Melbourne City FC has extended its unbeaten run to four matches with a 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Sunday evening.
Roy O’Donovan opened the scoring in the fourth minute when an awkward bounce beat Eugene Galekovic, allowing the Jets attacker to stroll into the back of an empty net. Despite falling behind, City responded in the 26th minute when Riley McGree buried his effort from the penalty spot after Ronald Vargas was given his marching orders for a handling the ball in the area.
City made it 2-0 six-minutes later as Luke Brattan buried his effort from outside the area handing the hosts a 2-1 lead at the break and securing the three-points.
City will look to continue the winning momentum when they host Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park next Friday 11 January.
Head Coach Warren Joyce made two changes to the starting XI that defeated Western Sydney Wanderers at ANZ Stadium on New Year’s Day, as the suspended Rostyn Griffiths was replaced by Osama Malik.
Nathaniel Atkinson was a late inclusion for Dario Vidosic who pulled out after feeling a tight hip in the warm-up, with Dylan Pierias replacing Atkinson on the bench.
In perfect conditions for football at AAMI Park, the visitors got off to a flying start as Eugene Galekovic was caught out by a long ball which took a wicked bounce allowing Roy O’Donovan to finish into an empty net.
City looked to respond immediately through Riley McGree who skipped past two defenders before flashing his effort across the face of goal.
Luke Brattan then played a brilliant ball through to late inclusion Nathaniel Atkinson, who fired a dangerous cross across the 18-yard box beating everyone.
On the 26th minute mark the dynamics of the game were set to change as Ronald Vargas received his second yellow card, this time for handling the ball inside the penalty area, after Ritchie De Laet glanced his header centrally following Luke Brattan’s corner. With the referee pulling out the red card from his pocket and pointing to the spot, former Jets attacker Riley McGree stepped up, sending the keeper the wrong way with a low drive into the bottom corner.
With the momentum with the hosts, Atkinson and McGree were again involved, as Atkinson whipped in a cross from the right which was met by an acrobatic effort from McGree that was just wide.
Moments later City would make it 2-1 as Brattan again struck against the Jets in the 32nd minute. Kearyn Baccus and McGree worked tirelessly to dispossess Dimi Petratos before Scott Jamieson found Lachlan Wales who laid it off to Brattan, who then made no mistake with a bullet-like strike from outside the area leaving Lewis Italiano flat footed and with no chance.
In the 40th minute City looked to make it three, although Harrison Delbridge’s towering goal-bound header was cleared off the line by Newcastle’s captain Nigel Boogard.
Head Coach Warren Joyce’s side faced a late scare in the first-half as a goal mouth scramble saw Galekovic desperately avoid falling into the back of his own net with the ball in hand.
City looked to continue the momentum in the opening stages of the second-half, with their first threatening chance falling to McGree. De Laet’s cross found the oncoming attacker who met it with a driving effort which was struck straight down the throat of Italiano, much to the keeper’s relief.
Despite being down to 10-men, the Jets continued to press and went inches away from levelling the scorers in the 72nd minute when Daniel Georgievski struck the outside of the woodwork with a low drive. Steven Ugarkovic then tried his luck with a half-volley from the edge of the penalty area, but his effort was well wide.
City face a short turnaround before returning to AAMI Park on Friday 11 January, kick-off 7:50pm, to host Brisbane Roar in a blockbuster double-header. Get your tickets here.