Melbourne City lay early marker in W-League bow
By Arvind Hickman:
Westfield W-League – Season 8 – 2015/2016
5:30pm, Sunday 18 October 2015 – Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Sydney FC 0
Melbourne City FC 6
(Larissa Crummer 10’ 44’, Lisa De Vanna 39’, Beattie Goad 43’, Marianna Tabain 60’, Melina Ayres 90’)
Melbourne City laid down an early marker in the W-League with an emphatic 6-0 win over last season’s semi-finalists Sydney FC.
This was an impressive, assured display on City’s W-League bow in front a 960-strong crowd at Lambert Park, Sydney.
City’s performance was punctuated by a high tempo pressing game and slick interplay and movement that carved up Sydney with relative ease at times.
A first half brace by Matildas starlet Larissa Crummer and strikes to the tireless Lisa De Vanna and classy young winger Beattie Goad rounded off a dominant first half display that will put the rest of the W-League on notice.
The central midfield trio of Amy Jackson, Marianna Tabain and Aivi Tuik, who played a near faultless holding role, bossed the middle of the pitch, providing City with aggression, forward impetus and control that rarely allowed Sydney FC to establish any rhythm.
City’s relentless high press was led from the front by the tenacious De Vanna and Crummer, who ran Sydney’s defence ragged.
The Sky Blues struggled for meaningful possession in a rusty display, but improved after the interval when the result was already beyond them.
The opening goal arrived on 10 minutes when the impressive Tabain played Crummer through with a clever diagonal ball. The 19-year-old striker showed good composure to calmly dribble around advancing Sydney ‘keeper Michelle Betos before slotting home.
After the first goal, Melbourne quickly established control, moving the ball around intelligently while swarming the Sky Blues any time they had possession.
Goad and Crummer both squandered good chances with just the keeper to beat before City settled the game in a 5-minute spell at the end of the half.
In the 39th minute, Sydney’s Ellyse Perry gave away possession to Crummer, who ran at pace towards the penalty box before playing the ball across to Taiban. The midfielder, involved in most good things for City, fed De Vanna on the right side of the box and the Matilda’s veteran drilled the ball to the right of Betos.
A few minutes later, Crummer teed up Goad for a brilliant volley to make it 3-0, before Crummer scored her second after Tabain dispossessed Kyah Simon.
In the second half, Sydney improved markedly, competing much better for the ball and playing with greater purpose and intensity.
Trudy Camilleri replaced Nicola Bolger on 55 minutes and provided Sydney’s attack with a focal point and more direction.
Melbourne’s defence, led by the excellent Laura Alleway and Rebekah Stott, was well organised and scrambled well to breakdown Sydney’s attack.
In the 60th minute, Taiban made it 5-0 after reacting first when Betos failed to deal with a Goad cross.
Sydney forward Jasmyn Spencer had a good opportunity when played through by Teresa Polias but couldn’t get a decent strike on goal with just the ‘keeper to beat.
Spencer, who put in a solid shift for Sydney, forced a straightforward save out of Monique Iannella moments later, but too often lacked support and was well contained by Melbourne’s defence.
Sydney had their best opportunity for a consolation goal in the 85th minute when Anisa Guajardo was ruled to have upended Camilleri in the box. But Iannella guessed correctly and palmed away Polias’s spot kick, before a swift City counter attack late on was finished by substitute Amy Ayres.
City coach Joe Montemurro said he was surprised by the lopsided scoreline.
“We came here expecting it to be the hardest game of the season particularly as it’s first up. Sydney are a very good side and you obviously have your off days and today was not one of their days, but they’ll be thereabouts at the end of the season,” he told Back of the Net.
“We’ve got some great characters in this group. There’s no one who will not work for the other person, they trust each other and they’re working together, and that’s the result.
“We’ve played a lot of [preseason] games against boys, which has probably helped because the tempo is up…it’s our philosophy to press very high, it’s our philosophy to play it out the back and to keep the ball.”
Sydney FC will want to move on from this game quickly and have the chance to kickstart their campaign against champions Canberra United next week, while City take on Melbourne Victory.
Both sides will be without Matilda players, providing an early season test of squad depth.
Crowd: 960 approx.
Sydney FC: Michelle Betos (gk), Ellyse Perry, Sunny Franco, Jasmyne Spencer, Teresa Polias (c), Nicola Bolger (Trudy Camilleri 55’), Amy Harrison, Renee Rollason, Alanna Kennedy, Kyah Simon, Leena Khamis
Substitutes not used – Sham Khamis (gk), Teigen Allen, Natalie Tobin
Yellow cards – Sunny Franco 62’, Leena Khamis 68’, Amy Harrison 78’; Red cards – Nil
Melbourne City FC: Trudy Burke (gk), Laura Alleway, Aivi Luik, Steph Catley, Larissa Crummer, Lisa De Vanna (Alexandra Chidiac 70’), Rebekah Stott, Amy Jackson, Beatrice Goad (Melina Ayres 83’), Marianna Tabain (Olivia Ellis 88’), Anisa Guajardo
Substitutes not used – Kelsey Quinn (gk)
Yellow cards – Aivi Luik 29, Anisa Guajardo 76’; Red Cards – Nil
Ratings and points
Referee: Rebecca Durcau
Referee rating: 8/10
Game rating: 7/10
Pitch: 10/10 synthetic
3 – Marianna Taiban (MC)
2 – Larissa Crummer (MC)
1 – Laura Alleway (MC)
By Arvind Hickman
Photo: Sydney warm-up at Lambert Park, Corinthian (Paul Green)