City overpower Wanderers to secure club-record sixth successive A-League win
Melbourne City turned a one-goal deficit into a 4-1 advantage to clinch a club-record sixth consecutive A-League victory, in an impressive display over Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park on Friday night.
The hosts came into the contest in fourth on the A-League table but finished it in second, moving above Adelaide United and the Wanderers to go within one point of the league-leading Central Coast Mariners.
Bernie Ibini opened the scoring against the run of play in the first half before Craig Noone struck his first of two goals just ten minutes later to restore parity in the contest.
City went on to take control in the second 45, blitzing the Wanderers with a ten-minute masterclass which saw City go 3-1 up on 55 minutes. Andrew Nabbout opened his City scoring account by brushing a lethal Noone cross over the line off his chest before assisting the Englishman's second just minutes later as the hosts surged to a 3-1 advantage at AAMI Park.
The home side's second-half dominance was highlighted by the performances of a range of City's attacking talents, but as the clock ticked into stoppage time star striker Jamie Maclaren had yet to leave his imprint on the game.
That was until he popped up to score his 12th of the season, smashing a shot on the half-volley from Daniel Margush's punched clearance into the back of the net to wrap up City's impressive win over a fellow title contender.
The result ensured City's winning streak improved to six games, bettering the club's previous A-League record twice achieved in both the 2011/12 and 2013/14 campaigns. The Mariners' place at the top of the table is now out of their control as City move to within one point of Alen Stajcic's side with a game in hand.
City applied the clamps on the Wanderers throughout the first 20 minutes before the visitors went ahead against the run of play.
Curtis Good hit the crossbar with a looping header from an early corner before Nabbout stung the palms of Wanderers 'keeper Margush, cutting in to hammer a right-footed attempt on goal after Nathaniel Atkinson's neatly-played pass off the opposite flank.
Maclaren got involved in the action with another headed chance from a corner which flashed wide of the mark but just two minutes later the Wanderers ventured forward to take an unexpected lead.
Left wing-back Daniel Wilmering set his side on the attack, intercepting Nabbout's pass deep in City's defence. In the aftermath Mitch Duke set off toward the byline with the ball and floated a cross to the back post, where Ibini was lurking with a noticeable height advantage over his marker, Scott Jamieson.
Ibini leapt highest to thunder a headed attempt on target and past Tom Glover in goal to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
But the Wanderers' advantage was to last little more than 10 minutes, after Noone equalised with a quick-thinking free kick which stumped Margush caught well off his line.
Maclaren won the foul which set up the chance outside the box. The Wanderers began to prepare to defend the City set piece but didn't take Noone's quick-thinking into consideration, as the English winger quickly lofted a left-footed curling attempt which exposed Margush as it sailed unguarded into the back of the net.
City emerged from the half-time break showing clear intent to turn their level pegging in the contest into an outright advantage, firing two attempts toward Margush within the first minute of play in the second half.
Jamieson's shot on 48 minutes called Margush into his third low, diving save of the night as he denied another City strike destined for the bottom corner, before the hosts hammered home a pair of quick-fire goals to go two up before the hour mark.
Nabbout was the first to find the back of the net in the second half, getting ahead of Mark Natta at the back post to chest Noone's whipped cross over the line and in, to give City a 2-1 lead.
That lead was doubled just three minutes later as the pair of City wingers combined again to great effect. Nabbout left Wanderers midfielder Graham Dorrans chasing shadows with a smart turn off the right flank, dribbling across the face of goal through midfield to slide Noone in at the back post.
Noone took one touch before firing a left-footed strike over Margush into the roof of the net, to seal his first-ever A-League brace.
Two goals in quick succession gave City a commanding lead, and just four minutes later the hosts struck a fourth as they looked to wrap up all three points in emphatic fashion - before the goal was scratched from the record by a VAR intervention.
Adrián Luna scored his side's fourth, tapping home at the back post after another sensational Noone cross, but VAR found Noone in an offside position when collecting Nabbout's pass from midfield out to the left flank in the build-up.
Nabbout created the chance after a hefty challenge on Natta in the centre of the park. The Wanderers defender fell heavily after Nabbout came through him to win the ball, and was brought off after receiving extensive medical attention while VAR assessed the resulting disallowed goal.
But the hosts would eventually find a fourth, albeit in second-half stoppage time through the red-hot Maclaren who struck his 12th goal of the campaign.
The Socceroos striker got in on the act late in the show with a thunderous half-volley from a corner routine not dealt with efficiently by Margush.
Western United v Melbourne City
Thursday, April 1 2021
Kick-off: 5.35pm AEDT
Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday, April 3 2021
Moreton Daily Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEDT
Featured NewsRead more
A-League Goal of Matchweek 16: Ben Halloran, chosen by Alex Brosque
Ben Halloran's nonchalant back-heeled volley scored against Macarthur FC was adjudged Goal of Matchweek 16 Alex Brosque. The Sydney FC legend chose the Adelaide United winger's goal for both the audacity of the finish and the confidence of the assist, which Joshua Cavallo fire
A-League Save of Matchweek 16 - Lewis Italiano, chosen by Mark Bosnich
Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Lewis Italiano earned Save of Matchweek 16 honours from Mark Bosnich for his diving block to keep a long-range Bruno Fornaroli bomb from flying into the back of the net. The Jets faced Perth Glory in their second game of the Matchweek and came away w
Team of the Week, presented by Bunnings Warehouse - Matchweek 16
Adelaide United were the big movers in Matchweek 16, benefiting from Macarthur FC and Melbourne City dropping points as the Reds moved to within one point of Central Coast Mariners at the top of the table. The Reds beat Macarthur and drew to fellow Finals Series aspirants West