Melbourne Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins felt his team was good value for its 2-1 win over Canberra United in the Westfield W-League.
A 63rd-minute goal from Natasha Dowie proved to be the match-winner in the Round 1 clash at Epping Stadium on Saturday.
Kristen McNabb’s header had been cancelled out by Canberra forward Michelle Heyman in the first half.
Hopkins was pleased with his side’s performance, particularly in the second half.
“Obviously I’m very happy with three points,” he said.
“The game ebbed and flowed. We had a good start, got ourselves 1-0 up and Canberra came into it quite well and had the better of the first half. We were pretty glad to get to half-time.
“We had a few close calls there in the first half, but the girls sat down, we reorganised things a little bit in the second half and to their credit they came out and worked very hard, played to the game plan second half and most probably with our second-half performance, I think we deserved it.”
Dowie got on the end of a Casey Dumont clearance for the match-winner, scoring her 12th goal in Victory colours – just two shy of equaling the club’s all-time record.
Hopkins praised the likes of midfielder Christina Gibbons, right-back Gulcan Koca and 15-year-old attacker Kyra Cooney-Cross for their displays.
“Christina Gibbons was excellent for us. She’s a real leader out there. She’s just come into the side and she looked like she’d been playing there for a few years. She did very well for us and was pretty consistent,” he said.
“Gulcan at right-back, especially in the second half. She was a real good outlet for us, really showed her experience there and really helped us set the game at certain times.
“And a little bit of a shout out to Kyra Cooney-Cross, 15 years of age, to play the part that she played today and I think we saw that she’s got that little bit of x-factor she can pull out of the bag every now and then so congratulations to her for her first league game.”