Melbourne City has pulled off another big win in the Liberty A-League, comprehensively accounting for fellow Finals contender Perth Glory with a professional 4-0 win.
A cagey first half saw few chances until Rhianna Pollicina’s opener in stoppage time, before the visting City side was then able to capitalise on tiring Glory legs with three goals in the final third of the game, with Holly McNamra securing a brace and Hannah Wilkinson becoming the fastest player to 10 goals in A-League Women’s history.
As City’s return to Finals football appears all but guaranteed after the ‘six-point’ result, here’s what we learned from the day’s action:
Without Pollicina, we’d probably struggle.
This is far from a slight against her teammates, as it’s impossible to think of an underperforming player in the starting XI, but the truth is that Pollicina’s value as a creative midfield outlet and third goalscoring option is what designates City as one of the league’s standout teams rather than a mid-table battler.
Hannah Wilkinson is elite in her role as a target-player, but could be marked out of the game with planning. Holly McNamara is a mercurial presence in the final third, but won’t always have space in behind to exploit with her pace.
Pollicina is the differential, the unaccounted variable that teams over the past month have failed to deal with.
We mightn’t be at Sydney’s level, but having a star midfielder in Pollicina – in addition to a front two with complementing skillsets – is what has so far elevated us above the 4th to 7th finish that may have been predicted given how Season 2020/21 went.
Holly Mac is a special talent
Exciting young players come through the Liberty A-League every season, but there looks to be something seriously special about 18-year-old Holly McNamara.
The young striker has impressed us all with her pace and dribbling in 2021/22, but the fact that we’ve already seen further growth and development from her in the span of seven matches proves that McNamara won’t just be a flash in the pan.
At the beginning of the season, it was noted that the striker needed to work on her finishing as she passed up a handful of great one-on-one opportunities, but the finishing on display in this afternoon’s game against Perth was staggering.
Her composure and execution was that of a player far beyond her years, and she will continue to play like one if she keeps refining her edges so quickly at such a young age.
In the preview for this afternoon’s game, it was mentioned that, for all our seven wins and second-placed position, Melbourne City hadn’t been convincing as the league’s clear second-best team, and that fans still needed to be convinced with a strong performance against a Finals contender in Perth.
Four goals and a clean sheet later, the City girls have convinced us.
However, the situation has evolved since the final whistle of our game. Third-placed Adelaide United have just belted Brisbane Roar 8-2, whilst Melbourne Victory won their midweek game against Western Sydney Wanderers 5-0.
Before, this ‘lesson’ would have been about us establishing ourselves as the deserving second-placed, second-best team in the league.
Adelaide and Victory’s recent results, however, have now just about locked in the top four, and reminded us of the quality of all four sides.
The City girls may have convinced us with their performance today, but the Liberty A-League looks like it’s only just getting started.