Hooley bags brace against Melbourne City

Andrew Hoole bagged a brace against Melbourne City in the club’s narrow 3-2 pre-season loss to Melbourne City in Melbourne.

Melbourne City FC 3 (Arzani 11', Fitzgerald 53', Fornaroli 61') Central Coast Mariners 2 (Hoole 23', 55')

Hooley’s prolific pre-season continued today at the City Football Academy taking his tally in Yellow & Navy to a total of seven goals before coming agonisingly close to scoring his second pre-season hat-trick.

The sides battled it out in a modified time format with one 45 minute and two 30 minute periods in blustery conditions in Bundoora and the contest began with both sides looking to feel their way into the match.

As the tempo picked up, it was City who inflicted the first blow, finding the back of the net after 11 minutes through Arzani. The winger’s dangerous run was honoured by a wonderfully clipped through ball by Fitzgerald, with Mariners keeper Ben Kennedy deflecting into the path of an on-coming attacker, finishing into an open net.

The Mariners didn’t let the early set-back halt their possession-based play and were rewarded after 23 minutes as a line-splitting through ball from Liam Rose found Hoole with acres of space through the City defence. The talented midfielder made no mistake with the finish, slotting low, past Dean Bouzanis' outstretched left foot.

With parity restored, the sides returned to exchanging combinations and as the time ticked down on the opening period, Fornaroli went close to restoring City’s lead. The Uruguayan’s curling effort from the edge of the area was comfortably saved by Ben Kennedy.

A swift combination between Fornaroli and Fitzgerald saw the latter played in to the penalty area as the forward performed a cut onto his left foot before finishing at the far post.

Warren Joyce’s side would be pegged back again minutes later as a cynical foul on Josh Bingham by Osama Malik on the edge of the area opened the door for Hoole to show his set piece arsenal.

The midfielder opted to strike towards the keeper’s side with Bouzanis beaten in the bottom corner by the low, powerful free-kick.

At 2-2, City went on the offensive once again and an audacious effort by Ruon Tongyik from distance almost had his side ahead a minute after conceding.

A cleared throw in saw the defender beat his man to the ball, striking a vicious, dipping volley from 30 yards towards Glover’s goal. A marvelous one-handed save from the shot-stopper saw the Tottenham loanee put the effort into the side netting but City would find their reward shortly after.

With Storm Roux being called offside up the other end seconds before, Scott Jamieson’s quick free-kick played Fornaroli through with two defenders to beat in the forward half.

City’s number 23 teased his way past both Mariners stoppers, finishing with a strike past Glover.

The visitors had the chance to tie the match for the third time minutes before the end of the second period as Luke Brattan fouled Bingham in the penalty area, seeing Hoole step up to the spot.

Hoole thumped his effort into the crossbar, seeing the follow up scrambled away by the City defence.

Melbourne City FC: 1.Dean BOUZANIS, 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Scott JAMIESON, 6.Osama MALIK, 7.Nick FITZGERALD, 8.Neil KILKENNY, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 26.Luke BRATTAN

Subs: 18.Yaren SOZER, 12.Braedyn CROWLEY, 15.Denis GENREAU, 17.Tim CAHILL, 32.Christian CAVALLO, 35.Ramy NAJJARINE, 36.Dylan PIERIAS, 37.Nathaniel ATKINSON

Central Coast Mariners: 1.Ben KENNEDY, 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Anthony GOLEC, 15.Alan BARO, 4.Jake MCGING, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 16.Liam ROSE, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 11. Connor PAIN, 17.Josh BINGHAM

Subs: 20.Tom GLOVER, 13.Kwabenea APPIAH, 23.Wout BRAMA, 21.Kai ROWLES, 8.Michael STOJANOVSKI, 10.Daniel DE SILVA, 14.Adam BERRY, 2.Storm ROUX