She protecc, she attacc, but most of all she Steph Cat

theladiesleague

What is the point of Melbourne City?

Okay, maybe that seems harsh given that they won the game. They’ve also won the championship three of the four years they’ve been involved. Yet… they’re just so boring? A team with so many stars shouldn’t be so bloody stodgy. I just get angry every time I have to watch them. 

Now that’s out of my system… to the game.

City started with a 3 at the back system which sought to play to the strengths of their superstar wingback duo of Ellie Carpenter and Steph Catley. At first glance, it looked to be working a treat. They were able to press forward with even their centre backs getting involved (Stotty!) and looked like they would suffocate Canberra out of the game.

For all of their possession and their field position with the ball, they just didn’t create the chances you would expect. They weren’t helped by an incredible performance in goal by Canberra keeper Sham Khamis mind you, but their inability to convert their early dominance let Canberra into the game. Camila and Charley didn’t need a second invitation. Everything good for Canberra came through those two. Camila spent the game bullying anyone who dared look at her and Charley spent the game breaking ankles and ruining careers.

When Canberra scored first after the half time break it wasn’t terribly unexpected. On paper City were dominating the game but the girls in green were always a threat and they proved it not long into the second half. Camila decided to shoot farken from a distance where she shouldn’t have gotten close. While it didn’t go in, it clattered off the crossbar to fall on the feet of Katie Stengel (StenGOAL) who really couldn’t miss. Good for the soul, good for my W League fantasy team. 1-0 to Canberra.

Full disclosure – I didn’t see Melbourne City’s equaliser live, because of a break related to the horrendous food poisoning that I’ve had all weekend. Out of pettiness, I didn’t really want to watch the replay. According to the W League twitter, there was some sort of through ball that Serbian international Mijatovic got on the end of and scored. So… I guess that’s what happened. Journalism.

The last part of the game was end-to-end. Of course, the two teams approached it in different ways. City pressed with their whole team, trying to find a break through intricate passing and possession football. Canberra just gave the ball to Simone Charley and let her run through 5 players. Like, fuck me, what a player. 

At one stage Steph Catley ended up playing as a 9 for City which tells you the STATE OF THIS FUCKING TEAM.

Of course, because City are City, they still found a way to win. In the 93rd minute, Kinga found her way into the box and was bundled over by a tired looking Canberra defence. Could Sham Khamis pull another incredible save out of the bag? It was a Matilda (Van Egmond) taking the penalty, so it wasn’t out of the question that it would be missed. I mean honestly, I was almost expecting it at this point. Nice has scarred me forever.

Sham Khamis dove the right way but the penalty had too much power and found a way to squeeze under her outstretched arm. With almost the last kick of the game, City had found a way to win.

I’m sure my feelings about City have been made abundantly clear throughout the whole article but there’s no reason why they can’t turn it around. If Kyah Simon can find a way to recapture her form of old when she returns to full fitness, she could form a formidable partnership with Milica Mijatovic. Van Egmond playing as a 10, is just, *chefs kiss*. They don’t have to be so tedious. If they’re going to compete with the likes of Sydney this year, I suspect they won’t be able to.

It was a spirited performance from Canberra who shouldn’t be too upset about the whole thing. They are young and chaotic but they are fun, and they will score goals, and they will get better. On the evidence of the first two games if you can get down to McKellar you’re in for a treat.

How much for the overnight bus from Melbourne to Canberra again?

By Taryn Heddo

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