Melina Ayres provided the show-stopping moment of an engrossing contest at Lakeside Stadium on Thursday night, as Melbourne Victory ran out 2-1 winners against Newcastle Jets.
Receiving the ball just inside Newcastle’s half, Ayres strode forward before arrowing a thunderous strike into the top right corner of Jets keeper Britt Eckerstrom’s goal.
Hit from 35 yards, the goal sparked jubilant scenes amongst her teammates and coaches reminiscent of those that followed Ayres’ spectacular strike in last season’s Melbourne Derby.
WATCH: Melina Ayres’ stunning opener
— Melbourne Victory Women (@mvfcwomen) November 1, 2018
“I felt like it came off better, and I meant it this time.” Ayres said post-match when comparing goals.
“Dani (Weatherholt) played me the ball in midfield and there was space in front, so I went for it, saw the goal and shot.”
The seventh minute strike set the scene for a frantic five minutes, during which time Victory captain Natasha Dowie scored her first goal of the season, before Cortnee Vine pulled one back for the visiting Jets.
Remarkably that’s where the scoring ended, with both sides likely left to wonder how they were unable to add to the score line
“We probably should have had a couple more… but we put the two away we needed to to get the three points,” Ayres said.
“We’ve got a good team and we’re playing well and gelling together. If we keep training hard we’ll be contenders for finals.
Victory Head Coach Jeff Hopkins was full of praise for his forward, praising both her goalscoring ability and attitude.
“It’s funny, she hits one of those most sessions.
“Left foot, right foot, volleys, half-volleys.. it doesn’t really surprise me.
“She’s a player who has come back with a real hunger to cement her place in the side. She’s really open to what we’re asking her to do, she’s very coachable and has impressed me so far this year.
“Keep your eyes open, there’ll be a few more of those coming.”
Melbourne Victory return to action on Friday November 16, taking on cross-town rivals Melbourne City at AAMI Park.