A tiny home crowd turned out on a humid Wednesday night at AAMI Park to witness a disappointing City result as the boys dropped another two points despite leading 2-0 early on.
Goals to Berenguer and Leckie saw the hosts ahead until Fornaroli and Timmins scored either side of halftime to claw the game back and earn a point for the Glory.
Here are three things we learned from this one:
Vive la Florin révolution
Let’s start with a positive; Florin Berenguer is the best player in the A-League Men’s right now.
From being the City whipping boy only a couple of seasons ago, Florin has this season showcased everything that we had ever hoped to see from the French midfielder. His passing is classy, his goalscoring is wonderful and his ability with the ball at his feet is effortless.
I’ll own it, for years I have been Florin’s biggest critic at City. I have slated him in articles, I have questioned his repeated selection on the podcast, but boy am I happy to say he’s made me look stupid.
Another goal for Florin last night, and he’s really taken the league by the scruff of the neck. In my (admittedly very biased) opinion, Florin has to be the current favourite to take home the Johnny Warren Medal.
The Worst Defence in the League
And now for the negatives...
Two more points dropped. After being two goals to the good, we once again threw the win away. City has now given away 13 points from winning positions this season.
Despite having the best attack in the league, we also have the title of being the leakiest defence in the division. We have conceded a staggering 23 goals in 16 games, an average of 1.4 goals per game.
In last night’s game, City looked lethargic and flat-footed for both of the goals conceded. Fornaroli’s goal came when Glover was chipped and Bruno was all alone at the back post to head home the easiest goal of his career. The second goal came with almost our whole team behind the ball, standing off in the box whilst Timmins had an acre of space to fire a shot through the crowd and into the back of the net. Both preventable errors were caused by our defence being flat.
Why has this happened? Is this a tactical difference that we’re seeing? Has the loss of Atkinson made a bigger difference defensively than we expected? It’s hard to say. Either way, this is an issue that needs fixing very fast if we’re any chance of winning the Premiership.
Speaking of the premiership, despite the disappointing result, the draw was enough to see us climb back into first on the table. Yay? It feels a little hollow doesn’t it?
Let’s be honest, it doesn’t really mean a lot, this season is so disjointed and every team has played a completely different number of games. Western United, who are second, have two games in hand on us for example. The fight for back-to-back premierships feels like an uphill battle at the moment, which is strange considering we’re in first.
If we can shore up our defence and continue scoring goals at the other end, we may just do it, but it feels like things need a fair bit of improvement between now and then.