Werribee City is showing it can adapt to whatever situation it faces.
The top-of-the-ladder Bees were the entertainers of the first two weeks of the NPL 2 west soccer competition, banging in an average of 4.5 goals a game.
Their latest win – a narrow 2-1 triumph over Melbourne Victory at Epping Stadium on Sunday – was more to do with their organisation across the park and their strong will than it was with attacking prowess.
It was pleasing for Bees coach Sergio Sabbadini to see the extra work the players put into their defensive set-ups in training during the week coming to fruition against a Victory side with a vastly different style to those of the teams they played in the opening fortnight.
“We’ve got some experienced heads this year who have played the game and know how to close the game down when it’s needed,” Sabbadini said.
“Last year, we were always 100 miles an hour, whereas this year we can put the foot on the ball and control it … you’ve got to be able to do both.”
Werribee City had a rough start to the match.
In the eighth minute, Bees defender Nick Bavcar carelessly brought down Victory striker Josh Hope in the box.
Hope, who has enjoyed A-League experience this season, stepped up to take the penalty, sent Bees goalkeeper Kristian Rossi the wrong way and put the Victory ahead.
But Werribee City is proving resilient this season.
The Bees came back strongly and were on level terms when Julyan Collett gathered and turned to score a thunderbolt from outside the box with his left boot in the 20th minute.
It was the high mark of a strong performance from the centre back.
“He played a great game and scored a cracker of a goal,” Sabbadini said.
Six minutes later, Werribee City found the lead when Takanori Nishimoto delivered a centimetre-perfect cross to the head of striker Alec Goodwin, who looped the ball into the top right corner.
While Werribee City’s attack for the most part was not as eye-catching as in the first two weeks, the quality of the goals was as good as will be seen this season.
“Our two goals, I thought, were world class,” Sabbadini said.
From that point on, Werribee City was in control of the game. The Victory players had moments in which they put the Werribee City defence under pressure, but it was never for sustained periods.
The likes of Nishimoto, Jake Butler, Lisandro Paz, Dion Paola and Liam Brian were in command across the midfield.
Rossi’s best save came in the second half when he dived to keep out a low, driven shot coming through a sea of legs.
Werribee City is setting a cracking pace in NPL 2 as the only side with maximum points after three games.
The Bees will return to Galvin Park on Saturday from 5pm for the visit of winless Whittlesea Ranges.
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