Well, that was somewhat unexpected.
Melbourne City has closed out its preseason tour of friendlies in the UK with a 5-1 demolition of English Championship side Bolton Wanderers.
After falling behind early, City raced to a two-goal lead by half time through goals from Patrick Kisnorbo, David Williams and former Bolton and Western Sydney Wanderer Aaron Mooy, before James Brown and Mate Dugandzic netted after the break to seal an impressive victory.
Matt Windley’s report for the Herald Sun indicates that Bolton fielded a largely second-string side that featured only a handful of first-teamers, but City, kitted in its previously-home-and-now-away colours, can still be well pleased with the manner of the victory against a side that was playing Premier League football three years ago.
John van’ t Schip named his strongest starting XI of the preseason, with Irish recruit Damien Duff making his first start. His presence moved Iain Ramsay to left-back, while Mooy, Massimo Murdocca and Nick Kalmar patrolled the midfield behind Duff, Dugandzic and Williams.
The game started inauspiciously, however, with Bolton opening the scoring in the first five minutes. Melbourne City’s live tweet makes the goal sound somewhat comical:
Still, City obviously responded well, with Duff growing increasingly influential as the half wore on. The team drew level through Patrick Kisnorbo, who volleyed home Mooy’s corner on 20 minutes, and City took the lead just before the half-hour when Williams netted for the second straight game. Duff was instrumental in City’s third, as he found space before finding Mooy, whose shot found the corner.
Duff was replaced by Brown at half time, and the substitute scored City’s fourth goal from another Mooy assist just after the hour. Dugandzic rounded out the scoring on 72 minutes after profiting from a Bolton turnover.
The win means City finishes its UK tour with a victory and two draws. While friendly results are obviously irrelevant, the games will have almost certainly lifted the squad’s confidence and aided the gelling process.
The Herald Sun report added that City players will begin returning home in the next couple of days, before returning to their less luxurious Latrobe University training base next week.
City's next meaningful game comes in two weeks, when the side hosts Sydney FC in both sides' inaugural FFA Cup match in Ballarat.
HAVE YOUR SAY: What are your thoughts on the win against Bolton?