W-League: Week 1 & 2 Review: Champions Melbourne City top the table

W-League: Week 1 & 2 Review: Champions Melbourne City top the table

Melbourne City edged ahead of the rest of the pack after victory over Canberra United in round two of the W-League season.

Emily Magee

The W-League season kicked off last weekend with Perth Glory, Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City all taking opening day victories to start the season on a positive note.

And, interest for the Australian league was at an all-time high, as the opening weekend of fixtures achieved the second-highest attendance aggregate with the figure of 9,009.

Week One

Brisbane Roar 2-1 Sydney FC 

Brisbane kicked off the ninth installment of the W-League with the first fixture of the weekend grabbing a 2-1 win over Sydney FC at Spencer Park. The Roar outshined their opponents with two second-half goals to eclipse Caitlin Foord's opener for Sydney.

A 3,105-strong crowd witnessed a well contested first half, but it all changed after the break as Foord produced a stunning driving run to start off the play which led to her tapping in an easy finish to give Sydney a well-deserved lead in the 52nd minute.

However, the equaliser came only minutes later as substitute Allira Toby made an instant impact levelling things up for Brisbane after connecting a well-timed header, with virtually her first touch of the ball.

As Sydney pushed for a winner, they made mistakes at the back and a lapse in concentration saw Katrina Gorry turn provider to goalscorer as she netted a superb 18-yard shot from outside the area. Ultimately the goalkeeper should have prevented the effort from reaching the back of the net, but Gorry and Brisbane won't mind as they bagged the winner and their first three points of the season.

Melbourne City 1-0 Newcastle Jets

Melbourne City began their W-League campaign with a tough test against Newcastle Jets at CB Smith Reserve - with the decider coming in the eighth minute courtesy of Marianna Tabain.

The champions, who competed in the W-League for the first time last year, went through the whole of their maiden season undefeated and they started on a good note at the start of this campaign as well, as Tabain continued her brilliant goal-scoring form from last season.

The Sydney native, who scored seven goals in 14 appearances for City last season, headed home from an excellent Lauren Barnes cross to open the scoring inside the first ten minutes of the match.

And, Joe Montemurro's side did well to hold on to the three points. City not only controlled posession for long periods, but on-loan Houston Dash goalkeeper Lydia Williams produced vital saves to deny both Arin Gilliand and Emma Stanbury. The victory extends Melbourne City's unbeaten record to 15 matches and a step closer to retaining their W-League title.

Perth Glory 4-2 Western Sydney Wanderers

A second half double from skipper Sam Kerr secured the victory and saved Perth Glory's blushes after Western Sydney Wanderers came from two goals down in their season opener at Nib Stadium.

Perth took an early lead inside 18 seconds when Kerr pounced on a ball inside her own half and fed Caitlin Doeglas who slotted home the opener to score her first Westfield W-League goal.

Bobby Despotovski's side doubled their advantage in the 22nd minute when striker Rosie Sutton thumped the lose ball into the back of the net after a scramble in the box following a corner-kick.

Former Matilda's winger Joanne Burgess pulled a goal back just before half-time, beating two defenders before curling a shot in to the top left corner and Burgess turned provider after the break assisting Helen Petinos to draw her team level.

But, the Glory captain pulled it out of the bag for her team in the 68th minute curling a fine effort past Casey Dumont in the Wanderer's goal. Kerr, then pounced on a mistake from Dumont seven minutes from time to put the result beyond doubt.

Adelaide United 3-3 Melbourne Victory

Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory were forced to share the spoils in a six-goal thriller at the Coopers Stadium on Sunday, which saw the Victory come from behind three times to eventually leave Adelaide with a draw.

Captain Stella Rigon opened the scoring for Adelaide in the 11th minute after her left-footed free kick took a deflection to land in the back of the net. But, only two minutes later English striker Natasha Dowie, on loan from the Boston Breakers, replied for the Victory by dispossessing United keeper Sarah Willacy

United once again took the lead in the 20th minute as Sophia Huerta found Adrianna Jones to slot home just inside the six-yard box. 

And, the goals kept on coming in the second half - on the hour mark Dowie grabbed her second of the match to put her team on level terms. However, once again the scoreline was premature as Monica connected perfectly to nod home from a brillaiantly weighted free-kick to give Adelaide the edge.

Yet again, Dave Edmondson's Victory side weren't content with defeat and replied nine minutes from time courtesy of a superb 25-yard Selin Kuralay strike to share the spoils.

Week Two

Canberra United 1-2 Melbourne City

Two of the W-League's heavyweights faced each other at the GIO Stadium on Saturday, with City leaving the happier after a hard fought 2-1 victory over Canberra.

Last seasons semi-finalists Canberra United sat out the opening weekend of fixtures and looked full of energy in the opening stages, the direct running of new recruit Jasmyne Spencer caused the City defence numerous problems. 

However, it was Melbourne who opened the scoring on the 18th minute through Spencer's Orlando Pride team-mate Laura Alleway. The Westfield Matilda's defender connected perfectly with a delicately weighted Lauren Barnes free-kick to head across Trudy Burke's goal into the far corner.

United pushed hard for the equaliser in the second half but struggled to find the finishing touch and they were punished in the 80th minute as Melina Ayres connected with a ball played over the top to slot past the on-rushing keeper.

Rae Dower's side didn't give up and were awarded a penalty in the last minute of regulation time after Spencer was brought down in the area, Ellie Brush slotted home the consolation for Canberra, who travel to Brisbane next weekend.

Perth Glory 0-0 Brisbane Roar

Nothing could seperate Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday as the two teams played out a goal-less draw in the second week of competitive action.

Goalkeepers, Melissa Maizels and Mackenzie Arnold, were kept busy throughout the match but neither team could find the cutting edge to convert their opportunities. 

Both teams remain unbeaten going into week 3, where Brisbane will face Canberra United and Perth head to Newcastle Jets. 

Syndey FC 2-0 Western Sydney Wanderers 

A first half double from Leena Khamis steered Syndey FC to Sydney derby victory over the Western Sydney Wanderers at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday, where a record crowd of 4,178 spectators turned out to watch the match.

Syndey FC struck in the 13th minute to open the scoring, as Natalie Tobin played in Khamis who steered the ball around Wanderers goalkeeper Caitlyn Cooper to slot in to the net.

Khamis doubled her tally and Sydney FC's lead on the 29th minute deflecting Kyah Simon's volley past the keeper to secure the three points for her side.

Melbourne Victory 0-4 Newcastle Jets

Newcastle Jets secured their first three points of the 2016-17 campaign on Sunday at the Lakeside Stadium with a 4-0 win over Melbourne Victory.

The Jets took an early lead in the eighth minute, Megan Oyster's free-kick flew into the bottom corner to put the visitors ahead and they extended their lead seven minutes later courtesy of fellow American Arin Gilliand, who doubled the lead with a firm header from a corner. Emma Stanbury claimed the third for the Jets in quick succession as they headed in to half-time with a hat-trick of goals.

After the break, the contest was a far more even affair, with the Jets finally sealing the win with a fourth goal in injury time through Jenna Kingsley.