Melbourne secure first Victory of W-League season


Two brilliant set pieces from American import Christine Nairn helped Melbourne Victory register their first win of the Westfield W-League season, defeating Perth Glory 3-1 at Ashfield Reserve on Saturday.

Nairn set up teammate Hayley Raso for the opener in the ninth minute before producing another sublime free kick to add her name to the scoresheet shortly after half-time.

Glory midfielder Shannon May pulled one back for the home side in the 84th minute before substitute Whitney Knight sealed the three points for Victory six minutes later.

“My teammates put me in the spots to be able to serve balls into the box,” Nairn said.

“I knew where I wanted to put it and I’ve been practicing week in, week out. (Victory coach) Dave Edmondson has given me the green light to take advantage of shots like that.”

Raso put aside any disappointment from missing out on a spot in the Matildas squad for Sunday’s friendly against Korea Republic in Incheon when she pounced on an opportunity presented by Nairn’s first free kick.

Nairn almost doubled the advantage for the visitors in the 23rd minute when she forced Glory goalkeeper Gabrielle Dal Busco to make a diving save to her left.

Glory striker Vanessa DiBernarndo caused plenty of headaches for the Victory defence, but the American was unable to beat Victory custodian Melissa Barbieri.

Nairn made it 2-0 for Victory seven minutes after half-time when she brilliantly curled the ball into the top-left corner from just outside the penalty area.

DiBernardo, May and Nikki Stanton all had chances for Glory in a five-minute frenzy as Bobby Desptovski’s side valiantly tried to stay in the contest.

May provided some hope when she caught Barbieri off her line, chipping the ball into an open goal from about 30 yards out.

But Knight ensured Victory would head back to Melbourne on a positive note when she finished off a low cross from England international Natasha Dowie in the 90th minute.

“We were pretty excited when we heard that final whistle,” Nairn said. “We finally got the three points we’ve been working towards this season. It’s a starting point for us so hopefully we’re going to keep going.”

Victory will look to take their winning form into next Sunday’s clash with arch-rivals and league leaders Melbourne City at Kingston Heath, while Glory will be hoping to bounce back against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium, also on Sunday.