ALW Match Report: Western United 2-1 Melbourne City

Western United A-League Women

Western United secured an important win in the Liberty A-League Women, coming from behind at half-time to defeat Melbourne City 2-1.

Hannah Keane was rewarded for her high press with a goal to level the scores just after the interval before Sydney Cummings scored her fourth of the season with an 86th-minute penalty.

The win ensures United remains on top of the Liberty A-League table and sees United five points clear of City at the summit.

Team News

There were five changes to the starting XI as Mark Torcaso reverted back to a more regular-looking line-up for this game.

Jaclyn Sawicki returned to the lead the team out while Alana Cerne and Aimee Medwin were restored to the defence. Danielle Steer and Tyla Jay Vlajnic returned to the front three either side of Keane.

First Half

Being a Melbourne derby and a top of the table clash, both sides came out with the goal of taking the early ascendancy with plenty of early challenges and changes of possession.

City gained some forward territory in the first few minutes and had two big openings, the first of which was closed by an Alana Cerne clearance but the second needed a more last-ditch effort from Hillary Beall to sweep the danger away.

The visitors had the ball in Beall’s net soon after but a delayed flag confirmed an offside in the build-up and the goal was routinely ruled out.

United began to gain more joy in possession after the first 10 minutes and was able to use Keane as an outlet with her strength and hold-up play in central areas creating space for her teammates on the outside.

Both sides continued to battle it out but City maintained the larger threat of opening the scoring and finally broke United’s resistance just before half-time.

After the Green and Black had cleared away a similar opening moments earlier, City broke through down the left-hand side before working the ball back across the box where Leticia McKenna buried a strike from just outside the box into the bottom corner.

City nearly added a second before the break but Beall was on hand to make another strong save as United entered the break with work to do.

Second Half

United did get to work immediately after the restart and found the equaliser within three minutes via a familiar source.

Keane put Sally James under pressure in the City goal and forced an errant pass which she quickly controlled before powering a strike into the back of the net to haul United level.

That goal sparked both teams into action as City went up the end straight after kick-off and had a couple of shots blocked, while United looked sharper in the final third.

United continued to improve in the second half and was pressing City’s backline with far greater success while looking to penetrate with early through balls in the channels.

A lovely bit of interplay in midfield saw the ball worked out to Vlajnic on the left and after her strong drive was saved well by James, Keane came onto the rebound and fired over the crossbar as City got away with it.

The match remained finely poised heading into the last 10 minutes and Beall made another crucial intervention, coming well outside her box to block a City effort.

That proved to be a crucial moment as United went on the attack shortly after and scored what proved to be the winner.

Kahli Johnson made an immediate impact off the bench, teasing her defender before her cross struck a City hand in the box and resulted in a penalty for United.

Cummings confidently stepped up from centre-back and tucked away the spot kick with aplomb before United saw out the remainder of the game to claim a priceless three points.