Three things we learned: City vs Central Coast
The club’s 10-year anniversary match was made an even more special night by a 3-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners which has ensured City have achieved their best-ever start to a season.
It was only fitting that Curtis Good would be the one to put us ahead, heading the ball into the back of the net from a well-worked short-corner which was delivered by Lachie Wales in the 17th minute.
Adrián Luna scored his first competitive goal for City when he netted in the second half from a Metcalfe cross before Rostyn Griffiths scored our third in the 82nd following a set piece which the Mariners failed to clear.
Jordan Murray scored a late consolation goal to make it 3-1, but it was hardly a goal that City deserved to concede, with the chance coming about from a freak miscontrol by Daniel De Silva to perfectly, though coincidentally, set up Murray, which couldn’t have realistically been prevented.
The three points ensured our best-ever start to an A-League season and that we remain top of the league for another round, assuming Western Sydney doesn't beat Western United by more than two goals. Here’s what else we learned from last night’s match:
The moon’s rising over Melbourne
It’s taken him a few weeks, but Adrián Luna’s finally on the up.
The Uruguayan’s first competitive goal for the club came in last night’s win when Connor Metcalfe set him up with an inch-perfect cross, which Luna was able to deftly finish past a stranded Mark Birighitti.
Luna’s performances have been slowly improving over the past few weeks and his ability to create dangerous opportunities with incisive passing has really been put on display. We’re beginning to see what type of player he’s going to be for us and the next few JMac-free weeks will provide him with an opportunity to continue embedding his style of play on our games, leading us onto our next point…
Goals without JMac
When fans found out about Jamie Maclaren’s hamstring injury following the Western United game, the overwhelming concern was fairly well-merited; at that stage, he’d scored all four of the goals from our first three games and Craig Noone, our next most-likely goalscorer, seemed to be underperforming.
Nonetheless, we’ve now scored six goals in two games without Maclaren, with six different scorers finding the back of the net.
Not only are we still able to find the goals to win games, but we’re also seeing exciting cameos from players who mightn’t have been given an opportunity otherwise.
Stefan Colakovski immediately springs to mind as a young player who’s given the fans even more to look forward to this season, with the forward’s exhilarating, break-neck style of play proving encapsulating to watch.
As aforementioned, Adrián Luna is another whose game has been taken to the next level in recent weeks also.
Our depth is scary
With (presumed) regular starters Richard Windbichler, Florin Berenguer, Javier Cabrera and Jamie Maclaren dealing with early season injuries, it’d be reasonable to expect that we’d surely be feeling the pinch by now as we scramble to field adequate replacements, right?
Yet those absences have hardly been felt in our undefeated start to the season.
Ok, maybe Maclaren’s an exception, but Curtis Good and Harrison Delbridge have been excellent at the back, youngsters Connor Metcalfe and Denis Genreau have stepped into midfield to cover for Berenguer, and Lachie Wales and Ramy Najjarine have been battling it out for a place on the right wing whilst Cabrera’s been out.
And whilst our striker solutions haven’t been mind-blowing, we’ve now scored six in two, as previously mentioned, so obviously something’s going right.
The scary part is that as Cabrera, Berenguer and Windbichler properly return from injury over the next week, they might not even break into the starting lineup… and it’s a fantastic dilemma to have.
Final Score: City 3 - 1 Mariners
⚽️ 17' Good
⚽️ 59' Luna
⚽️ 82' Griffiths