Maclaren hat-trick helps City inflict 10th straight defeat on Mariners
Jamie Maclaren scored a hat-trick as Melbourne City beat Central Coast Mariners 4-2 in Friday's Hyundai A-League clash.
Maclaren rapidly cancelled out Jordan Murray's opener after just 72 seconds before Markel Susaeta put the visitors in front by the 10 minute mark.
The Socceroos forward added his second with a neat finish after the interval and although Murray gave the Mariners hope Maclaren clinched his hat-trick to consign Central Coast to their 10th consecutive defeat.
The win strengthens City's hold on second position ahead of Monday night's fixture with Newcastle Jets.
Read on for all the goals and highlights!
It took all of 72 seconds for Jordan Murray to break the deadlock after ghosting past the City rearguard and finishing beyond Tom Glover with a brilliantly timed run.
Glover came out to meet the number nine, but the ex-APIA Leichhardt marksman measured a composed finish past him to give Central Coast a flying start.
It was a lead that lasted a matter of minutes.
Maclaren, having forced Mark Birighitti into a scrambling save only moments earlier, restored parity when Markel Susaeta slipped the Socceroo in behind the Mariners defence for Maclaren to fire in his 21st goal for the club.
Having teed up Maclaren for the equaliser, the former La Liga veteran Susaeta turned goal scorer to give Erick Mombaerts' side the lead.
Craig Noone beat Lewis Miller on the edge of the box and chipped a cross to the far post for the Spaniard to emphatically head past Birighitti.
Maclaren forced Birighitti into a regulation stop as City pounced on a turnover, and although Alen Stajcic's men steadied and although the visitors lived dangerously for a period, it was still City who created the better first half chances.
Rostyn Griffiths guided a free header over and Noone flashed a bicycle kick into the arms of Birighitti as the two teams entered the sheds at the half time interval.
Maclaren did not need many second half minutes to help himself to a brace.
With City resuming their dominance after the break, Susaeta released Nathaniel Atkinson into the box and found Maclaren alone in the box to stab home his second of the evening, and 17th of the campaign, and one that saw the Australian international go outright first in the Golden Boot race.
It gave the Mariners another unwanted record - the first time in competition history that a team had conceded three or more goals in four straight home games.
Birighitti palmed Maclaren's rasping volley away and made a spectacular diving save to prevent Florin Berenguer from picking out the top corner as City continued to pile on the pressure.
But it was the Mariners who got themselves back into it and thanks to Murray's bullet header.
Chris Harold did well to hold off the advances of Scott Jamieson and delivered an excellent ball into the area, and Murray's leap over Atkinson was sensational.
It gave the hosts a glimmer of hope, but City restored their two-goal buffer through their talisman striker.
Another driving run from Atkinson resulted in a shot which took a deflection which fell kindly in favour of Maclaren, who measured a neat finish into the far corner to seal his treble and go two clear in the Golden Boot race.
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