Alternative ground demanded after 'unsafe' pitch reduces W-League to farce

Melbourne City coach Rado Vidosic has urged the W-League to dramatically improve or abandon Epping Stadium after their 1-0 derby loss to Melbourne Victory.

The elite women’s football competition – with several Matildas and other internationals on the pitch – was reduced to farce last week due to the dreadful surface.

Professional Footballers Australia slammed the pitch, which Vidosic described as “soft underneath, loose, uneven and with lots of holes”.

“[It was] absolutely not [safe],” Vidosic said. “We tried to speak to the [match] commissioner, we tried to contact [FFA], we tried everything to help our national team to not get any more injuries because they’ve already got a few they must deal with.

“There was no one there to check the field, maybe because of the closeness to Christmas and New Year’s. Our girls were very sore two-three days after the game … we had to change our training program to accommodate. Luckily, we didn’t have any injuries.

“Definitely it was not safe. So unless they improve it, I would suggest to take it somewhere else.”

The ground, which Victory use as a second pitch for their women’s and youth sides, is scheduled to be used on 27 January when Sydney FC – and a suite of senior Australian internationals – visit.

In the meantime, City are plugging on with their stuttering title defence, facing a must-win game on Friday against Brisbane.

Christine Nairn’s superb goal, scored directly from a corner, in the derby has City sitting fifth in the table with three games to play. With the Roar fourth, Vidosic knows three points are essential.

City regain Jasmyne Spencer after the American’s trip to Singapore last week to sit a university interview, but won’t have injury-struck forwards Kyah Simon or Jodie Taylor at his disposal.

“Even if we win, we are not guaranteed a spot in the top four. The season has been really even,” he said. “We definitely have struggled [for availabilities]. I still believe if we get a chance to make the semi-finals, we could cause another problem to an opponent because we have developed some football style.”

Vidosic said he was looking at “long shot” options to bring in a forward with just three matches remaining but rejected reports he might sign visiting US international Lynn Williams.

Williams has been training with the club but is in Melbourne because of her partner, basketballer Marley Biyendolo.


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