Having crossed the South Australian border to take on Campbelltown in a competitive FFA Cup clash last night, our City boys did well to come away with the 3-1 win, sending us through to the next round of knockout fixtures.
Strong lineups were fielded by either side, with Erick Mombaerts electing to go for a 4-3-3 formation which saw Connor Metcalfe join Brillante and Berenguer in the midfield, whilst Craig Noone and Javier Cabrera started out on the left and right wings respectively.
It took just 6 minutes for JMac to get his first opportunity of the night, with the striker finding himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper. The bouncing ball was lobbed over Campbelltown’s shotstopper Harpas, but the effort unfortunately ended up wide of the net.
However, it wouldn’t be too much longer until Maclaren was able to get his name on the scoresheet.
With Metcalfe unable to penetrate the opposition defence at the edge of the box, the youngster was forced to pass outwards to ‘El Cangrejo’ Cabrera on the right flank, who sent in a well-executed cross to Maclaren at the back post, with the ball narrowly finding its way into the back of the net from a tight angle.
Metcalfe continued to impress throughout the first half, repeatedly picking up the ball in dangerous situations just outside the opposition area, whilst City’s revitalized attacking style was looking the goods early on, with some excellent interplay and quick passing between the midfield and attacking trio.
Campbelltown blew an opportunity in the 21st minute following a turnover at the halfway line from Delbridge, but were on target just a few minutes later when their captain Iain Fyfe slotted home a penalty following a foul in the box from Scotty Jamieson.
With the game at 1-1, Craig Noone proved his quality with several flashes of brilliance in general play before scoring an absolute belter in the 31st. Coming onto the ball following a Metcalfe flick-on header, the Englishman turned and struck the ball from well outside the box, sending in a rocketing effort which nestled into the side netting at the far post.
Aside from a few, mostly unnoteworthy chances for either side, the remainder of the first half was a largely uneventful affair, and this trend carried on into the second half, with both teams sustaining lengthier periods of possession without really troubling the goalkeepers.
Despite Lachie Wales coming on for Javier Cabrera in the 68th, it was Campbelltown who stepped the intensity up a notch, dominating the play for the next 15 minutes and sending several warning shots to the City bench, including a narrowly wide header by former player Marc Marino.
Adrián Luna came on for Craig Noone in the 79th minute, whilst Richard Windbichler was subbed on shortly after, having to replace an injured Scott Galloway who appeared to be in quite some discomfort (shoulder) following an awkward fall from height whilst contesting an aerial ball in the box.
The break in play created an opportunity for City to settle things down and halt Campbelltown’s momentum, before delivering a sucker punch in added time; Luna’s perfect cross from the left wing found JMac in the box to nod the ball past the keeper and secure his second goal for the match, sealing the deal for City.
Yohei Matsumoto was the standout for Campbelltown, consistently beating our fullbacks with pace and trickery, whilst also being able to cross inside for the likes of Marc Marino, who had a pretty impressive showing against his old side.
Craig Noone was the clear standout, especially from the first half, for City, whilst Connor Metcalfe and Javier Cabrera were also impressive.
Final score: Campbelltown 1-3 City
⚽️ 11' Maclaren
⚽️ 31' Noone
⚽️ 90+3' Maclaren