Melbourne City have made it two wins in a row for the first time this season, downing Perth Glory in a 0-1 affair away from home.
Rhali Dobson emerged as the hero, latching on to an Alex Chidiac through-ball to finish calmly past the Perth keeper to score her first goal since her double against Canberra in December 2018.
Here’s what we learned from the game:
A strange old season
If we were to rank the team’s performances each round this season, these last two weeks – despite having six points to show for it – wouldn’t be anywhere near the top.
In fact, we’d argue that these last four or five games – more or less since we lost Harriet Withers to injury – have actually been our worst (mostly in attacking terms) this campaign, alongside the 6-0 Derby loss.
We’re yet to overcome the frustrating process of stringing together a decent attacking transition only to play a stubborn game of hot potato at the edge of the area with nobody wanting to take the initiative.
The two goals that HAVE proven the differential and earned us the six points haven’t explicitly come as a result of good attacking play, per sé; Kira proved her quality with an incredible – and highly-unlikely – finish whilst Dobson’s goal, despite comprising of a great finish by the winger and a classy assist by Chidiac, originated from a Glory defensive error that afforded us the opportunity.
Our point is that we were playing a far better brand of football earlier this campaign – look no further than our 2-3 loss to Brisbane or the unfortunate last-minute goal we conceded to lose 2-1 to Canberra – without reward, but are somehow now picking up points despite inferior performances.
Ok, now that we’ve got the negativity out of the way, let’s give some deserved praise where it’s due...
Defensively, we’re getting to where we thought we’d be
With a GK/backline consisting of Teagan Micah, Emma Checker, Jenna McCormick, Sam Johnson, TJ Vlajnic and Teigen Allen, we were certain pre-season that our defence would be the tightest in the league, but it certainly hasn’t panned out that way.
After an initial 0-0 result against Brisbane Roar in Round 1, it wouldn’t be until our Round 12 clash with Newcastle that we’d record a second clean sheet of the campaign, and by that stage it was far too late for defensive performances to save our season.
The pleasing thing is that we’ve managed to turn things around defensively over the past two weeks even without the star power of Micah, Allen and Johnson, the latter of which has made way for young Naomi Chinnama to emerge as a bright spot for City in an otherwise dark season.
Tori Tumeth has also really grown into her role as a wing-back, whilst colossal performances from our leaders Checker and McCormick have served as the backbone for our turnaround in form.
As a unit, the side is also pressing more effectively, forcing turnovers in dangerous areas when executing our offensive press whilst making it hard for opposition playmakers to expose our backline when we harry and pressure in more defensive situations.
Chidiac’s reminding us that she’s a star
Without doubt the standout player from last night’s game, Alex Chidiac has really come to the fore over these past two games.
Dynamite in midfield, Chidiac was the driving force in City’s best transitional moments and showed her class to evade her opponents and play an exquisite pass through for Rhali Dobson’s matchwinning goal.
Chidiac has shown that she still has the capacity to determine games by herself and another performance like last night’s will just about guarantee a positive result when we play our final game of the season against Perth again next week.