City all but eliminated from Westfield W-League 2018/19 finals race despite win
A wet and windy WIN Stadium has yielded fruitless results for both Sydney FC and Melbourne City, strikes to Yukari Kinga and Tameka Butt the difference in a 2-0 win on Thursday Night.
The result erases any hopes Sydney had of lifting the Westfield W-League 2018/19 Premiers Plate, whilst also eliminating their chances of a home semi-final.
For City, the result all but eliminates the visitors from the Westfield W-League 2018/19 Finals race, requiring their cross-town rivals to demolish Perth Glory by five goals away from home to qualify.
However, it may have been a different result for Melbourne had Kinga converted an early spot-kick for the visiting side.
With a brutal Wollongong wind favouring the visitors in the first half, City went on an all-out offensive.
Lydia Williams was called into action first however, the City shot-stopper batting away a through-on-goal Princess Ibini stinger.
The game-changing penalty occurred soon after in the 12th minute, Danielle Colaprico adjudged to have made illegal contact with Tameka Butt as Elise Kellond-Knight sent in a dangerous low free-kick.
But Kinga fired wide left, Aubrey Bledsoe's early dive to her right perhaps forcing the Japanese international to skew her shot further wide.
Rebekah Stott created two of the best chances for Melbourne in the half. The New Zealander hit an in-swinging corner flush on the volley, only for the shot to be cleared on the line by Sydney captain Teresa Polias.
Stott was thereabouts again later in the half, charging up the field and beating Polias with a handful of jukes before the shot sizzled past the top right corner.
City continued to pepper the goal with threatening play, shots on target from Helen Caceres and Jasmyne Spencer no real challenge for Bledsoe in goal.
As the weather found another gear - pouring rain - in the second half, the away side were unable to do likewise.
It took until the 67th minute for City to fashion their first real opportunity for the half, but Rado Vidosic's side made the most of the chance.
Spencer's threatening cross from the right forced Bledsoe to parry toward the feet of the onrushing Kinga, the FIFA Women's World Cup winner bundling the ball home to reignite their faint hopes.
In contrast to the theme of the night, it was Sydney who enjoyed a spell of dominance over the next 15 minutes, Sofia Huerta forcing Kennedy into a phenomenal save to defend the top right corner of her net from a gorgeous curling shot.
City netted another in the 86th minute, Theresa Nielsen dashing into the box past Ally Green before cutting a low cross in for Butt to tidily finish for her first goal of the night.
Despite the bleak outlook, Melbourne continued to battle until the very end, Rhali Dobson forcing a fine save out of Bledsoe in stoppage time with a header low to the left corner.