24/04/2024

Hannah Wilkinson became just the second woman to kick five goal in an A-League Women match against Melbourne Victory. (Photo: Melbourne City FC/Twitter)

Melbourne City striker Hannah Wilkinson has etched her name into the A-League Women history books, and shot clear to the top of the Golden Boot while she's at it.

Hannah Wilkinson has achieved what only one other woman has before, scoring five goals in an A-League Women match.

She joins WNSL and ALW veteran Kate Gill in the illustrious club after she solely held the record for over seven years. Playing for Perth Glory, Gill scored her five goals against the Western Sydney Wanderers in 2014.

Wilkinson’s haul was the first hat-trick of the 2021/22 A-League Women season at half time, after Michelle Heyman (Canberra United), Emily Gielnik (Brisbane Roar), and Melina Ayres (Melbourne Victory) added their own last season.

The Football Ferns veteran had already scored twice prior to Sunday’s destruction of Melbourne Victory, scoring a brace the previous week in the win over Adelaide United.

Wilkinson has now rocketed up to the top of the Golden Boot rankings after scoring a combined seven goals in two games.

Every goal tortured Victory keeper Casey Dumont just a little bit more, as Wilkinson combined strongly with teammates time after time.

Holly McNamara was at the forefront dishing it off, substituted off in the 69th minute after notching up assist after assist.

The first goal came as much off the youngster’s boot as her experienced teammate, playing a perfect ball between two Victory defenders as Wilkinson baulked to the left of Dumont, and slid it past in the fifth minute.

The second came from possibly one of the strangest assists Australian football has seen this year.

McNamara pushed up to the box to pressure Dumont as she went to clear the ball long, and quickly had the kick directed straight to her head.

The deflection fell into empty space, which Wilkinson ran onto and chipped over the top of the luckless keeper for her second.

Not even Dumont’s teammates were on her side, as the hat trick goal came off a circus of errors.

Emma Checker played a long ball clean over the midfield as Wilkinson timed her run perfectly. Tiffany Eliadis kept the body on her opponent, but collided with the oncoming Dumont and ruined any chances of killing the play.

With 26 minutes played, Wilkinson had her hat trick.

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“She was five-star,” Melbourne City assistant coach Dario Vidosic said of Wilkinson post-game.

“We are happy for her. It was always coming, she was excellent in Round 1. She was again excellent, putting herself in great positions.”

Half time was barely a reprieve for the under siege Victory side, as Wilkinson scored yet again within 11 minutes of the second half kick off.

Not to be outdone by herself, she took on Dumont one-on-one once again, flicking it over the top in an audacious and slightly cheeky finish. And you’ll never guess who assisted it, again.

After heading to the bench for a well deserved rest, McNamara gave someone else a chance to feed the ball Wilkinson’s way.

Tyla-Jay Vlajnic put the ball through to Wilkinson in the box, shooting it straight past Dumont in one fluid motion.

It was a performance that simply had to be seen to be believed. The chemistry demonstrated between McNamara in just her fourth game and the experienced Wilkinson drove City from start to finish.

There were nine other players on the pitch however, with four substitutions made.

Rebekah Stott played excellently through central while also falling back to support the back three, often helping to create a back five on defence and allowing Winonah Heatley and Tori Tumeth to play wider.

Stott successfully completed 70 per cent of her passes, won 50 per cent of her duels, and made four interceptions and a clearance.

Leah Davidson played an aggressive role on dangerous Victory midfielder Alex Chidiac to great success, keeping the opposition playmaker largely ineffective.

Melissa Barbieri didn’t have much to do in goals, facing just three shots on targets but unfortunately failing to keep a clean sheet, one of the few lowlights for the game.

With the win, City have won three of their first four games, and shot up to second place on the table.

Even with a squad that was largely impacted by a sudden COVID spread over Christmas, they’ve shown the depth to compete with the very best in the reigning champions.

The next test: the Newcastle Jets, at home at the Kingston Heath Soccer Complex.

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