Football: Wellington Phoenix women's winless run continues with defeat to tabletopping Melbourne City

Julia Grosso runs against Wellington Phoenix women.
Julia Grosso runs against Wellington Phoenix women. Photo credit: Getty Images

Wellington Phoenix have been unable to arrest their slide down the women's A-League ladder, falling to a 2-1 loss to league leaders Melbourne City on Saturday.  

Despite a high-flying start to the 2023/24 season, the Phoenix have won two of their last nine matches to sit eighth on the table, albeit just two points shy of the top four, as only two points separate third and ninth.   

However, that could change on Sunday, if fifth-placed Central Coast Mariners defeat sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers.   

But the Phoenix have now lost four matches in a row, and haven't tasted victory since a 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets at the end of December.   

After playing out a goalless first half in which Melbourne dominated possession, the hosts opened the scoring in the 51st minute.  

A jinking run down the left from central defender Julia Grosso drew in the Phoenix defence, before Rhiana Pollicina was able to get a shot away, and beat Rylee Foster from inside the area.

As the Phoenix surged forward in the search for an equaliser, Melbourne doubled their lead through Emina Ekic on the counter.   

A run from inside her own half saw Daniela Galic find Ekic inside the area, who cut back onto her right foot to find the back of the net.  

Approaching the final 10 minutes, the Phoenix were able to pull a goal back, as Marianna Speckmaier rifled a first-time shot past City stopper Lysianne Proulx, and gave the visitors hopes of salvaging a draw.  

Those hopes were boosted even further when Melbourne were reduced to 10, when Ekic went from hero to villain as a high foot earned a second yellow card, and earned the striker a red.   

But with just minutes left on the clock, the Phoenix couldn't find an equaliser, and had to settle for defeat, their fourth in succession.  

The Phoenix can attempt to end their winless run next Sunday, when they return home to face Canberra United, who are currently 11th on the ladder.