It took a professional performance at home from the City boys to ensure that we kept in touch with Sydney following our 2-0 win over Newcastle last night.
The stadium first erupted in the eighth minute when Craig Noone, after COUNTLESS identical shots which we’ve seen narrowly float past the far post, FINALLY sunk one of his now-iconic curlers past the keeper, sending City fans into raptures.
Despite having several more chances to score in the first half, our only other goal of the game came in the form of a 63rd-minute penalty which was cooly tucked away by Jamie Maclaren for his 13th of the season.
With another important three points secured, here’s what we learned from last night’s win:
Bouzanis: High highs, low lows
Dean Bouzanis. Has there ever been a more divisive figure in club history?
Part of it comes from the fact that the 29-year-old goalkeeper has the potential to establish himself as one of the league’s premier shot-stoppers, yet frequently shoots himself in the foot with incomprehensible brain-fades and keeping errors that leave fans irate.
Season 2019/20 has been a shocker for Bouzanis so far, but last night was certainly one of the bright spots of his campaign and reminds us that whilst he remains capable of some of the most truly unforgivable mistakes known to man (in the context of the football pitch, anyway), he’s also capable of putting in admirable shifts like last night, where he really did deserve his clean sheet.
Atkinson aces his big test
Nathaniel Atkinson’s defensive capabilities have always been placed under the microscope by critics of the 20-year-old, but tonight the young right-back silenced his doubters with an excellent performance to keep Jets superstar Dimitri Petratos well and truly out of the game.
Known for his game-breaking dribbling and shooting, Petratos could barely get a sniff with Atkinson around and on the very few occasions that he was able to beat his direct opponent for the night, the youngster was determined to make up for his errors with gut-busting recoveries to turn the ball over.
Whilst Harrison Delbridge was immense last night and will likely receive most of the plaudits, Atkinson’s efforts shouldn’t go under the radar either.
Haven’t heard a roar like that since…
It’s a bit of a generic one, but there wasn’t a whole lot to talk about in this game, so let’s just take a moment to appreciate the HUGE welcome that Markel Susaeta was given by the fans to his new home, AAMI Park.
When the fourth official’s board was raised to indicate the Spaniard’s arrival to the game, fans in all corners of the stadium erupted in applause and cheers for our star signing; something we haven’t seen for a recruit since Mr. Legacy himself, Tim Cahill.
Susaeta wasn’t on the pitch for very long, but his sublime cross for Jamie Maclaren late in the piece exemplified the sheer quality of the former-Bilbao captain and provided fans with an irresistible taste of things to come.
And while we’re it…
A very-much-appreciated refereeing performance on her A-League debut.
Communicated well with the players, made the right call the large majority of the time and allowed the game to maintain a good flow, which is all we can really ask for.
Hopefully we see her in the A-League more often.