Four-star City crowned Westfield W-League champions

Melbourne City secured a dominant 4-1 win over Sydney FC to claim the 2015/16 Westfield W-League championship at AAMI Park on Sunday.

There were three second-half goals for City as Joe Montemurro’s side clinched a historic double in their inaugural season, much to the delight of the majority of the 4,206 spectators.

Jennifer Beattie scored on the half-hour mark, and Scottish compatriot Kim Little added a second just after the break with a stunning free-kick. Kyah Simon pulled one back for the Sky Blues from the penalty spot, but late strikes from Beattie Goad and Lisa De Vanna rounded out a convincing result.

Little was named player of the match after the midfielder had a hand in three of City’s goals.

City made two changes to their semi-final line-up bringing in Lisa De Vanna for Marianna Tabain, while Rebekah Stott returned from New Zealand international duty in place of Amy Jackson. Key midfielder Jess Fishlock also lined up for City after surprisingly passing an eleventh-hour fitness test.

Melbourne City's starting XI for the Westfield W-League Grand Final.

Sydney FC were unchanged from the side that edged Canberra United 1-0 in last week’s semi-finals.

Any suggestion of a timid opening to the match quickly dissipated, with the contest boasting good intensity and half openings at either end.

De Vanna always seemed likely to get in behind the defence, while her left-sided counterpart Jasmyne Spencer looked similarly dangerous with her searing turn of speed.

Just past the half-hour mark, City grabbed the breakthrough they were missing in last week’s epic semi-final against Brisbane Roar. Kim Little swung a cross to the fat post and Beattie bundled the ball over the line at the second attempt.

Melbourne City players celebrate Jennifer Beattie opening the scoring in the Westfield W-League Grand Final.

Little could have had her second assist when she released Goad five minutes before the break, but the teenager could find no power in her shot. Within minutes Goad was at it again, after De Vanna played a delicious ball to the right, and while the shot this time had power, Sky Blues goalkeeper Michelle Betos was up to the task.

City started the second half in confident fashion, controlling possession with trademark assuredness. In truth, it was little surprise that the advantage was soon doubled. Little fired in a classy curling near-post free-kick from 25 metres, and Betos could do little more than get a finger on it.

Spencer continued to look lively and the American blazed over on two occasions under pressure. City’s Little then struck the near post from an acute angle as the visitors were again left exposed at the back.

However, the Sky Blues were handed a lifeline with Jennifer Beattie adjudged to have bundled over Alanna Kennedy on a corner, and Simon duly converted the spot-kick.

Kyah Simon

Kennedy then forced Davey into tipping a long-range shot over the crossbar and suddenly the game seemed in the balance.

But Goad put the contest out of reach with City’s third 11 minutes from full time. The teenager converted past the exposed Betos after the chance was laid on by De Vanna, who had been released by yet another exquisite Little pass.

City looked a chance to add a fourth in the dying minutes as Sydney chased the game. Notably, Betos made a stunning double stop with five minutes remaining.

Typically it was De Vanna who added the punctuation mark with the Australian captain finishing a blistering run with a cool lofted finish past Betos deep into injury time.

Westfield W-League 2016 Grand Final

Melbourne City 4 (Jennifer Beattie 32’, Kim Little 54’, Beattie Goad 79’, Lisa De Vanna 95’)

Sydney FC 1 (Kyah Simon 69’ pen)

AAMI Park, Melbourne

Sunday 31 January 2016

Kick-off: 2pm

Attendance: 4,206

Referee: Kate Jacewicz

Melbourne City: Brianna Davey (gk), Jennifer Beattie, Laura Alleway, Aivi Luik, Steph Catley, Kim Little, Larissa Crummer (Marianna Tabain 67’), Jess Fishlock (c) (Alexandra Chidiac 89’), Lisa De Vanna, Rebekah Stott, Beattie Goad (Amy Jackson 86’)

Substitutes – Trudy Burke (gk), Anisa Guajardo

Cautions – Jennifer Beattie 68’

Sydney FC: Michelle Betos (gk), Liz Ralston, Jasmyne Spencer, Teresa Polias (c), Nicola Bolger (Olivia Price 83’), Princess Ibini (Sunny Franco 63’), Natalie Tobin (Renee Rollason 74’), Alanna Kennedy, Teigen Allen, Kyah Simon, Leena Khamis

Substitutes – Sham Khamis (gk) , Hannah Bacon

Cautions – Natalie Tobin 26’, Kyah Simon 53’, Leena Khamis 83’