This was always a game that was going to be interesting. Adelaide have been not quite good enough all season, losing by slim margins in a way that suggests that they are seriously missing their talisman from last year, Veronica Latsko. They’re young and exciting and unpredictable.
Melbourne Victory, meanwhile, are a team on the up. After experiencing a wobbly start to the season after a large squad turnover and losing their own midfield maestro Christine Nairn, as well as having to contend with the first ever women’s Asian Champions League, they had won their last two games and were looking for a third.
Victory were looking for a win to join fourth-placed Brisbane on 14 points while Adelaide were looking for something – anything – to drag them up from the foot of the table.
Let’s not forget that this game was also going to be important for another reason. It was, despite what Australian selectors seem to believe, the battle of the two best goalkeepers in the league – Willacy and Dumont. Would their last-ditch efforts make a difference to the outcome of the game?
Victory started the game the better of the two teams, dominating possession and field position, and it wasn’t long before it showed on the scoreboard. After a period of prolonged pressure Amy Jackson cut back to none other than Natasha Dowie, and given that this is Dowie FC we all know how it ended. The English Dub legend gave Willacy no chance at all and calmly put the ball into the back of the net.
It was the story of the first half, really. Victory were in control for the whole first half and could have had more. Willacy did well but the Vuck were in cruise control, keeping possession and making sure that their lead would be preserved.
They could have extended their lead a few minutes into the second half. Victory broke through Dowie, who found Rosie Sutton in acres of space. Her shot was heading bottom corner but Willacy is a genius and was able to get down low and tip it past the post. The battle of the goalkeepers was on.
Anything good for Adelaide was going through Malory Weber. She’s a bit like what Simone Charley does for Canberra. She’s fast, a good dribbler, and can cause huge issues. They really looked like they were missing Mary Fowler up front. There was no outlet for Weber’s creativity and they looked a little lost up front.
Victory, however, were far from lost. They continued pressing for that second goal. They could have easily had their second through Longo but Julia Ashley managed to clear the ball off the line somehow, keeping her side in the game. Adelaide were hanging on by the skin of their teeth but as long as the score remained only 1-0 they were still in the game.
Unfortunately, it didn’t remain that way for long. Willacy skewed a clearance and conceded a corner. It ended up at the feet of Jenna McCormack, who hit a well timed shot against her hometown club only for Rosie Sutton to turn it in on her birthday. Just call Sutton Harry Kane, hey? Stealing goals left right and centre.
I guess that skewed clearance means that Dumont won the battle of the keepers… or maybe the previous save made up for it. I don’t know.
The nail in the coffin for Adelaide came with the third goal. Privatelli found the head of Jenkins, who headed it across goal for Dowie to volley in. It was a great goal, actually, and it was what the Vuck deserved for a good day out.
It’s an unfortunate result for the Reds but unlike other games, they were comprehensively outplayed here. They completely lacked any creativity going forward and while Weber provided some spark, they never really looked like scoring.
Victory on the other hand have now won 3 on the bounce and can look forward to a late finals push. If they can continue this form into the back end of the season, they could be the team to spring late season surprises. They’d want nothing more than to play like this in the second Melbourne derby, too…
By Taryn Heddo