'Nothing Lasts Forever': Three things we learned - WU vs City
Melbourne City's best-ever winning streak has come to an end after six games, going down to Western United by two goals to one.
City made a strong start, netting within 12 minutes through Craig Noone following a nice bit of interplay with Jamie Maclaren to put the 'away' side one goal ahead.
Despite a barrage of City chances throughout the 90 minutes, it was United who were the more clinical, capitalising on a brief period of domination to find goals through Lachie Wales and Besart Berisha.
Here's what we learned from our first defeat in nearly two months.
It's time to praise JMac's abilities as a creator/provider: :
We're all well aware of how ruthless our talisman striker is when it comes to scoring goals, but the fact that his ability to set them up for fellow teammates has flown under the radar is astonishing.
His perfectly-placed pass across the box for Craig Noone's goal yesterday was assist number five for the season, which has now elevated him to number one for assists within the team, as well as equal-third in the same category league-wide.
These assists have by no means been easy ones to set up either, which only highlights Maclaren's immense quality as an elite attacking player.
Stopping the league's best striker just got all the more difficult for opposing teams, now that the great man has added this new string to his bow, and that can only be a good thing for City fans.
Uncharacteristic defensive lapses have now cost us two clean sheets in a row:
Against Western Sydney last week, Berni Ibini was poorly marked by our central pairing, with the task of contesting him for the header being left to the smaller-statured Scott Jamieson.
They weren't at their best against Western United either, allowing space for Besart Berisha to tap the ball back across the goal to assist for his side's first of the night. Lachie Wales was also the more proactive when it came to contesting for the header, with Ben Garuccio far too slow to react.
Later, they allowed Wales' cross into the box for Berisha to pounce on, with the Kosovan finding space where it shouldn't have existed in order to swivel and shoot.
Sure, there have been alterations to our back four of late in terms of personnel, but that's no excuse for costly concentration-related errors like those.
We all know that our defenders can learn from mistakes. Hopefully, they can do it again.
We missed our captain a lot:
No disrespect to the stand-in skipper Rostyn Griffiths, but neither he nor anyone could emulate Scott Jamieson's leadership enough to lead us to a positive result yesterday.
Jamieson's leadership and defensive qualities were on full display during our six-game winning streak, with countless examples of an instructional voice that you could hear from the stands, as well as clean passing and tackling.
There is now a challenge to the rest of the squad when/if Jamieson is next missing; it will be interesting to see who can step up in his absence when we're under severe pressure once again.
Fortunately for City fans, it's just a short turnaround until our next game, with the boys getting their opportunity for redemption when they take on Wellington Phoenix on Monday night.