Melbourne City FC were left ruing a poor second half as it fell 3-2 to the Central Coast Mariners on a fine Wednesday night in Gosford.
City led 0-2 in the first half thanks to goals to Adrian Luna and Jamie Maclaren but the Mariners were able to get back into the game and come away with the eventual win after the visitors were reduced to ten men.
The away side made two changes from Sunday’s fixture against Perth with Scott Jamieson and Florin Berenguer replacing Taras Gomulka and Ben Garuccio in the starting lineup. City fans will have to wait a bit longer to see Portuguese recruit Nuno Reis in action, as well as defensive talisman Rostyn Griffiths who both missed out.
Central Coast started the brighter of the two sides in general play but were left in the rear view mirror when a Craig Noone cross found Adrian Luna in the middle of the area, the Uruguayan finishing crisply for the opener.
City were at the double just eight minutes later when Florin Berenguer expertly weighted a through ball to Jamie Maclaren, who chipped the onrushing Mark Birighitti for what was to be the best goal of the evening.
It was downhill from there for the boys wearing the smart black and red kit, as the Mariners took advantage of a defensive lapse just prior to half time to pull themselves back into the contest via Jaden Casella.
Central Coast pressed for an equaliser early in the second half and had one as Nathaniel Atkinson was deemed to have fouled Matt Simon in the box, the Mariners veteran making no mistake form the spot with 33 minutes to play.
City’s loss of momentum was compounded just three minutes later when youngster Kerrin Stokes received his marching orders for a second caution.
City initially adjusted well to life with 10 men for the third time in just five games this season however, the dam wall broke with 10 minutes to play as Danny DeSilva pounced on a City error to fire home what was the eventual winner.
City will be back in action on Sunday afternoon when it takes on Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium at 4.05pm.