Joyce hails 10-man City’s resolve after draw with Mariners

Warren Joyce says there can be no doubt about his side’s character after a 10-man Melbourne City fought back twice to draw with Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.

City were forced to play more than an hour with 10 men at Central Coast Stadium after Harrison Delbridge was sent off for a lunging challenge on Blake Powell.

Already trailing 1-0 at the time, City hit back through Ross McCormack before the break and while Jake McGing restored the host’s lead early in the second half, Joyce’s men responded again.

With time almost up, marquee substitute Marcin Budzinski hit a bullet from outside the box to ensure City left Gosford with a point.

“I think we’ve showed that [character all season],” Joyce said.

“Unfortunately that’s the fourth time now we have been down to 10 men, but every single time we have driven the game and showed unbelievable levels of fitness.

“I thought we were the stronger team, driving the game and were the team looking the most likely to win.”

McCormack became the fastest player in Hyundai A-League history to get to 13 goals, and the Scotsman has now scored in his last six straight games.

Ross McCormack
Ross McCormack became the fastest player to hit 13 goals in the A-League.

He was one of City’s best on Sunday, while substitutes Nick Fitzgerald, Budzinski and teenager Connor Metcalfe – on his Hyundai A-League debut – also made impacts off the bench.

“Fitzy’s done great this season. It’s just sharing the load; we know he’s going to give pace and energy,” Joyce said.

“Budzinski has come on and [scored with] a great strike and pleased [with him] even though he’s only on 10-15 minutes.

“Connor Metcalfe I thought was great, a young kid making his debut in an unfamiliar position, he kept driving the game and showed good intelligence as well.”

City returns home next weekend for a huge clash with fifth-placed Adelaide United at AAMI Park on Sunday.