Seven up for leaders City as Simon bags a brace

Kyah Simon celebrated her Westfield Matildas recall by scoring a double as Westfield W-League leaders Melbourne City made it seven straight with a statement 4-0 win against Canberra United.

Simon netted her 10th Westfield W-League brace, a day after the 87-cap international returned to Ante Milicic’s squad for the first time since suffering an ankle injury 12 months ago that forced her to miss the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in France.

The 2010/11 Westfield W-League Golden Boot winner opened the scoring with a crisp fifth-minute strike and, after Claire Emslie had buried a 33rd minute penalty, Simon took the ball out of the Scot’s hands to convert another from 12 yards in first-half stoppage time at ABD Stadium.

There may have been a dispute over who took the penalty but City banished their spot-kick hoodoo after Emily van Egmond and Steph Catley had missed their previous two from the spot, and van Egmond capped off the win with a looping, long-range effort against her former club on 76 minutes.

Rado Vidošić’s side went into the match having only won one game by more than a single goal this campaign, a 2-0 win at Brisbane Roar last week, but the three-time champions finally flexed their attacking prowess and out-classed Canberra, while logging their sixth clean sheet in eight matches to make it more than 400 minutes since they last conceded a goal.

It has been four years since City lifted a Premiers Plate but this triumph puts them six-points clear at the top with four to play, although Western Sydney do have two games in hand. Heather Garriock’s team remain sixth, a point off of the top four that qualify for the Westfield W-League Finals Series.

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Key moments

Canberra were missing centre-back Jessie Rasschaert, whose wife had given birth to their second child earlier in the day, and the visitors were opened up after five minutes when Simon escaped the attentions of Olivia Price and slammed in a left-footed strike from 20 yards.

City kept the pressure building as Simon, Catley and Milica Mijatovic all had efforts miss the target, before the Green Machine recorded their first shot on goal as Simone Charley showed lightning-quick pace to run the length of the field to sting the hands of Lydia Williams on the counter attack.

After the half hour, Simon’s smart flick played Emslie through on goal and Canberra keeper Sham Khamis hauled down the Scottish striker, who dusted herself down and slotted in the penalty, before she almost doubled her tally on 37 minutes but skewed her shot wide after overpowering Lauren Keir.

It was almost a case of déjà vu when half-time approached but this time, after Emslie was tripped by Khamis in the penalty area, Simon grabbed the ball from her strike partner, who was visibly frustrated, and drilled it down the centre to complete a dominant first half in Broadmeadows.

Emslie came close again to firing a second on the hour but she slid her close-range effort wide of the near post from Catley’s inviting cross as City began to take their foot of the gas, as Simon was denied a chance for a hat-trick when she was replaced by Rhali Dobson on 72 minutes.

Substitute Dobson made an impact of her own when she found former Newcastle Jets teammate van Egmond to hit a 30-yard strike that dipped under Sham Khamis’ crossbar to make it four. The pair combined again soon afterwards but van Egmond’s strike was deflected over, before striker Leena Khamis spurned a clear chance for a late consolation as City closed out a convincing win.

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Round 10

Melbourne City v Newcastle Jets
Sunday, 19 January 2020
CB Smith Reserve
Kick off: 6pm AEDT

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