Melbourne City FC moved into the top four of the Hyundai A-League in style with a commanding 5-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on Thursday night.
City were in total control right from the first whistle at Central Coast Stadium, with goals to Harry Novillo and Bruno Fornaroli placing John van’t Schip’s side firmly in the driver’s seat with a comfortable first-half lead.
A youthful Mariners outfit were unable to restrict a rampant wave of pressure in the second half, with Novillo, Stefan Mauk and Aaron Mooy adding to the scoreboard, as City became the first Hyundai A-League team to register five goals in consecutive matches.
The Mariners were not without their own chances, especially during the early stages of the first half, but only had a late penalty from Mitch Austin to show for their efforts.
With Central Coast employing a lock-down tactic on key midfielder Aaron Mooy, it was Frenchman Novillo who proved to be City’s chief benefactor, terrorising an inexperienced Mariners defence with trademark jinking runs from the left, lifting his Hyundai A-League tally to four goals from five matches with a superb display.
Following a commanding win over Perth Glory at AAMI Park last week, van’t Schip welcomed back captain Patrick Kisnorbo into the centre of defence after his recovery from a calf injury, while Jacob Melling slotted back into midfield in place of Paulo Retre.
The loss of Corey Gameiro to a season ending knee injury opened up a space on the right wing for Mauk, who joined Bruno Fornaroli and Harry Novillo in attack. In a touching tribute to the injured winger prior to kick-off, the entire starting XI sported Club t-shirts with the number 7 on the front; a warming message of unity and support for their teammate.
With a chance to break a long standing away match hoodoo in Gosford and earn an historic three points, City nearly made the perfect start when Ivan Franjic burst down the right flank and squared to Fornaroli.
Many wold have expected the A-League’s top scorer to rifle his strike into the back of the net, but the Uruguayan could only sky an awkward effort over the crossbar from a dangerous position inside the penalty area.
The away side were into total control of possession inside the opening stages, but nearly fell behind in disastrous fashion when Thomas Sorensen sprayed his goal kick straight into the path of Roy O’Donovan. With the Irishman bearing down on goal, the Danish keeper atoned for his error, spreading himself well to make a smart one-on-one save.
Fornaroli again came close to opening the scoring inside the opening 15 minutes, but couldn’t stretch high enough to latch on to Novillo’s flick-on header at the back post, before the Frenchman lashed in an effort which forced Izzo in to a smart save, despite an awkward bounce.
At the other end, the Mariners still posed a threat and would have been ahead against the run of play were it not for the heroics of Sorensen, who spread himself big to deny O’Donovan again from close range after Austin had danced through the defence with ease.
The missed chance would prove to be costly, as City instantly punished the Mariners in the next passage of play with a swift counter-attack. A lovely pass from Fornaroli sent Novillo clean through on goal, who showed great composure to coolly slide past Izzo and open the scoring in the 25th minute.
And a hammer blow was struck right on the stroke of half-time when City doubled its advantage with a superb team goal. Novillo’s driven pass was expertly dummied by Fornaroli, who played a neat one-two with Paartalu before slotting home past Izzo to give van’t Schip’s side some breathing space at the interval.
Fornaroli nearly rammed home the advantage five minutes after the restart when he crashed an effort onto the crossbar with Izzo well beaten, before the Mariners keeper was nearly left red-faced when he spilled a stinging drive from Novillo onto the base of the post.
But the Frenchman would net his second goal of the night only two minutes later, finding space on the edge of the penalty area and smashing an effort across Izzo into the bottom corner to make it 3-0.
The Mariners never wavered from their high-pressure game style and managed to create some dangerous opportunities on goal, and it took desperate defending from Kisnorbo to prevent O’Donovan from tapping in at the back post, before a vital flick from Franjic forced Austin to spray an open-goal wide of the target.
Mooy’s influence on the contest began to grow as a young Mariners side began to tire in the second period, as the Socceroos midfielder notched yet another A-League assist, teeing up Mauk with an expert cut-back to put City 4-0 up in the 75th minute.
Central Coast pegged a goal back from the penalty spot only five minutes from time, with Austin emphatically converting his spot-kick after being fouled in the penalty area by Ivan Franjic.
But it was that man Mooy who produced yet another moment of magic for City’s fifth goal, whistling an effort past the ears of Izzo at the near post in injury time, as the Club recorded consecutive league wins for the first time this season.
Hyundai A-League Round 9
Thursday, 3 December 2015
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Mitch AUSTIN 85’ [pen])
Melbourne City FC 5 (Harry NOVILLO 25’, 58’, Bruno FORNAROLI 45’, Stefan MAUK 75’, Aaron MOOY 90+4)
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Melbourne City FC line-up: 1. Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 8. Aaron MOOY, 9. Harry NOVILLO (Hernan ESPINDOLA 82’), 21. Stefan MAUK (David WILLIAMS 77’), 22. Jack CLISBY, 23. Bruno FORNAROLI, 24. Patrick KISNORBO (GK), 25. Jacob MELLING (Paulo RETRE 73’)
Substitutes not used: 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 19. Benjamin GARUCCIO,
Yellow cards: Clisby 19’
Red cards: nil
Central Coast Mariners line-up: 1. Paul IZZO (GK), 2. Storm ROUX, 3. Joshua ROSE (Michael NEILL 64’), 4. Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5. Harry ASCROFT (Tomislav USKOK 64’), 6. Mitch AUSTIN, 9. Roy O’DONOVAN (Josh BINGHAM 72’), 10. Anthony CACERES, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 16. Liam ROSE, 22. Jacob McGING
Substitutes not used: 40. Thomas HEWARD-BELLE, 15. Matthew SIM
Yellow cards: Poscoliero 33’
Red cards: nil