Melbourne Victory looks to build on a strong win when it hosts City in a Westfield W-League Derby clash on Saturday.
Victory returned to form to finish 2018, recording a 2-1 win over Perth Glory to move top of the table.
Captain Natasha Dowie scored a brace to move onto eight goals this season, while Victory’s defence was superb.
Midfielders Dani Weatherholt and Christine Nairn set up Dowie’s double, with the latter now having provided three assists this campaign.
Victory has four regular-season matches remaining, beginning with the Derby at Epping Stadium.
It goes into Round 10 with a one-point lead atop the table.
Victory picked up a couple of injury worries against Perth, with Lia Privitelli and Nairn needing treatment.
The back four of Teigen Allen, Laura Alleway, Samantha Johnson and Angela Beard stood up against a strong Glory attack.
Alleway had a game-high 12 clearances during the win, with only Rachel Hill’s 90th-minute goal spoiling a clean sheet for Victory.
Victory, which has won its past three games at Epping Stadium, faces a City side sitting fifth on the table at the end of Round 9.
Head coach Jeff Hopkins’ pre-match thoughts
fitness update, including Nairn and Privitelli…
“Both of them were a little bit tender the day after the game when we came in, but both recovered really well so I expect both of them to be fit for the game so it’s all good. We should be going in with a fully fit squad again, which has been a bit of a highlight for us. We’ve managed the girls very well, our medical, sports science people have been great so it makes my job a lot easier when we’ve got the full quota to choose from.”
defensive improvement against Perth…
“We worked on a few things. I think you could see in the players’ attitude they were determined to make sure that right from the start the defensive side of things was looked after. We spoke about it before the game, when our energy, our intensity is up and we match that with good organisation, it’s almost like the possession side of things looks after itself. It’s really important we get that other side of the game right and it was excellent against Perth. I think there was a determination to prove something from the previous couple of games, which was really good, and once we got the defensive side of things organised correctly, it put us in a good position to win the ball in good areas of the field and go forward from there. Obviously the two things are linked, nice and positive winning the ball back higher up the field and obviously a lot closer to our opponent’s goal to attack when we win the ball as well.”
return to Epping Stadium…
“We enjoy playing there. It’s a little bit smaller ground, normally generates a little bit better atmosphere, it’s always a great playing surface there. Some grounds just feel right and I know we’ve had good experiences there against City in the past so it’s good to be back there and we’re looking forward to the game.”
Westfield W-League 2018/19 Round 3
City 0-2 Melbourne Victory
Friday, November 16, 2018
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Victory produced an excellent performance in the Derby earlier this season.
It scored once in each half through an Elise Kellond-Knight own goal and Emily Gielnik strike to secure three points.
As it stands
Melbourne Victory v City
Epping Stadium, Melbourne
Saturday, January 5, 2019
Kick-off: 4.00pm AEDT