'Heads Held High': Three things we learned - City vs Western United

It was a top-of-the-table clash that lived up to its billing on Saturday evening as Melbourne City took on Western United and the best attack in the league clashed with the best defence.


The football was end-to-end, the noise from the City fans was electric and an epic comeback was on the cards in an exciting clash at AAMI park.


Regardless of the deadlock that the game resulted in, shouts of 'game of the season contender' are already ringing out from pundits across the league.


So here's what we learned from the blockbuster game:


Source: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

Stick to your guns

It was a game that went to script in the first half an hour; John Aloisi's side was happy to afford us the lion's share of possession as we passed the ball around in the opposition's half searching for a path to goal, though we managed to threaten more times than our former manager would've expected.


Nevertheless, United managed to score from a corner after Leo Lacroix lost his man in a dash to the near post. Not long after, the 'home' side again found the back of the net, this time through the kind of devastating counter-attack they've become known for, with Dylan Pierias ripping Scott Jameson along the way.

Source: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

A start like this has been the death knell for every team to come up against Western this season but our lads showed great fighting spirit and if it wasn't for multiple goal-line clearances, crossbars that wouldn't get out of the way, and the goal-keeping heroics of Jamie Young, we would've come out on top.


We stuck to our game plan and arguably looked the best we have all season, moving the ball with great fluidity and understanding. Every single member of the team shone and Patrick Kisnorbo had the team humming along like a well-oiled machine. No one could argue we weren't the superior team on the day, and if it wasn't for two sucker-punches and a goalkeeping masterclass, we would've come out on top clear winners.


The lesson is this; stick to our game plan and, when we're at our best, we'll be able to beat anyone.


Race For The Plate

The performance was great, but whether the result was enough in the title race is another question.


Going into the game we knew this was a match we needed to win if we wanted to end the to-and-fro that's been going on at the top of the ladder all season - a genuine six-pointer game.


Looking at the scoreline half an hour in, City fans may be expected to be satisfied with a draw, but after Jamie Maclaren's equaliser in the 65th minute the game was all Melbourne City and a winner felt devastatingly within reach when the final whistle blew. Western United fans will be relieved to have gotten away with even a point.

Source: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

But in the big picture, that one point might be enough for them to seal the plate. With two games in hand, the team in green and black are only behind us on goal difference and haven't looked like faltering. That said, the season still has a ways to go and the plate is far from locked down.


Our spirited performance on Saturday could see a return to last season's form and take us onto a dream run home. Let's just hope the WU do us a favour and drop some points along the way, and if not, we at least know we can beat them in a one-on-one come Finals time.


This is our city

The City faithful showed up in force Saturday evening, sending a strong message to Western United that this is our home and they don't belong here. We outmatched our opponents in numbers and voice, packing together tightly in the northern stand we created an atmosphere worthy of our team's great performance.

Source: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

The boys in blue were clearly the more entertaining team and on the balance of play were the better team on the day, so despite the result not matching our high hopes, every City fan could walk away from that game with our heads held high.

 

With our last game against Western United for the season behind us, we can only do our best to win maximum points from here on out.


Next week is another must-win, both in terms of points and emotion as we face our true bitter rivals in the real Melbourne Derby against Melbourne Victory.


It'll be another electric atmosphere, and after that great performance, we must go into the game on Saturday expecting a win.



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