Melbourne City have returned to the winner's list after a come from behind 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets on Saturday night.
Andrew Nabbout's first half opener was cancelled out by Ross McCormack from the spot before the break as Manny Muscat put the important away points beyond doubt in the final ten minutes.
City - who closed the gap to Newcastle in second to one point - will look for back to back wins next Sunday as they face the Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park.
Iacopo La Rocca and Manny Muscat came back into the eleven from last week’s side as Osama Malik’s suspension saw a reshuffle in the ranks. Nick Fitzgerald returned to his regular role in the final third as Michael Jakobsen filled Malik’s midfield position while Bruce Kamau moved to the bench in the process.
Warren Joyce was forced to make his final change to the eleven minutes before kick-off as a back injury to Eugene Galekovic saw Dean Bouzanis called upon to fill the void between the posts.
Much like the weather in Melbourne, McDonald Jones Stadium welcomed both sides with a heavy downpour that made pitch conditions difficult for both sides.
Despite an early venture forward, it was one-way traffic for the hosts as Bouzanis made four crucial stops to keep the Jets at bay.
The highlight was an impressive double save after 14 minutes which saw him at full-stretch saving a Joey Champness header before coming to the rescue on the follow up to smother Dimi Petratos.
Newcastle would find the breakthrough however and after a range of clear-cut opportunities, it was a freak clearance from Marcin Budzinski that would open the door for the opportunistic Andrew Nabbout.
The striker latched onto Budzinski’s stray pass as his first effort was saved by Bouzanis before making no mistake on the follow up.
The Jets looked to capitalise on their lead however it was City - against the run of play – who would find an avenue back into the match as a brilliant ball from Fitzgerald into the area forced Nigel Boogaard to tumble over Ross McCormack in the penalty area.
The Scot made no mistake from the spot, restoring parity to the match and ensuring his side would head into the rooms level.
Newcastle’s dominance in the first half vanished after the break as City began on the front foot and looked to continue with that momentum for the rest of the second half.
The visitors had claims for a penalty waved away after 75 minutes as Bruce Kamau looked to be taken down by Nikolai Topor-Stanley inside the area. Referee Shaun Evan looked to rely on the Video Assistant Referee to make the decision for him on the challenge with the system deeming there was no major error made from the referee.
Despite what looked to be a penalty, City soldiered on and were finally rewarded for their positive half from one of the unlikeliest of sources.
A brilliant combination between Fitzgerald and Scott Jamieson saw the latter cut back Fitzgerald who’s effort was desperately blocked in the penalty area. As the Jets scrambled to clear, out came Manny Muscat to burst the back of the net with a vicious volley, returning his side to the winner’s list with an important three points.
City return home next Sunday to take on the Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park in our Star Wars Round double header. The A-League side kick-off at 7pm while our W-League side face Canberra United at 4.30pm. Get your tickets to the match today!