Melbourne City roll on as Mariners falter

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Melbourne City’s hot-streak has extended to five games following their 2-0 win at home over top-of-the-table Central Coast Mariners.

While much has been made of City’s attack in recent weeks following the addition of Andrew Nabbout, it was once again their defence that quietly shone, keeping a clean sheet for the fourth match in a row.

The first half started in typical gruelling fashion, as City pushed the advantage early and had the Mariners on the back foot. However, while City had control of the game they never looked close to exposing the Central Coast defence.

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Connor Metcalfe was the first to slice the game open, with a nice through ball to Florin Berenguer-Bohrer. He had the option to go, but waited and caught the Mariners napping as an unmarked Jamie Maclaren came streaming through.

One touch was all that was needed for Maclaren, and with the ball in the back of the net he moved into third place on the all time A-League scorers list, equalling Archie Thompson with 90 goals.

Then as they typically do, City followed with a strong burst. The ball lived in their final third for the next five minutes, as the Mariners did well to defend multiple strong attacks.

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The Central Coast found their feet in the last few minutes of the half, with a high and wide De Silva strike from just outside the box probably their best chance of the half, however laying the groundwork for a stronger final 45 minutes.

After getting some momentum back, the Mariners picked up where they left off at the end of the first half, but it was Andrew Nabbout with the first big chance. With a field of space on the ring wing, his electric pace on show as he charged into the box and fired off a shot.

Central Coast defenders did well to get in the way, but they forgot about a Nathaniel Atkinson follow up, who strolled in and only had to beat Birighitti in goals, which he did.

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Predictably, City entered full blown attack mode once again and came within inches of multiple goals. Only bad luck and a resolute Central Coast outfit stood in the way.

A VAR drama followed moments later, as the Mariners hoped for a penalty following a challenge in the box. A lengthy consolation followed, and after appearing destined to give the penalty, referee Beath opted for a play on call instead, much to the dislike of Alen Stajcic.

Melbourne City once again achieved the perfect blend of attack and defence in their 2-0 win, and while Stajcic will not be all that impressed with his team’s performance, he’ll be buoyed by still retaining top of the ladder.

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Melbourne City 2 (Maclaren 31′, Atkinson 56′)
Central Coast Mariners 0

Venue: AAMI Stadium
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referees: George Lakrindis & Wilson Brown
Fourth Official: Adam Bavcar

Melbourne City: Thomas GLOVER (gk), Scott JAMIESON (c), Nuno PEREIRA REIS (Adrian LUNA, 21′) (Scott Galloway 88′), Rostyn GRIFFTHS, Jamie MACLAREN, Florin BERENGUER-BOHRER (Stefan COLAKOVSKI 88′), Craig NOONE (Benjamin GARUCCIO 77′), Nathaniel ATKINSON, Andrew NABBOUT (Naoki TSUBAKI 88′), Connor METCALFE, Curtis GOOD

Unused Subs: Naoki TSUBAKI, Marco TILIO, Matthew SUTTON

Central Coast Mariners: Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), Joshua NISBET, Stefan NIGRO (Daniel HALL 77′), Oliver BOZANIC (c), Daniel DE SILVA (Jaden CASELLA 88′), Jack CLISBY, Marcos URENA (Daniel BOUMAN 68′), Kye ROWLES, Matthew SIMON (Alou KUOL 67′), Ruon TONGYIK, Maximilien BALARD (Michael JANOTA, 46′)

Unused Subs: Adam PEARCE, Matthew HATCH

Featured image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Seb Mottram
Sports nut studying Media comms and Marketing at Monash.

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