeside Stadium.
A stunning strike from Lauren Barnes in the first half added to Lisa De Vanna’s opening strike, and Victory were ultimately too good for a nervy Brisbane Roar side.
The hosts almost got off to a perfect start, when De Vanna forced a stunning save from Nadine Angerer after being played in behind Brisbane’s defence by Jess Fishlock.
The Welsh wizard, who was being deployed up front again, then had a chance of her own to put Victory in the lead, but after making space to shoot, she skewed her shot wide, and the ball also trickled away from the reach of De Vanna.
Brisbane were looking a shadow of their best, and were struggling to gain a strong foothold in the match.
They did however get a sniff when Hayley Raso got free on the right wing, and she squared the ball to Tameka Butt who couldn’t produce a finish to beat Bri Davey.
Not to deterred by that, Victory continued to press Brisbane and got their rewards in the 38th minutes.
After Elise Kellond-Knight committed a foul and got booked for her troubles, Brisbane switched off and Fishlock found a great run from De Vanna and played the winger in behind.
There were no problems for De Vanna, who coolly slotted the ball past a helpless Angerer.
It was to get even better for the home side just four minutes later, when Barnes produced a sensational effort that brought everyone to their feet.
The American guest player won a loose ball off a Brisbane midfielder, then unleashed a powerful volley that rocketed into the back of the net and past a helpless Angerer.
Brisbane tried to get a goal back before the break but the closest they came was when Emily Gielnik outmuscled Emma Checker.
She chose to set up Butt for an effort but Jess Humble positioned herself well to block the shot.
Brisbane came out firing after the break, and went excruciatingly close when Raso dribbled her way past two defenders on the right flank.
The winger unleashed an effort that looked destined for the back of the net but Davey pulled off a miraculous save to tip the ball around the post, and ensure Victory kept their clean sheet intact.
Stung into action by another close call, Victory almost extended their lead but for a brilliant double save from Angerer.
De Vanna nodded a corner towards goal, but the Ballon d’Or winner threw her body in the way of her shot, with the rebound falling to Fishlock, whose effort was snuffed out by a despairing save from a recovering Angerer.
They had another close call on the hour mark, when De Vanna sent in a delicious cross for Gulcan Koca on the back post, but the Turkish international was only able to head wide.
Brisbane then set their stall out to attack, but were only able to produce long range efforts that sailed harmlessly wide.
They also lamented some poor finishing when they did get into good positions, and they were within inches of conceding a third at the death.
Teenage winger Beattie Goad latched onto a pass just outside the area and curled an effort towards goal, but it wasn’t to be a fairytale finish as the ball smacked against the crossbar.
In the end, Victory celebrated their first ever win over the Roar, and secured the championship crown they were so disappointed to miss out on a season ago.
1. Brianna Davey [GK], 3. Jessica Humble, 4. Katie Hoyle (18. Emily Hulbert +78′), 7. Stephanie Catley (c), 10. Jessica Fishlock, 11. Lisa De Vanna, 12. Jessica Samuelsson, 15. Emma Checker, 16. Beatrice Goad (14. Enza Barilla +92′), 17. Gulcan Koca (21. Ella Mastrantonio +69′), 22. Lauren Barnes
Unused Subs: 20. Cassandra Dimovski [GK], 9. Caitlin Friend
Yellow Cards: Mastrantonio 72′, De Vanna 90+1′
Red Cards: Nil
1. Nadine Angerer [GK], 2. Laura Alleway, 5. Brooke Spence, 7. Kim Caroll, 8. Elise Kellond-Knight (c), 10. Katrina-Lee Gorry, 11. Vedrana Popovic (18. Sunny Franco +84′), 13. Tameka Butt, 16. Hayley Raso, 17. Emily Gielnik (9. Larissa Crummer +59′), 19. Ayesha Norrie (6. Joanne Burgess +46′)
Unused subs: 20. Kate Stewart [GK], 4. Claire Polkinhorne
Yellow Cards: Kellond-Knight 37′
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Casey Reibelt
Assistants: Sarah Ho, Allyson Flynn, Kate Jacewicz
Pitch Rating: 8/10
Game Rating: 8/10
3. Lauren Barnes
2. Jess Fishlock
1. Katie Hoyle
By Tomasz Ng