Melbourne City FC has started its pre-season in style, defeating PS4 NPL Victoria outfit Port Melbourne on Wednesday night.
A double to star striker Bruno Fornaroli headlined the act with Paulo Retre, Jacob Melling and NPL player Austin Wong rounding out the result in the second half at a cold JL Murphy Reserve.
The first half’s eleven saw two new faces in Manny Muscat and Luke Brattan start for City as Bruce Kamau completed most of the warm up but elected not to play with tightness, replaced by Luke Gallo.
As expected, City began the livelier of the two teams with Port looking to consolidate themselves in the early stages.
It was Brattan who had the first opportunity on goal as the midfielder’s long distance strike grazed the side netting, sending an early warning sign on the Port goal.
With speed to burn in the front third, David Stirton broke for the Sharks after 20 minutes and was taken down unceremoniously by Osama Malik. The resulting free-kick flew over the bar and that’s where the chances would end for Port in the first half.
Up the other end, Fornaroli planted himself on dead ball duties in the absence of Aaron Mooy and the Uruguayan had plenty of reason to take the reins. From 25 yards, El Tuna curled his effort into the bottom corner to open the scoring.
It was soon 2-0 to City when Nick Fitzgerald broke through the Port lines to be eventually taken down by keeper Luke Gavalas. Fornaroli rattled the back of the net in the same corner as his free-kick, converting the penalty and sending his side two to the good.
Neil Kilkenny made his first appearance after the break and after two days in the country, the midfielder looked right at home, making himself a strong presence in the middle of the park.
The 60 minute mark saw a raft of changes on the City bench as our NPL regulars made their way onto the pitch.
It didn’t take long for the substitutes to settle down as City found their third after 67 minutes. A wonderful cutback from the left wing saw Retre rocket a powerful strike towards goal. It was a deflection which wrong-footed substitute keeper Michael Stark, sending the ball into the back of the net and continuing the visitor’s dominance on the game.
With more subs for both sides mellowing out the contest, it was left to the final minutes for City to find their two remaining goals as Melling and Wong found the back of the net, rounding out the result.
City will now prepare for another potential practice match against NPL opponents next week before heading to Perth for the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 clash with Floreat Athena on August 2.