Two spectacular goals headlined a dominant Melbourne City FC performance as Warren Joyce's side cruised to a commanding 3-0 win over the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Sunday night.
City made the perfect start to the contest when Riley McGree opened the scoring inside the first 90 seconds, before Luke Brattan doubled the lead with a spectacular volley on the stroke of half-time.
Lachie Wales put the result beyond doubt with a smart finish 20 minutes from time to register his first City goal and secure an important three points for Joyce’s side, who were the dominant force from start to finish.
City welcomed back forward Dario Vidosic against the Jets, replacing Nathaniel Atkinson in the starting XI.
Defender Curtis Good completed his long-awaited return from injury to take a place on the substitutes bench alongside Rostyn Griffiths, with the duo replacing Iacopo La Rocca and Ramy Najjarine in the matchday squad.
City entered the final match of the round with both history on its side and a point to prove. Having lost just one of its last ten matches against the Jets at AAMI Park, the stage was set for the Boys in City Blue to bounce back emphatically from last week’s reverse against Brisbane.
Joyce’s men looked refreshed and revitalised from the off against Newcastle and couldn’t have dreamed of a better start when McGree opened the scoring against his former side after just 90 seconds.
Florin Berenguer’s floated corner found its way to McGree at the back post, who deftly brought the ball down with his thigh before rifling in a thunderbolt across Glen Moss and into the top corner to make it 1-0.
The hosts were firmly in control and could have been further ahead were it not for Jets ‘keeper Moss, who had to be at his best to palm away two stinging drives from Ritchie De Laet and McGree within a matter of seconds.
Eugene Galekovic was largely untested in the City goal throughout the opening stanza, although the Jets grew into the contest as the half progressed.
Jason Hoffman had two half-chances to equalize for the visitors - one of which landed on the roof of the net - before Dimi Petratos rifled in an effort which was only inches over the crossbar.
Kearyn Baccus came close to netting his first City goal with a thunderous effort that flashed over the bar, while at the other end, Ronald Vargas fired inches wide as the Jets began to threaten in attack.
But it was City who would double its advantage in spectacular fashion as Brattan produced a moment of sheer brilliance on the stroke of half-time.
In a goal which featured striking similarities to Maxi Rodriguez’s stunner for Argentina at the 2006 World Cup, Brattan chested down a high clearance from Lachlan Jackson before unleashing a sweetly-struck volley into the top corner.
Newcastle came close to pegging a goal back moments after the restart when Petratos grazed the top of the crossbar with an effort from distance, but the visitors didn’t test Galekovic until the 70th minute when the City goalkeeper produced a sharp save to deny Hoffman at the near post.
Brattan and McGree both came close to adding a third with half-chances, until Wales put the contest beyond doubt in the 70th with a deft chip over the onrushing Moss to make it 3-0.
Galekovic ensured his clean sheet remained intact six minutes from time with a sharp save to deny Petratos as City ran out deserved winners.
It’s a long journey West next week as City travels to nib Stadium to face league leaders Perth Glory next Saturday, kick-off at 10pm (AEDT).