Melbourne City returned to Shepparton ahead of the upcoming Hyundai A-League season after signing a three-year deal to play a pre-season match in the town for the next three years.
City’s final pre-season match represented an opportunity for Head Coach, Warren Joyce to experiment with his line-up one final time before the Club’s Round 1 match against Melbourne Victory, with starts handed to new signings, Florin Berenguer and Kearyn Baccus.
Western Sydney also opted to play an experimental line up, mixing youth with the experience, giving Coach Markus Babbel the chance to test out his squad.
City began the match on the front foot, having the better of the frenetic opening exchanges with Lachlan Wales and Ritchie De Laet teaming up to good effect on the right-hand side.
It took until 21 minutes for the deadlock to be broken with Frenchman, Florin Berenguer whipping in a dangerous free kick for Harrison Delbridge to head home leaving Janjetovic little chance in the Wanderers goal.
One quickly became two and provider became scorer when a lively Lachlan Wales produced a surging run down the right flank followed by a deep cross to the back post for Berenguer to calmly head back across goal to make it 2-0 City.
Despite constant City pressure, it didn’t take Western Sydney long to claw one back. Abraham Majok cut in from the right and fired a long-range effort into the top corner, giving the Wanderers the impetus to turn the tie on its head leading into half time.
City continued their forward, possession-based play in the second half, pinning a young Wanderers team in their own half for long periods but creating little in the way of clear-cut chances.
On 67 minutes Berenguer was at it again, causing havoc on the left turning back and forth before crossing into the box only for the ball to be handled in the air by Majok, gifting City a penalty which Dario Vidosic, a substitute on for Lachlan Wales, coolly slotted away to make it 3-1.
With more substitutions to follow, the game became disjointed with neither side causing many problems until on 91 minutes when substitute, Riley McGree collected a pass from Scott Jamieson, beat two defenders and rifled into the right corner of the net.
Finishing the pre-season with a 4-1 win leaves City on a high heading into the Round 1 battle against Victory and for Head Coach, Warren Joyce, there’s a few selection decisions to be made.