Western United secured a famous win in its first ever Liberty A-League Women match on Saturday afternoon, defeating Melbourne Victory 1-0.
In front of a near 3,000 strong crowd at City Vista Pavilion, Jessica McDonald scored the only goal of the game early in the second half when she pounced on a loose ball to tuck the ball into the corner.
In incredibly windy conditions, United’s defence was impenetrable and held onto the clean sheet, giving the Green and Black the three points against the reigning Champions.
Hillary Beall was one of five Liberty A-League debutants in the starting XI as she led the team out onto the pitch as captain, with Jaclyn Sawicki fit for the bench after a knock to her knee during pre-season.
Chloe Logarzo joined Sawicki on the bench and looked to make her first club appearance in over a year.
A strong wind blowing towards Western United’s goal was a significant factor in the first half and made it difficult for the Green and Black to clear its lines and play long.
After a brief spell of Victory possession early in the contest, United began to see more of the ball but the visitors had a strong early chance 15 minutes in.
After Alex Chidiac weaved her way into the back, the Matilda squared the ball for Melina Ayres in the box but the striker’s effort sailed well over the crossbar.
Mark Torcaso’s side began to gain more control on the ball and Hannah Keane began to show her potency, pinching a number of interceptions high up the pitch to get United forward.
One such occasion saw Keane fend off a couple of Victory defenders and fire a ball across the box, but it was just too high for McDonald has the ball skimmed the top of her head as she tried to head it.
Keane then had United’s two biggest chances just after the half hour, the first flying inches past the junction of crossbar and post and the second dragging just wide, with both efforts coming in quick succession.
United’s defence held strong to resist any Victory pressure with the wind and got into half-time with the deadlock yet to be broken.
United immediately took advantage of the wind in the second half and hit the lead barely 10 minutes after the restart.
Melissa Taranto recycled a deep free-kick with a dangerous ball back into the box and after Keane’s initial effort was saved, McDonald pounced on the loose ball to tuck home the first ever Western United Liberty A-League goal.
Victory began to push forward in search of an equaliser and Chidiac had a huge chance to find it around the hour mark but skewed her shot wide with her opposite foot.
United’s midfield was able to control possession and limit Victory’s forays forward and added Logarzo’s quality off the bench with around 25 minutes remaining.
The No.6 swung in a series of dangerous set pieces but the second goal continued to evade Western United, with Victory going back the other way in search of a late leveller.
But United’s defence held firm with Beall in fine form in goal as the Green and Black held onto the clean sheet and secured a famous win.