'Never as simple as it looks': Three things we learned: Central Coast vs City
In true Melbourne City fashion, nothing is ever as simple as it looks and this played out to a tee as Rado Vidosic's side was held to a 1-1 draw in Gosford.
A Jordy Bos wonder strike just after the hour mark looked to be enough to see us crowned Premiers for a third straight season, but the dirtiest of deflections off of a Joshua Nisbet strike ensured that for now, the champagne must remain on ice.
Here are three things we learned from the encounter.
Really, last night was a tale of two fantastic keeping performances, as both shot-stoppers pulled off some almighty saves to keep their sides in it.
We know that Tom Glover isn't faultless, but when he's good, he's great.
Especially in the first half where City was struggling to break into any real rhythm, Glover stood tall and was able to send us into the sheds still level. Whilst not required as much in the second half, he was still able to make a couple more pivotal saves that allowed us to leave with a point.
Glover ended the night with six saves, and was arguably our best performer on the night.
Yet another week where we're left asking ourselves how we only scored one goal.
City created more than enough great looks at goal that either went wide or straight at Vukovic, and considering the firepower the squad possesses, the inefficiency in front of goal just grows more and more frustrating.
The game plan is fine and the numbers support it. City is the highest-scoring side in the league this season scoring seven more goals than the Mariners and Reds who are in equal second.
However considering we've had a couple big days out where we've scored four or fivr against rather weak opposition, maybe that number flatters us a bit.
A more accurate and consistent description of our attack this season would be one that is incredibly wasteful.
For the season, City leads the expected goal numbers and shots on target numbers, and is second in big chances created, currently on 47.
However, City is also second in the amount of big chances missed, with a whopping 40 chances gone begging this season.
The one thing the coaching staff can't do is score the goals for the players, and ultimately the amount of big chances missed this season is what has separated us from completely blowing the rest of the league away, and the players wasting those chances are the ones that need to be held accountable for that.
Whilst we are a very good side in front of goal, our numbers suggest we should be an astronomically good side in front of goal, and yet last night we again had to share the points due to our poor finishing at times.
Fortunately, the inefficiency in the final third has gone relatively unpunished as we are still in prime position to finish first, however that doesn't change how frustrating it is when we waste as many good looks as we do.
A decent enough result
As disappointing as it was to not seal the plate last night, the result in retrospect isn't too bad.
The result still very much works in our favour, and we may still be crowned before this weekend is over. Our point means that if Adelaide fails to win their match later today against Western United, we're Premiers.
Even if they win, City realistically only requires a singular point from our final two games to sure it up. If Adelaide wins all of their final three games, they would have 50 points, City currently sits on 49. We still have a +15 goal difference on the Reds, so them overturning that in just three weeks is near-impossible.
So, as frustrating as last night was, all it's really done is delay when we'll lift the plate, rather than change the equation on if we'll win it.
All things considered, a point is quite a good result.
All eyes will be on the Reds game today, which, if it goes in our favour, would allow us to welcome home our three-time Premiers.
If it doesn't, the opportunity to lift the Plate in Melbourne presents itself next week as we face nomads Western United.
All we can do for now is wait.