Western United fell to a 2-0 defeat against Melbourne Victory in its final pre-season friendly before the Liberty A-League Women season opener next week.
After an intense contest, Victoria took the ascendancy in the second half and scored twice after the hour mark to secure the win.
Both sides started gradually following the first whistle, building into the game and looking to string together patterns of possession.
Victory settled perhaps the quicker of the two teams, taking on more possession and looking to stretch United’s defence.
Despite giving up possession in the middle third of the pitch, United defended stoutly and ensured Alyssa Dall’Oste’s goal was not troubled, with two good saves from long-range efforts the only work she was required to do in the first half.
Western United carried a significant threat on the counter attack and Hannah Keane got the better of Victory’s defence on a number of occasions. One in particular brought about a sharp save from Lydia Williams, with the Matildas goalkeeper flinging out a foot to deny Keane at her near post.
The Green and Black enjoyed the better of the final part of the first half and Adriana Taranto had a sighter on goal, turning Kayla Morrison brilliantly before trying to lob Williams from distance.
Keiwa Hieda was one of the liveliest players on the pitch and came as close as anyone to creating the opening goal when she made a move down the right wing before firing a ball across goal, but nobody was on the end of it to break the deadlock before the break.
Victory quickly moved to a higher gear at the start of the second half, penning United’s defence in and forcing a number of hurried clearances to rid the danger.
Dall’Oste was on hand again to deny Mackenzie Weinert and Rachel Lowe before Keane nearly engineered an opener when she stepped in front of Williams to intercept Emma Checker’s underhit backpass. Victory’s defence ultimately recovered and scrambled the ball to safety.
That was a big moment for United, making Victory’s sucker punch moments later all the more ill-timed.
United allowed Victory time on the ball and Beattie Goad sent a cross into the box towards Lowe who put the ball beyond Dall’Oste with a clinical half-volley.
Mark Torcaso’s side enjoyed its best spell of the second half in the immediate aftermath of that goal but couldn’t turn a number of corners and free-kicks in promising positions into definitive chances on goal.
Victory then had the final say essentially right on the final whistle when Kurea Okino headed home from a corner, Goad again providing the delivery.
All eyes for United will now be on next week’s Liberty A-League Round 1 clash against Perth Glory as the Green and Black seeks to embark on another successful season in the competition.
Photos via Melbourne Victory