Micah heroics rescues point for City against misfiring Roar in opener
Brisbane Roar hit the woodwork four times and were denied by the inspired Teagan Micah as Champions and Premiers, Melbourne City, clung on their 17-match undefeated streak in a 0-0 draw in the Westfield W-League opener.
Tameka Yallop and ex-Bayern Munich star Emily Gielnik, playing her first Westfield W-League match in almost two years, both crashed first-half efforts off the frame and Westfield Matildas goalkeeper Micah produced heroics at Dolphin Stadium to keep a relentless Roar scoreless.
Brisbane were guilty of not converting their chances, landing only two of their 12 first-half efforts on target during a dominant opening 45 minutes. Jake Goodship’s side continued to put the City goal under siege after the interval with Katrina Gorry next to rattle the crossbar before Micah’s fingertips diverted Yallop’s rifled shot on to the woodwork and over.
Rhali Dobson, one of two City players fielded that were part of the 2020 Grand Final-winning match day squad, came close to landing a sucker punch in a rare attack by Rado Vidosic’s newly-assembled side, incomparable to the team that lifted their record fourth Championship 282 days ago.
City were left desperately hanging on as both sides tired in the closing stages in front of a vocal crowd in Redcliffe but Roar, the last side to defeat the Premiers and Champions, were not able to find the killer touch they did in January 2019, after raining in a total of 27 shots on goal to City's six.
After making the move back home from Norwegian outfit Arna-Bjørnar this off-season, 23-year-old Micah made seven saves in a remarkable club debut to ensure the points were shared in the curtain raiser of the Westfield W-League’s 13th season, as City's 13-game winning stretch came to a halt.
An experienced Roar side wasted no time taking it to the newly-assembled Premiers with the returning Emily Gielnik chipping the ball across goal from Winonah Heatley’s cutback and Tameka Yallop slammed a volley off the underside of the crossbar from close range inside two minutes.
The action continued in the same vein as Mariel Hecher prodded wide from Gienlik’s cross and Yallop bent an effort wide from distance with City battling against the strong wind and pinned back deep in their own territory. Gielnik was next to give Westfield Matildas goalkeeper Teagan Micah a scare, drilling a shot off the woodwork and out to safety on the quarter-hour mark.
City were under pressure but captain Jenna McCormick and her defence were repelling Roar’s advances and the away side finally forced their first sight of goal in the 27th minute when Rhali Dobson collected Sarah Cain’s through ball and stung the hands of Brisbane keeper Georgina Worth, before ex-Roar midfielder Palmer gathered the rebound and flashed an effort wide.
Margot Robinne dragged an shot into the side-netting as City showed more signs of life but the Champions were back into desperation mode as Tori Tumeth valiantly threw her body across goal to block Leticia McKenna’s close-range strike, Micah made a last-gasp block with McKenna bearing down on goal and Yallop lifted a gilt-edge chance over the bar from four yards out.
The hosts picked up where they left off after the interval. Gielnik lashed a pair of efforts off target, Katrina Gorry saw her stinging strike bounce back off the crossbar and Micah pushed Yallop's deflected strike off the frame of her goal and over, the fourth time the woodwork had been hit.
Gorry sent another dangerous shot whistling narrowly over on 65 minutes and Micah got a pair of strong hands on the Westfield Matildas playmaker's next effort from 12 yards out, before Dobson sent a rare City effort skidding over the Roar goal from distance. Brazilian futsal star Hecher saw her speculative effort deflected wide in the 74th minute and Micah had the final word with time expiring, clutching Isobel Dalton's well-hit strike firmly into her arms to preserve City's clean sheet.