Melbourne City have bounced back in a big way defeating Melbourne Victory in a highly entertaining 3-2 win at Epping Stadium.
A week after a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of their opponents, Harriet Withers slotted the ball home in the dying moments to seal a much-needed W-League win for City.
It was a tale of two halves as Melbourne City dominated the first half and had a 2-0 lead at the break thanks to goals from new signing Alex Chidiac and an own-goal from Claudia Bunge.
Victory powered back into the contest after half-time as Melinda Barbieri and Catherine Zimmerman both scored early contenders for goal of the season.
City had the last laugh thanks to Withers’ late goal in a hotly contested affair, claiming bragging rights in the second Melbourne Derby of the season.
However, the game was marred by an ugly moment in the final minutes when Victory fans threw bottles – including at least one which appeared to be made of glass – and cans towards City keeper Teagan Micah.
The game was stopped for around five minutes as the referee approached security to deal with the fan group, and then discussed the scary situation with captains from both teams.
Players from both teams appealed to the fans not to continue their dangerous actions, before one official delivered a searing bake at the Victory supporters.
City came out of the blocks the more aggressive of the two sides and were led brilliantly by stand-in captain Jenna McCormick from the back while Chidiac and Rhali Dobson provided plenty of energy in attack.
Their tenacious approach was rewarded in the 21st minute when Chidiac got on the end of a deflected effort by Chinatsu Kira and coolly put the ball into the back of the net.
Only four minutes later the lead was doubled as Kira got in behind the Victory defence and her cross was turned in by Bunge for an own goal.
Victory responded almost instantly as Melina Ayers forced a fantastic reflex save from Teagan Micah and again the Matildas goalkeeper stood firm in the 38th minute.
Barbieri came close to pulling one back but her free-kick was saved by Micah to maintain their two-goal advantage at the break.
After the break, Barbieri wouldn’t be denied again when she curled home a stunning free-kick into the top corner.
Momentum was firmly with the Victory and they took full advantage as Zimmerman rocketed home the equaliser in the 51st minute.
Micah was busy yet again making two massive saves on Barbieri only seconds apart with the first coming almost incidentally from a drop-ball.
In the 64th minute, Victory’s peppering of the goals only continued as Ayers’ header slammed the post from close range.
With only minutes to go, Chidiac dazzled her way around a few Victory bodies and played a fantastic through-ball to Withers who put the ball home in the 88th minute.
Victory had two chances to tie it late when Zimmerman and substitute Natalie Martineu both couldn’t turn the ball home from close range.