A superb volley from Wade Dekker has propelled Melbourne City FC to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Moreland City on a blustery Saturday afternoon.
Dekker’s volley only seven minutes from time proved to be the decisive moment as City overcame testing conditions at Campbell Reserve to secure their third victory in the last four matches.
A commanding performance in the heart of defence from Baki Efe proved to be instrumental in thwarting a lively Moreland attack, with City producing a resolute defensive display to record a deserved clean sheet.
Moreland City came firing out of the blocks and made an early venture forward in the opening seconds, as Lisandro Paz directed a dangerous cross into the arms of City goalkeeper Yaren Sozer.
The hosts were in the ascendency early and continued to create opportunities in attack, with midfielder Casey Thomas firing an effort over the crossbar before Sozer displayed great alertness to smother the ball at the feet of Kam Simsek.
Melbourne City FC’s first sight on goal came on the half hour mark when a corner from Leo Athanasiou picked out a darting near post run from Dekker, but the striker could only direct his effort over the crossbar.
Dekker was in the thick of the action once again in the 41st minute and had a golden opportunity to open the scoring, displaying tremendous control to bring down a high clearance from Efe before seeing his effort blocked by the feet of Moreland City ‘keeper Brandon Galgano.
The contest began to open up in the second period as both sides aimed to break the deadlock. Moreland City winger Osman Kose was proving to be a livewire in the final third, first curling a shot into the arms of Sozer before forcing the ‘keeper to beat away a dangerous free-kick minutes later.
Melbourne City FC had appeals for a penalty waved away in the 67th minute as Cileli went down inside the area under the close attention of Moreland City captain Shane Carr, before Sarwari pounced on the loose ball to fire an effort high and wide of the goal.
Dekker wasted a glorious opportunity to open the scoring in the 77th minute when a superb chipped pass from Athanasiou put him one-on-one with Galgano, only to fire his shot agonisingly wide of the post as Melbourne City FC gained a stranglehold on proceedings.
But Dekker would soon make amends for his earlier miss to fire City into a deserved lead. Following a neat one-two with lively winger Luke Gallo, the striker continued his run into the penalty area and thumped a powerful volley past Galgano to open the scoring with only seven minutes left to play.
Moreland City threw the proverbial kitchen sink in search of a late equalizer, with Sozer standing tall to beat away a stinging drive from Lisandro Paz after the ball fell loose inside the penalty area.
The away side were reduced to ten men after Ali Eiygun received his marching orders in stoppage time but despite surviving a late appeal for handball, City remained firm to secure a vital three points.
Moreland City FC 0
Melbourne City FC 1 (Wade DEKKER 83’)
Melbourne City FC Line-up: 1. Yaren SOZER, 4. Jordan HALL, 5. Leo ATHANASIOU, 8.Ratip CILELI (Nick SYMEOY 85’), 9. Wade DEKKER, 14. Baki EFE, 15. Luke GALLO (Tom BARFOROSH 90’), 16. Matthew MILLAR, 19. Anthony TARANTO, 21. Ali EIYGUN, 22. Mehdi SARWARI (Hernan ESPINDOLA 66’)
Substitutes not used: 20. Yianni SKLIROS (GK), 13. Haralambos STAMBOULIDES.
Yellow cards: Efe 65’
Red cards: Eiygun 90’
Moreland City FC Line-up: 1. Brandon GALGANO, 2. Yang TOU-ZENG, 12. Shane CARR, 5. Ionnis AVRAMIDIS, 3. Finn HUZZEY, 8. Corey THOMAS, 20. Roby BAZZANO, 17. Liam BRIAN (Vlad KHAMEES 70’), 9. Lisandro PAZ, 11. Kam SIMSEK (Liam FRANCIS 80’), 7. Osman KOSE.
Substitutes not used: 6. Julien DOS SANTOS, 18. Orrie KARA, 16. Nathan GOURZELAS (GK)
Yellow cards: Bazzano 49’
Red cards: nil