Melbourne City has suffered its first loss of the season going down 4-3 to the Brisbane Roar in an end-to-end contest at Dolphin Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Jamie Maclaren netted his fourth A-League hat trick in his return game, but it wasn't enough as Roy O'Donovan's three goals alongside Aaron Holloway's second half strike saw the Roar run over the visitors.
After missing only two games with a hamstring injury, Jamie Maclaren made his return to lead the line for Melbourne City, as Lachie Wales moved to the bench. Connor Metcalfe, Tom Glover and Ramy Najjarine missed the clash due to Olyroos duty, with Javier Cabrera coming into the starting XI and Adrian Luna dropping back to midfield.
A red-hot Melbourne City team made its first trip outside of Victoria for the season to take on the Roar.
The match couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for City with Maclaren finding the back of the net in the sixth minute in his return from injury. Javier Cabrera perfectly controlled a pass from Harrison Delbridge before finding Maclaren in the box who made no mistake from close range.
Delbridge continued to be one of City’s most important players and made a big goal-saving challenge on Roy O’Donovan in the 14th minute which was looked at by VAR briefly before being given the all clear.
City continued to control the game and doubled their advantage in the 29th minute, with Josh Brillante this time finding Maclaren with a well-placed cross which the striker nodded home.
Maclaren's strike saw him become the second player in A-League history to score two goals in three consecutive games, with Roy Krishna being the only other player to achieve the feat.
Just minutes later O’Donovan almost grabbed a goal back for the Roar but his strike following a corner cannoned into the post.
Four minutes into the second half O’Donovan was able to get his name onto the scoresheet, running onto Jay O’Shea’s perfectly weighted ball before tapping it past an advancing Dean Bouzanis.
The lead was back to two goals just seconds later with Maclaren completing his hat trick almost immediately from the kick off. Adrian Luna picked up his first assist of the season after Maclaren’s powerful header was perfectly placed to the left of Brisbane goalkeeper Max Crocombe.
The goals continued to rain down at Dolphin Stadium, with the fifth goal of the afternoon being scored right on the hour mark. It was Brisbane’s second, and came after a Jai Ingham header to the back post was scrambled over the line by Aaron Amadi-Holloway for his first A League goal.
Just four minutes later City's defence was again under the pump with Rostyn Griffiths giving away a penalty for a challenge on Amadi-Holloway. O’Donovan made no mistake from the penalty spot to level the scores.
The Roar continued to control the game but the likes of Delbridge and Curtis Good did just enough to keep the scoreboard level.
VAR intervened with just under 10 minutes to play with Brisbane being awarded a penalty following a Denis Genreau handball. O’Donovan completed his hat trick from the spot, placing his penalty straight up the middle as he had done earlier.
City had a couple of late shots at goal through Craig Noone and Cabrera but couldn’t find an equaliser to salvage a point.
Melbourne City will look to bounce back from the loss next Friday night against the Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium, kick-off 7:30pm.