Melbourne City FC suffered their third loss of the season, going down 2-1 to crosstown rivals Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon.
Ola Toivonen's first half brace gave the visitors a 2-0 advantage at the break, before Harrison Delbridge found the scoreboard with a towering header and his first goal for the Club in the 56th minute.
City will look to bounce back to winning ways when they travel to Sydney to take on ladder leaders Sydney FC on Sunday 29 December, before returning to AAMI Park to host Western United on Friday 3 January.
Connor Metcalfe replaced the injured Denis Genreau in the starting XI, as Rostyn Griffiths was named on the bench after he missed City’s Round 10 win over Newcastle through illness.
Eager to extend the form that saw them defeat Newcastle in Round 10, City looked to wrestle the early ascendency in the annual Christmas Derby at AAMI Park.
Craig Noone was heavily involved early, as he looked increasingly dangerous on the right wing. His first involvement came on the sixth minute mark when he picked out Jamie Maclaren, whose attempted first time effort was scuffed.
Two minutes later the winger found Connor Metcalfe, whose effort was somehow kept out by Victory’s defence and out for a corner.
City’s two threatening chances were countered by the visitors on the 10th minute mark when Tom Glover produced a strong save to deny Elvis Kamsoba before Andrew Nabbout put the rebound wide.
Six minutes later Victory would open the scoring through Ola Toivonen who nodded truly at the back post.
Erick Mombaerts side looked to respond and almost did so through Noone. Josh Brillante found the winger with a peach of the ball before the Englishman cut in on his right boot and curled his effort just wide of the top corner.
As City pushed for an equaliser, Victory doubled their advantage through Toivonen. Curtis Good’s attempted clearance bounced back off the post falling to the captain who made no mistake from close range to give his side a 2-0 advantage at the break.
The second period commenced with City desperate to find a way back into the contest. Pushing deep into Victory’s defensive half, the hosts earned a corner on the 55th minute mark. The set piece was played short to Javier Cabrera who whipped in a dangerous ball which was blasted home by a towering header from Harrison Delbridge – his first goal for the Club.
Moments later City looked to capitalise on the momentum as Noone found Cabrera whose goal-bound effort was desperately blocked out.
It was then Victory’s turn to attack, only to be denied by a desperate lunge from Delbridge before Scott Galloway was there to clear the ball off the goal line.
With 20 minutes to play Lachie Wales replaced Noone on the wing and looked to utilise his pace out wide. The pacey youngster’s first involvement saw him beat his marker before firing in a dangerous ball that just beat the oncoming Jamie Maclaren for height and pace.
Despite Nathaniel Atkinson and Galloway having two decent chances in additional time, Erick Mombaerts’ side were unable to find a late equaliser, going down to their crosstown rivals at AAMI Park.
City will be eager to bounce back when they travel to Sydney to take on ladder leaders Sydney FC on Sunday 29 December, before returning to AAMI Park to host Western United for the first time on Friday 3 January, kick off 7:30pm, get your tickets here!