Melbourne City continued its unbeaten pre-season with a 3-2 win over Western United in Ballarat.
A brace from Jamie Maclaren and an Aiden O’Neill screamer secured the result at Morshead Park.
Melbourne City XI: 1.Tom GLOVER, 3.Scott JAMIESON, 7.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 8.Aiden O'NEILL, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 11.Craig NOONE, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 18.Connor METCALFE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Adrian LUNA, 22.Curtis GOOD
Bench: 2.Scott GALLOWAY, 16.Taras GOMULKA, 17.Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 23.Marco TILIO, 33.Matt SUTTON, 35.Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES, 36.Kerrin STOKES, 37.Bernado OLIVEIRA, 41.Zac KOCANKOVSKI, 43.Luke ORESTI, 44.Sam MORRISON
Western United XI: 1.Filip KURTO, 2.Aaron CALVER, 5.Dylan PIERIAS, 6.Tomoki IMAI, 8.Lachlan WALES, 10.Steven LUSTICA, 11.Connor PAIN, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 22.Tomi USKOK, 23.Alessandro DIAMANTI, 27.Jerry SKOTADIS
Bench: 17.Joshua CAVALLO, 26.Nicholas MILANOVIC, 29.Ayom Majok AYOM, 30.Ryan SCOTT, 33.Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS, 14.Ben BAKER, 9.Stefan ZINNI, 24.Chudiar THARIJATH, 4.Leighton LAUGHTON, 21.Gavin DE NIESE
City picked up where they left off against Western United only two weeks ago with a strong City starting eleven flexing their muscle in the forward third.
The visitor’s forward press caused havoc for United and the early signs were there for City when after 2 minutes, a turnover saw Metcalfe lay off to Noone who forced Kurto to save.
It was only a matter of time before City found their first goal and after seven minutes, it was none other than Jamie Maclaren who found the back of the net. A turnover caused by Nabbout opened the door for Maclaren with space inside the penalty area to finish into the top corner and give his side the lead.
It was a slick City outfit moving forward and a second was only a matter of time away as Aiden O’Neill netted his first goal in City colours. A play that was worked out from Tom Glover all the way to the final third saw United clear into the path of O’Neill who drove his effort into the top corner from 25-yards.
The dominant opening period saw United slowly work their way into the match and the catalyst was Alessandro Diamanti. The Italian was crucial in chances leading up to their reply and was the man behind the ball over the City defence in the 43rd minute.
His dink to Wales saw the former City attacker hold up the ball and lay off to Connor Pain who – with acres of space inside the penalty area – finished into the bottom corner to give his side a chance heading into the break.
With changes at the half seeing Tilio and Galloway enter the game for Noone and Jamieson, City put the end of the first half behind them as they continued their dominant performance. Chances to O’Neill and Maclaren were the prelude to the latter’s goal after 71 minutes with Kurto keeping both chances out.
He couldn’t do it a third time as Maclaren found himself in the right place at the right time as Galloway’s cross alluded the legs of the Western defence and Connor Metcalfe as the Socceroos striker made no mistake, poking past Kurto.
The goal saw City immediately clear the bench with its young scholarship and youth players enter the match.
Western United found their consolation after 78 minutes as Cavallo’s cross to the back post saw substitute goalkeeper Matt Sutton see his effort to catch the floating cross fall into the path of Stamatelopoulos who tapped home.
Melbourne City will play its final pre-season friendly against Bentleigh Green on Friday 18 December, kick-off 8.15pm