Melbourne City have climbed back to third on the Hyundai A-League ladder after notching a dramatic 3-2 win against a 10-man Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on Sunday afternoon.
In a see-sawing affair City skipped to an early two goal lead courtesy of a Bruno Fornaroli free-kick and an own goal from Mariners skipper Nick Montgomery.
However Central Coast found a way back into the contest after netting either side of the interval, via a Fabio Ferreira set-piece strike and a Ruon Tongyik own goal.
The home side looked the more likely to go on and grab a winner until a brain fade at the back led to goalkeeper Paul Izzo being sent off and Fornaroli restoring City’s advantage from the penalty spot.
Despite being down a man Paul Okon’s side fought gallantly in search of another equaliser, with substitute Josh Bingham coming close to finding the back of the net with his first touch.
Some cynical fouls from both sides ensured a disjointed end to the contest but City were able to hang on, banking a valuable three points and dealing the Mariners’ finals aspirations a serious blow.
0-1 Melbourne City: Bruno Fornaroli, 4’
Nick Montgomery gave away a foul on the edge of the box inviting Fornaroli to step up and he proceeded to stroke the ball inside the far post, leaving Izzo rooted to the spot.
0-2 Melbourne City: Nick Montgomery OG, 16’
City punished their opponents on the break with Fornaroli finding Fernando Brandan, who bombed down field before teeing up Anthony Caceres whose pass was swept into his own net by Montgomery.
1-2 Central Coast Mariners: Fabio Ferreira, 45+1’
The Portuguese winger tried his luck from distance from a free kick, with his thumping effort taking a wicked deflection off Tongyik, giving goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen no chance to react.
2-2 Central Coast Mariners: Ruon Tongyik OG, 47’
A cheap turnover from Neil Kilkenny playing out from the back allowed Kwabena Appiah to pounce, with his cross into the box turned into his own net by City’s retreating central defender.
2-3 Melbourne City: Bruno Fornaroli pen; 64’
Fornaroli held his nerve from the spot after earning his side a penalty, hammering his shot down the middle after substitute goalkeeper Ivan Necevski had committed to one side.
The Mariners were fuming when their cries for a first-half penalty were denied after Connor Pain was bundled over in the box by Ruon Tongyik. Paul Okon’s frustration at the decision was only compounded when City immediately went up the other end and doubled their advantage.
The Mariners shot themselves in the foot when goalkeeper Paul Izzo was unable to clear an under hit back pass, with Fornaroli there to pounce. Izzo dragged the City skipper down in the box when he was destined to score giving the referee no choice but to brandish a straight red card.
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