The Melbourne City FC juggernaut continues to gather momentum as the City Blues recorded their 5th consecutive win on Monday evening, defeating the ladder leading Central Coast Mariners 2-0.
For the third consecutive match Head Coach Patrick Kisnorbo selected the same XI, rewarding good performances with selection. Melbourne’s version of the Energiser Bunny - Adrian Luna - returned from his hamstring injury and took his place on a star-studded interchange for the home side.
The City Blues exceptional form of late showed no signs of abating with Melbourne quick to assert their authority on the game against a confidence laden Mariners. A delightfully worked passage from the home side within the first two minutes saw a headed chance fall to Craig Noone at the back post who was kept out by the Central Coast defence.
City continued to attack relentlessly, however a Mariners defence led by ex-City player Ruon Tongyik, and young gun Kye Rowles were up to the task.
However, City’s bright start was interrupted after just 20 minutes with defender Nuno Reis forced to leave the pitch with what appeared to be a groin injury. A reshuffle saw an in-form Rostyn Griffiths drop in to the centre of defence, whilst Luna was brought on to replace the hole in midfield.
City pressed on and as the half hour mark ticked over, it was an in-form Connor Metcalfe who brought down an aerial ball expertly and played an exquisite pass through the lines to Florin Berenguer. The Frenchman’s composure on the ball was a joy to watch as he split the Mariners defence and City sharp shooter Jamie Maclaren expertly finished what was a beautiful team goal.
This was a big goal not just in the sense of going 1-0 up to the team on top of the ladder, but it was also a history making one for Maclaren. It was his 90 goal in the A-League, tying Archie Thompson for third most all time while he also became the fastest player in Australian national leagues history to reach that mark, doing so in just 136 appearances.
Indeed the home side were only denied a second in the following five minutes as Mariners keeper Mark Birighitti made not one but three brilliant saves to ensure they remained in the contest.
The second half was more of the same for Melbourne as they continued to press for a second and just eleven minutes into the half,it was full back Nathanial Atkinson who turned in his second career goal with an expert finish.
It was the man himself who forced a turnover from another ex-City player in Jack Clisby in the centre of the park and played a lengthy pass down the right-hand side to Andrew Nabbout. Nabbout was able to work his way into the box and into a shooting position, however the shot ricocheted off of Tongyik and into the path of Atkinson following in, who thumped the ball home from a tight angle.
City continued to press for a third and would have found it if not for the heroics of Birighitti, however the home side remained stoic at the back and looked largely untroubled as the game drew to its conclusion.
City’s fifth win in a row equals their previous best winning run and a fourth consecutive clean sheet for Tom Glover is now the envy of the league.
City host Western Sydney Wanderers this Friday March 26 at AAMI Park at 7.05pm with a chance to make it a club record 6 on the trot and continue their march up the table. You won't want to miss what this potentially history making night, click here to get your tickets!