Western United scored a massive 4-1 win over Melbourne Victory in Round 11 of the Liberty A-League to shoot up to third on the table.
After holding off some early pressure from Victory, United asserted its dominance and powered past its rival in a rampant display.
Keiwa Hieda opened the scoring just after the half hour mark and Adriana Taranto made it 2-0 in a trice as the Green and Black put the foot down.
On a day where Matildas stars collided, it was Chloe Logarzo that stood above the rest as she scored twice in the second half to cap off a five-star individual performance.
Victory pulled one back late on but there was no threat to the result as Western United claimed its third win in a row against Victory in the Liberty A-League.
Kat Smith made two changes to the starting XI, her first two as Western United manager with Hieda and Emma Robers coming into the line-up.
Julia Sardo dropped to the bench and Hannah Keane missed entirely. After 30 straight appearances for United, Keane was out of the squad for the first time managing a soft issue injury.
Melbourne Victory got off to a fast start, bringing much of the early attacking impetus to keep Western United on the back foot.
Paige Zois had the first chance of the contest when she was played into space on the right wing but Hillary Beall made a smart save with her leg to keep the effort out.
Victory remained on the front foot but United’s defensive shape was able to ensure there was no undue pressure on Beall’s goal.
That allowed the Green and Black to slowly settle into the contest and Smith’s side took the game by the scruff of the neck following the first-half drinks break, thanks largely to Logarzo taking over proceedings.
The breakthrough came in the 32nd minute when Grace Maher stepped forward from centre-back and delivered a perfect ball over the top of Victory’s defence for Hieda to run onto.
With pace, strength and an unerring finish, Hieda kept Emma Checker at bay and slotted beyond Lydia Williams and into the bottom corner of the net.
United had well and truly seized control of the contest and doubled the lead two minutes later. Jaclyn Sawicki won the ball back high up the pitch, gave it off to Logarzo who threaded a perfect through ball to Adriana Taranto, and she did the rest with a devastating low finish.
Logarzo was a coat of paint away from having a second assist in as many minutes when she picked out Sawicki with an excellent cross, but the co-captain link-up just couldn’t bring about a goal as Sawicki’s header slammed against the post.
The Green and Black continued to dominate for the remainder of the first half and went into the break looking for more of the same in the second 45.
More of the same was exactly what Smith got as her side began the second period in equally ravenous fashion with Hieda stinging the palms of Courtney Newbon, who replaced the injured Williams in Victory’s goal at half-time.
United kept their foot on the floor in attack and Hieda was in the thick of it again when she stopped and propped and bamboozled Checker in the box before being brought down and winning a penalty.
A great deal of credit had to go to Alana Cerne for a crunching tackle on Alex Chidiac and an excellent ball to release Hieda, and Logarzo promptly placed the ball on the spot and dispatched her penalty with aplomb.
Victory issued a timely reminder that they would not lie down almost immediately from the kick-off when Mackenzie Weinert cut inside onto her right foot and rifled a strike onto the crossbar from long-range.
That scare did nothing to deter Western United’s attacking play and Logarzo had her second in quick time, lunging to finish expertly in the box from Adriana Taranto’s pinpoint, arching cross.
Victory did have something to celebrate when Rachel Lowe pulled one back with a heavily deflected effort with little more than 10 minutes to play.
While Beall had to make a couple of late saves, the result was never in doubt for Western United after an electric display.