Football 2 years ago

City hit Mariners for five in A-League

  • City hit Mariners for five in A-League

A Harry Novillo brace has helped Melbourne City to a cheap 5-1 disposal of Central Coast to surge to fourth on the A-League ladder.

John Van `t Schip's men on Thursday night became the first team in A-League history to score five goals in consecutive games with Bruno Fornaroli, Stefan Mauk and Aaron Mooy also netting.

A reduced crowd of 4514 turned out at Central Coast Stadium in the first of a league-wide protest against Football Federation Australia.

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Active supporter group the Yellow Army had "Gone to the pub", according to the banner left in their bay, while the regular brass band did not play.

The rest witnessed a manic match in which the Mariners struggled without suspended captain Nick Montgomery.

The Scot's absence left 20-year-old Harry Ascroft with the unenviable task of marking Mooy.

Mitch Austin had clearly been itching to return after a game out with a foot injury, the 24-year-old executing bursting runs down the park.

And the Mariners created chances, but their attacking play left them hopelessly exposed on the counter-attack.

City smelled blood.

An error from defender Jacob Poscoliero only aided the visitors' cause as Fornaroli sashayed on the counter-attack and crossed for Novillo to finish crisply.

Novillo had a crack at doubling City's lead minutes later, but overcooked his long-range free-kick.

It was on the cusp of halftime that Fornaroli stretched the margin for his seventh goal in nine games.

Jack Clisby found Novillo, who tapped to Fornaroli on the left flank.

He could have simply had a shot, but the Uruguayan displayed excellent decision-making to thread a delicious pass to Erik Paartalu, before receiving the ball again at a more-inviting angle to put away.

The Mariners went close after the break when Nick Fitzgerald fired a bullet from the edge of the area that forced City goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen to stretch fingertips.

However, another defensive error gifted City the ball inside Central Coast's third and Novillo capitalised, sending it whistling across the face of goal and pocketing in the corner out of gloveman Paul Izzo's reach.

They weren't done yet.

Once Ascroft was subbed off, a freed-up Mooy made his move, flitting down the right and crossing with precision for Mauk to ram home.

The Mariners were down to 10 men for the final 13 minutes after a groggy Storm Roux was guided off the field with suspected concussion.

It seemingly didn't matter, with Austin finally getting his moment after earning a penalty kick that he had no problem converting for the Mariners' sole consolation.

And in extra-time, Mooy couldn't stay out of the action, slamming one into the roof of the net.

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