Melbourne Victory moved one step closer to confirming their top four position and dealt Western Sydney Wanderers’ finals series hopes a crushing blow by defeating them 1-0 at AAMI Park.
Annalie Longo, who replaced the injured American international Catherine Zimmerman in Victory’s front-line, fired in a close range 43rd minute strike after Melina Ayres had headed Kyra Cooney-Cross’ ball into her path.
Ayres kept Wanderers goalkeeper Sarah Willacy sharp while the visitors struggled to contend with Kyra Cooney-Cross’ vision and execution as Victory pressed to double their advantage.
Despite creating the best chances – Lisa De Vanna came closest and drew a fantastic acrobatic save from Willacy – the match was evenly poised for the majority of the encounter.
But rather than inflict the knockout blow themselves, Victory remained organised and dogged to deny the Red & Black a win that would have restored the club’s faint top four hopes.
As it stands, the Wanderers will need a miracle to book an appearance in the finals series. Dean Heffernan’s side are sixth on the ladder on 10 points, six behind fourth-placed Adelaide United, who have three matches in hand.
Victory, meanwhile, move third on seventeen points.