Retiring Dobson bows out with emotional goal as City defeat Glory

Rhali Dobson closed the page on her Westfield W-League career by scoring goal filled with emotion as Melbourne City finished the campaign with a 2-1 win over Perth Glory.

Ahead of the game, the 28-year-old announced she would hang up her boots after the 2020/21 season finale to be by the side of her partner, Matt, in his ongoing battle against brain cancer.

And in her 109th competition appearance, Dobson slammed in her 14th career goal from close range in the 63rd minute as last year’s Premiers and Champions secured their third straight triumph to finish the season in seventh place.

Dobson left the Frank Holohan Reserve pitch in tears after being substituted in the 75th minute, hugging coach Rado Vidosic and other teammates and members of the City staff, before Alex Chidiac doubled the advantage with a clinical 79th-minute finish.

Despite dominating possession, City had struggled to assert themselves until Dobson crashed a shot in from Tori Tumeth’s backheel. Following her moving farewell, Dobson was back up cheering when Westfield Matilda Chidiac lashed in the insurance goal, claiming her third of the season. 

Patricia Charalambous came off the bench to net her first senior goal for Glory, but the defeat leaves Alex Epakis’ last-placed side one loss away from becoming the fifth team in competition history to record a winless season ahead of their final match of the campaign against Melbourne Victory on Sunday.

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Key moments

After both sides united to hold up a banner in support for ex-City defender Rebekah Stott in her fight against stage-three Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the home side settled quickest with Tyla-Jay Vlanjic getting the better of Elizabeth Anton but Leah Davidson could only lift her fifth-minute effort over Perth’s crossbar.

Glory young gun Hana Lowry had hit an early effort wide and the Young Matilda was causing problems again, lifting a sweet left-footed pass forward as Tijan Mckenna skewed an effort wide, before Vlanjic came back at Perth again, drilling an effort into the side netting.

It was back and forth as Lowry saw her 22nd-minute attempt from the edge of the box blocked, and the 17-year-old pulled the follow-up shot wide of the target, before the half turned into a midfield battle with City controlling possession but Glory’s defensive block refusing to allow the 2019/20 Premiers a sight of goal. 

But the home side were able to dial up the pressure before the interval and Glory keeper Lily Alfeld made a superb close-range stop to deny Chinatsu Kira before two more blocks in the scrambling Perth defence prevented Chidiac and Dobson from opening the scoring in a goalless first half.

Glory started the second half well as Caitlin Douglas surged down the right and stung the hands of City goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri to record Perth’s first shot on target, but their resurgence did not last much beyond the half hour mark when Dobson headed into a crowd of players following Kira’s corner before regaining her composure to score from Tumeth’s clever heel flick.

Emma Checker came close to adding to City’s lead, heading a set-piece delivery from Chidiac back off the frame of the goal, before the former Atletico Madrid star went from creator to finisher with a superb, low, driven effort to put the home side out of reach for the basement dwellers.

Glory did have something to show from their efforts as 64th-minute substitute Charalambous struck her maiden competition goal in her 23rd appearance deep into stoppage time but it was too late for Perth to mount a comeback as City finished their campaign with a silver lining.

Round 14

Canberra United v Sydney FC
Friday, 26 March 2021
Venue: Viking Park
Kick-off: 6.35pm AEDT
Match Centre

Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory
Sunday, 28 March 2021
Venue: Epping Stadium
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEDT
Match Centre

Brisbane Roar v Newcastle Jets
Sunday, 28 March 2021
Venue: Lions FC Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEDT
Match Centre

Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Wednesday, 31 March 2021
Venue: Cromer Park
Kick-off: 6.35pm AEDT
Match Centre

FEATURE: How rivals are uniting to help Stott fight to beat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
ROUND 13: Team of the Week, presented by Bunnings Warehouse