Defending champions Melbourne Victory have gotten off the mark for A-League Women’s season 2022/23 cruising past the Wellington Phoenix 1-0 in hot conditions at Epping Stadium.
The Victory has gotten off to a surprisingly slow start to the new campaign, coming into the clash with losses to new kids on the block Western United and fierce rivals Sydney FC, the Victory were eager to turn their fortunes around and would put in an encouraging performance to end their winless run.
It was a complete performance from the home side who adapted better to the scorching conditions. Boasting the majority of the possession, they control most of the game, finishing the game with an additional 11 shots on goal. Additionally having looked shaky at the back in their opening two games, they look far more comfortable defensively against the Nix, restricting the visitors to just three shots on goal.
Though Jeff Hopkins’s side would be pleased to be back on the winners list, they’d be coming out of the fixture hoping to have gotten more reward for effort with the scoreline not a true reflection of the Victory’s dominance. Registering 14 shots on goal, six of which were on target, and having won nine corners, the game was mostly played in their attacking half.
Signs were ominous early for the Phoenix, having started on the back foot with Beattie Goad and Alex Chidiac going close to breaking the deadlock in the early stages of the game. Having been denied several times by Nix keeper Brianna Edwards, the Victory would finally score the opening goal of the contest on the brink of halftime.
Winning a corner deep into stoppage time in the opening half, Goad putting in a dangerous cross into the centre of the box, Melina Ayres finishing off the set-piece with a header into the bottom left corner finally getting the better of Edwards.
It’d be the home side’s first goal of the season, having failed to find the net in their opening two fixtures of the season, the Victory would end their goalless run in addition to their winless run.
Putting her side 1-0 ahead going into the main break, it would prove to be the match-winning goal, despite their dominance of the contest continuing in the second half, the Victory failed to add another goal to their tally, with Edwards coming up with save after save to try and keep her side in the contest.
Having withstood a barrage of Victory’s attack, Edwards would make six saves and have a brilliant day between the sticks, but with her side failing to muster much on the opposite end, Wellington was unable to get anything out of the game.
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For the Victory, the Victory there were several standout performances from the win, attacking midfielder Alex Chidiac leading the way, having been utilised on the right side of the pitch, he’d sure caused headaches for Wellington across the right flank throughout the afternoon.
Having been down on her usual input in the opening rounds of the 2022/23 campaign, she’d be far more influential in Round Three. Though no goal contribution to her name, though she’d come close in the opening moments of the game to scoring, she was still immense. Finishing the game with a 97 percent pass completion rating, she’d also register nine ball recoveries, working hard defensively to win back possession.
Registering her first goal contribution since returning back to the club, Goad was also influential playing further afield on the left wing, she’d put in her best performance of the campaign thus far. Having been solid with starring against Western United and Sydney in the past two weeks, the 25-year-old had a larger influence against the Phoenix, playing out her best game since returning back to the club.
Ayres was dangerous up front, creating chances and scoring the aforementioned winning goal while Elise Kellond-Knight was also impressive in midfield on the left-hand side.
After two rough weeks, it appears this new look Victory side is starting to gel together with this win hopefully enough to spur on the side and get their campaign back on track.
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