Late equaliser earns City dramatic ALW draw v Sydney FC
Despite a 1-1 draw dashing his side's ALW premiership hopes, Melbourne City coach Dario Vidosic says a late comeback against Sydney FC is an ideal foundation for a finals campaign.
For nearly 70 minutes on Saturday, Cortnee Vine's 24th minute strike looked like it would prove all the visitors needed to consign City to four straight losses against top-four opposition.
But a 94th minute corner from substitute Chelsea Blissett was turned in at the back post by Kaitlyn Torpey to tie things up in Melbourne's southeast.
Sydney FC, who had controlled the second half to that point, were then forced into a rearguard action as Hannah Wilkinson and Holly McNamara pressed for a winner.
Top-of-the-table Western United on 36 points and City only able to accrue a maximum of 35 points.
Vidosic's side can now no longer win the ALW premiership but with finals looming their coach thinks they will take a mental boost from the comeback.
"There was a lot of good stuff," Vidosic said.
"Hopefully that gives us a belief that we can compete with these teams.
"I've never had a doubt that we can compete with them, it's just now about putting together a complete performance that can get us the three points."
Despite the draw preventing them from jumping into first, Ante Juric's Sydney FC still control their premiership destiny in the season's final weeks.
Wins in their remaining games against Adelaide, Perth, and Newcastle are sufficient to secure a third-straight premiership regardless of Western's results.
"I'm not disappointed," Juric said.
"We lost two points there but City played well.
"The way we played, the intensity and attitude, I can't be disappointed.
"We're definitely aiming for the premiership because we know that no one has done it three (straight) times."
McNamara almost created the opener when she set up Daniela Galic in the ninth minute, only for the resulting shot to be well saved by Jada Whyman.
But Sydney soon led after Sarah Hunter grabbed a ball after a City corner and placed a pass into the path of Vine, who steamed into an empty area and converted.
It was almost two just before halftime after Vine crossed for Princess Ibini, only for Naomi Chinnama to desperately dive in front of her shot and head it into the post.
Unable to convert one of several chances in the second, Sydney then watched on as Torpey stole a late draw.