The Central Coast Mariners have fallen narrowly to Melbourne City, courtesy of a strike from distance to Bruno Fornaroli which handed the Mariners a 1-0 loss.
Melbourne City FC 1 (Fornaroli 49’) Central Coast Mariners 0
The run down
In a tight affair at AAMI Park where the Mariners and City failed to create clear cut chances the Yellow & Navy gave City a tough battle away from home.
For the second time in as many weeks, Wayne O’Sullivan handed a Hyundai A-League debut to an 18-year-old attacker from the Academy when Peter Kekeris was substituted on for Lachlan Wales in the second half.
It was a cagey opening 45 minutes where both sides struggled to get a foothold on the match. City boasted majority of the possession in the opening stages but only troubled the Mariners’ goalkeeper on one occasion.
The home team’s best chance of the match came when Luke Brattan released Fornaroli but his shot was well saved by Ben Kennedy.
For the Mariners, Connor Pain and Andrew Hoole linked up on a number of attacks and the away team started to shift momentum in their direction for the latter stages of the second half. Their best chance of the half came when Trent Buhagiar made a bursting run down the right-hand side and played in Hoole who couldn’t get enough on his shot to trouble Dean Bouzanis.
Neither side could find the opener before the break which saw it all locked up at 0-0 when they hit the sheds for half time.
But it took less than five minutes for City to take a second half lead when Fornaroli fired into Kennedy’s bottom corner which ultimately proved to be the winner.
The Mariners mounted a late charge in the final stages but it wasn’t enough to stel a point from AAMI Park.
Full focus from the Mariners now shifts to Hyundai A-League Round 27 where the club will farewell Josh Rose in his final match for the club. Kick-off on Saturday night is 7:50pm against the Newcastle Jets.
49’ FORNAROLI GOAL (1-0): With the game locked at 0-0 City’s danger man took the game into his own hands. It fell perfectly for Fornaroli who took his chance first time and fired into the bottom corner to give his side a second half lead.
Sully’s say (Wayne O’Sullivan’s Press Conference)
"It was similar to the last two weeks to be honest," O'Sullivan said. "The boys worked really hard and they were punished for making a mistake. I am really proud of their efforts over the past three weeks, the work rate has been unquestionable, their application has been superb and we've just lacked some quality at times.
"The plan was to defend a bit deeper and hope that we could create some attacking moments in transition. In the first half we looked dangerous in that space without getting to the final part we wanted to get to.
"With 20 to go we unloaded the bench and pushed further up the park with less numbers at the back. For a while there we had some good territory, it was just that final ball and a little bit of luck. Like I said, I am proud of the performance but disappointed with the result.
"It's an interesting one because Lachie has always played in the front third but in the last couple of weeks we've utilised him in the midfield for his energy and his quality. He's been really fortunate to be exposed to the A-League training space for a long period of time and it's a testament to his dedication. He's been superb and he's a great example to our youth team players back home. He's been excellent and he gives us that transition moment from defence to attack.
"City have quality over the park. They've got real quality in the front third and I think they can really push it during the finals series," O'Sullivan said.
Central Coast Mariners: 1.Ben KENNEDY(gk), 3.Josh ROSE (8.Blake POWELL 78’), 4.Jake McGING, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR (22.Jacob MELLING 69’), 16.Liam ROSE, 15. Alan BARO, 21.Kye ROWLES, 23. Wout BRAMA, 24.Lachlan WALES (25.Peter KEKERIS 84’)
Substitutes not used: 18. Tom GLOVER (gk) & 14.Adam BERRY
Yellow Cards: Pain 39’
Melbourne City FC: 1.Dean BOUZANIS (Gk), 3.Scott JAMIESON, 5.Bart SCHENKEVELD, 8.Oliver BOZANIC,10.Dario VIDOSIC, 13. Stefan MAUK (2.Manny MUSCAT 82’), 14.Daniel ARZANI (7.Nick FITZGERALD 55’), 22. Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 26.Luke BRATTAN, 37.Nathaniel ATKINSON (4.Harrison DELBRIDGE 87’)
Substitutes not used: 18. Eugene GALEKOVIC (Gk), 27. Marcin BUDZINSKI
Yellow Cards: Arzani 34’
Saturday, 7 April 2018
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Melbourne City FC vs. Central Coast Mariners