It was a Mother’s Day to remember for all in attendance at AAMI Park last night, with those in the stands witnessing a resilient 3-2 win in what could prove the defining game of our season.
Connor Metcalfe put us ahead early, before Scott Jamieson forced an own-goal that saw us take an early 2-0 lead.
Tom Glover will be disappointed with how he conceded Joey Champness’ off-balance, driven effort which found the back of the net in the 28th minute, before Macauley Gillesphey headed home from the corner just ten minutes later.
With the game hanging in the balance in the second half, it was Scott Galloway who stepped up to restore City’s lead, stringing an incredible solo dribble into the box with an eventual rocketed volley from an impossible angle to culminate in a potential goal of the season contender.
Now nine points clear at the top, here’s what we learned last night:
Our final test
Last night’s clash was probably the biggest test to our title credentials that we’ll face over the remainder of the season, and we passed it.
Brisbane pushed us to the very edge and even looked like they’d be scoring the next goal at several stages after the restart following the break, but City prevailed, and the fact that someone like Scott Galloway was the unlikely saviour is a testament to the character and depth of our champion squad.
Depending on who you ask, the lid’s already off.
Realistically, last night’s result makes it pretty difficult for the side to Heart it from here, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility yet.
What we can be proud of as fans though is the fact that this team is still putting in performances week-in, week-out that are deserving of a Premier’s Plate.
Last night was billed as a title fight, ‘six-undefeated vs seven-undefeated’, and that ‘one will fall’, and, unlike Godzilla vs Kong, one did.
Not enough love for Noone
This ‘lesson’ doesn’t specifically come from last night’s game, but Craig Noone continues to be one of the most underappreciated City players in recent memory, and we’re here to sort that out.
We’re not talking about a quiet achiever like Osama Malik back when we’d go in to bat for him on the pod, we’re talking about the league’s premier chance-creator, a player who is equal-second for assists and who has more goal contributions for City this season than all but Jamie Maclaren.
Noone even surpassed Aaron Mooy to record the most assists in Melbourne City history when he set Connor Metcalfe up to record our opener in that 1-1 against Macarthur – and did it in seven fewer games, according to Transfermarkt.
With four games still to play until he equals the Pasty Pirlo for appearances, Noone needs to provide just THREE goal contributions to tie with the man who’d recently been considered City’s greatest-ever male player.
But sure, drop him for Tilio, apparently.
Another ingredient of a champion team: a spread of goalscorers
Let’s face it; JMac may have just played his worst game of the season.
Let’s face another fact though; we can’t rely on him to keep shouldering the goalscoring responsibilities.
The pleasing thing is, however, we don’t.
With Connor Metcalfe enjoying a breakout season, we have a reliable goalscoring midfielder in our ranks, ready to come through for the team when a deadlock needs to be broken.
Noone (5) and Nabbout (2) are also chipping in, whilst we’ve also had goals from both our fullbacks in recent weeks.
Our management of situations where Maclaren is having an off night or being marked out of the game has been a defining feature of our incredible turnaround since losing to Newcastle in February, and could also prove the difference come Finals time.