'Coming weeks will be telling': Three things we learned - Melbourne Derby
It was a hard fought game which has resulted in our first draw since 2020, where we witnessed an abundance of chances going both ways.
Neither team made the most of the huge amount of chances in the game, while our City girls worked hardest to maintain possession of the ball.
A definite advertisement for the league, this edition of the Melbourne Derby was played in front of what looked to be a healthy crowd at Casey Fields. The game started off with plenty of attacking football, mostly in favour of the visiting side, which led to an Alex Chidiac goal off the back of poor movement out of defence by City.
City took control of the possession, battling Victory's often toothless counterattacks as they came. At last, a fantastic pass by Daniela Galic - impressing every week - found Kaitlyn Torpey who cut the ball back towards New Zealand international Hannah Wilkinson who deservedly hit the back of the net to get off the mark this season.
The rest of the match can only be noted as back and forth. There were near misses, almost-worldies and hard-hitting challenges - and that wasn't even the best part. Imagine running in on goal with no one around you, and half-shooting the ball nowhere near the net. If you can't imagine doing that, maybe ask Melbourne Victory.
Here are the three things we learned from the Derby:
Not a complete side
This point may seem harsh as the girls have played their hearts out, putting in a great fight to win a point in the Derby. However, there is a glaring issue that needs to be addressed if we are to keep up with the league leaders, and challenge for the league title.
The City Football Group way (as simply put) is to maintain possession, rotate your positioning, and score goals. However, there is a serious lack of cohesiveness within this City squad between the transition of defence to attack. Due to this, we see a high rate of turnovers and slow movements between sections of the field.
Once that is sorted out, we will see plenty more ball in the forward half, and much more space in behind those defensive lines for Wilkinson and co. to work with. Until then, we are surely putting our heads on the chopping block, allowing teams to come at us a lot harder.
Hannah Wilkinson off the mark
It was only a matter of time; you simply cannot keep this level of talent silent for long. It was a fantastic strike too, first time effort at the edge of the box to find the bottom left corner. Left the defenders and keeper absolutely no time to react.
That is exactly what we have come to expect from our Kiwi international, who has rather had limited chances so far this season. Despite not having too many chances herself in the Melbourne Derby, Wilkinson made the most of the cutback by Torpey. Clinical.
With a resurgent Western Sydney Wanderers coming up next, hopefully the girls out wide will be able to find Wilkinson more often for these kinds of chances. Quick movements, no messing around. Welcome back, Wilko.
Premiers Plate still in reach?
As we have officially met the halfway point of this 18-game season, the question must be asked. Are we too far off the mark to successfully make a play at the Premiers Plate? This is entirely down to how we bounce back compared to Western United.
Our squad has shown its ability to come back from a loss, but we need to make an effort to remain consistent with winning results, and pick up our pace when moving between sections of the field. On the other hand, how will Western United react to their recent loss? We can only catch up if they slip again, of course. The coming weeks will be telling.
Overall, not all negatives, definitely some positives. Halfway through this season, there is still a lot of football to be played.