An 86th minute thunderbolt from Manny Muscat saw City steal a late win over the Newcastle Jets on a dreary Saturday night in the Hunter.
The Jets, looking to break away in second position on the Hyundai A-League ladder were without several players through injury including Roy O’Donovan, Ronald Vargas, Daniel Georgievski and Wayne Brown.
Despite the lack of experience, it was the Jets who would start the stronger as the heavens opened during the first half at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Andrew Nabbout was in the thick of things early, causing headaches for the City defence courtesy of a few well-timed runs as he looked to get in behind the visitors back four.
He was ably supported by Jason Hoffman and Joe Champness up front, who both had strong first half performances – creating a number of chances on goal.
The Jets attacking third was combining nicely as they controlled possession and enjoyed the better of the play for the majority of the first half.
City custodian, Dean Bouzanis was called into the XI just five minutes before kick-off – after Eugene Galekovic was withdrawn with a back complaint – and kept the visiting side in the match with some crucial saves.
It was Andrew Nabbout who again found the back of the net – making it five goals in five matches – as Hoffman provided some great service into the area to put the Jets in front.
The lead was short lived, as Ross McCormack earned a penalty for City after tangling with Boogaard in the box just before the break.
The second half didn’t live up to the expectations of the first, as both sides searched for a winner in terrible conditions.
The VAR became a further point of discussion following seperate incidents in the box involving Jasson Hoffman and Bruce Kamau, but the eventual winner would came during the run of play courtesy of Manny Muscat.
Bouzanis would prove a thorn in the Jets’ side, making a number of crucial saves as they searched for an equaliser, on his way to Man of the Match honours.
From the coach:
“We started off really well, I thought there was some great ball play, movement and good shots – their goalkeeper pulled off some fine saves and we really dominated that first half.
“We have lost a lot of players, but I was pretty impressed with how we set out to win that game from the outset and with a bit of luck could have got a tap in at the end there.
“A good performance overall but we just lacked experience tonight with so many players unavailable.”
4’ | 0 – 0 | Nabbout again! He’s looking busy already tonight and causing the City defence some problems early #NEWvMCY
8’ | 0 – 0 | CHANCE! Champness goes close after Hoffman and Nabbout combine nicely to get him into space – Bouzanis covers the shot well #NEWvMCY
13’ | 0 – 0 | CHANCE! Hoffman delivers a beautiful ball into the box as Champness looks to head through, Bouzanis deflects his effort as Dimi hits the post on his follow-up #NEWvMCY
15’ | 0 – 0 | Hoffman again! Bouzanis saves the day for the visitors again as he tips his shot over the crossbar #NEWvMCY
31’ | 1 – 0 | GOAL! Nabbout! #NEWvMCY
31’ | 1 – 0 | Nabbout shakes his man to get on the end of a ball over the top, with Bouzanis getting a hand to his first effort – the in-form attacker makes no mistake with the second #NEWvMCY
39’ | 1 – 0 | City awarded a penalty after Boogaard collides with a defender in the box #NEWvMCY
40’ | 1 – 1 | Goal to City as McCormack makes no mistake from the spot-kick #NEWvMCY
65’ | 1 – 1 | CHANCE! Petratos finds Nabbout with a beautiful ball into the area, as Bouzanis easily collects his volleyed effort #NEWvMCY
73’ | 1 – 1 | Quick free kick taken as Nabbout looks to find a charging Hoffman with the cross – Bouzanis again saves the day for City #NEWvMCY
81’ | 1 – 1 | Nabbout goes close with a ball into the area for Petratos, his pass is just too long as Bouzanis cuts it off #NEWvMCY
Newcastle Jets: 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD, 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Dimitri PETRATOS, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 20.Glenn MOSS (gk), 24.Joe CHAMPNESS, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY
Subs: 12.Mario SHABOW, 19.Kosta PETRATOS, 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Devante CLUT, 30.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk)
Subs Not Used: 19.Kosta PETRATOS, 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 30.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk)
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
Goals: 15.Andrew NABBOUT (31’)
Melbourne City: 1.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Scott JAMIESON, 5.Bart SCHENKEVELD, 7.Nick FITZGERALD, 13.Stefan MAUK, 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 25.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 26.Luke BRATTAN, 27.Marcin BUDZINSKI, 44.Ross McCORMACK
Subs: 18.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 11.Bruce KAMAU, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 17.Tim CAHILL, 21.Ruon TONGYIK
Subs Not Used: 14.Daniel ARZANI, 18.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 21.Ruon TONGYIK
Yellow Cards: 5.Bart SCHENKEVELD (38’), 22.Michael JAKOBSEN (51’), 2.Manny MUSCAT (90’+1’)
Red Cards: N/A
Goals: 44.Ross McCORMACK (pen 41’), 2.Manny MUSCAT (86’)