City recover to stun Jets in Newcastle
Manny Muscat was the unlikely hero for Melbourne City as they came from behind to beat Newcastle Jets 2-1 at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday night.
The full-back belted home a bouncing ball in the 86th minute to end his side’s four-match winless run and leave the Jets five points off leaders Sydney FC.
Ernie Merrick’s men had seemed likely to claim another vital victory when Andrew Nabbout capped a dominant first half hour with his fifth of the season.
But Ross McCormack squared the ledger from the spot before half-time and City were rewarded for an improved second half with Muscat’s thumping winner.
STORY OF THE GAME
- Dean Bouzanis came under heavy examination early, first denying Joe Champness and then producing an excellent double save from Champness and Dimitri Petratos.
- And the goalkeeper - a late call-up in place of Eugene Galekovic - next tipped over Jason Hoffman's inventive effort as the Jets looked in the mood early.
- The hosts deservedly broke the deadlock just after the half-hour when Nabbout pounced on a Marcin Budzinski error.
- But, out of seemingly little, City pulled level prior to half-time through McCormack's penalty.
- Searching for his sixth of the season, Nabbout was unable to contort his body to make more of a volley just beyond the hour.
- Warren Joyce threw on Tim Cahill with 15 minutes to play, but it was an unlikely source in Muscat who provided the late winner.
Nabbout, Newcastle Jets 32': 1-0
Budzinski's intended clearance off Hoffman's boot turned into a perfect through ball for Nabbout, who held off Bart Schenkeveld and finished well at close range.
McCormack (p), Melbourne City 40': 1-1
Nick Fitzgerald's wicked cross from the right drew Nigel Boogard into clumsily bundling over McCormack. The striker picked himself up and blasted the resultant spot-kick straight down the middle.
Muscat, Melbourne City 86': 1-2
Scott Jamieson's byline cut-back pinballed around the penalty area until it was emphatically lashed in by Muscat.