Melbourne Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins believes the 1-1 draw against the Western Sydney Wanderers could be a turning point for his team.
Haley Hanson’s first Victory goal was cancelled out by Lynn Williams in the second half of the Westfield W-League clash on Saturday.
Hopkins was happy with several parts of Victory’s performance at Latrobe City Stadium in Morwell and believes it will lead to more going forward.
“I was pleased with a lot of aspects of our game, especially the way we started the game,” he said.
“We were aggressive, we pressed high, we put them under pressure, I was really pleased with the way we set up defensively. We made it very hard them to play out.
“We want the ball high, we were able then to counter-attack from inside their own half which was really pleasing and something we’d worked on through the week. The girls really executed the plan really well. Scoring from a turnover as well after we pressed the ball, good reward for what we planned to do and how we executed. I was pleased with that.
“Probably second part of the first half we started to drop a little bit deeper, just protecting a bit too much and maybe gave just that little bit too much time to play through us a couple of times, which was a bit of a warning sign for the second half.
“I think definitely Western Sydney had the lion’s share of the game in the second half and we were forced to defend for a long period, but probably what really pleased me was the way we applied ourselves defensively in terms of organisation, in terms of work rate, in terms of just cover and sticking up and supporting each other. I thought it was a definite turning point for us.
“I saw a lot of things that I liked about things that we did as a team so I was quite pleased with that.”
Casey Dumont made several good saves for Victory, including an excellent last-second stop to deny Sam Staab a winner.
Hopkins said the AFC Women’s Club Championship impacted his team, while praising his substitutes – including Amy Jackson, who made her 50th league appearance for the club.
“I think we understood that the Korea trip might have a little bit of bearing on the game after the first hour and it definitely did. I think we looked a little bit tired,” he said.
“In saying that, we brought substitutions on and they came on and did really well and gave us energy.
“Rosie Sutton came on, worked hard, Lia Privitelli as well she made a difference, she came on at right-back, Amy came on and did really well for us as well so it was really pleasing in that respect.
“Western Sydney, you’ve got to give them a lot of credit as well. They’re a good side, dangerous side, probably the way the second half went they deserved to get back into the game and look, Casey that last-second save to still grab ourselves a point.”