Murray brace not enough to keep City down

In the first Hyundai A-League match behind closed doors the Mariners were defeated 4-2 by Melbourne City in the sides second meeting of this campaign.

Having suffered a 3-1 defeat in Melbourne to City earlier in the season the Mariners made two alterations to the side who went down to Brisbane last weekend.

Tommy Oar returned to the starting eleven alongside Joshua Nisbet at the expense of Milan Milan Ðurić who began on the bench and Daniel DeSilva who was absent through injury.

The match began at a frantic pace with three goals in the opening ten minutes seeing the hosts both take the lead then fall behind.

Jack Clisby’s whipped ball from the sideline found Jordan Murray with space to run through on Thomas Glover’s goal.

Some acute control and precise finishing saw Murray net his third of the season and second against City, after scoring in the previous meeting.

The visitors replied almost immediately though, striking back through Jamie Maclaren as he was teed up by Markel Susaeta, and ten minutes in to the game City were ahead, this time Susaeta netted himself as he ghosted at the back post to head home Craig Noone’s cross.

The half was an even affair as it continued with no real clear cut chances for any side, and the Mariners remained down by a goal at the break.

The second half began like the first with a goal after three minutes, MacLaren grabbing his second of the match so give Melbourne some breathing distance.

Some sloppy Mariners defending allowed Nathaniel Atkinson to make it to the byline and cut back for a grateful MacLaren to toe in his 17th of the season from six yards.

Birighitti denied MacLaren his hat-trick with a point blank save to keep the score at 3 ten minutes into the half, before producing a stunning stop to deny Florin Berenguer-Bohrer a fourth.

After riding the pressure the hosts regained a foothold in the game through a second goal of the game for Murray. A well worked cross from Chris Harold was met highest by Murray who powered a header past Glover to give the former NPL top scorer his first brace in the A-League.

However the Mariners determination was extinguished when MacLaren ensured he’d be leaving Gosford with the match ball, latching onto a blocked shot before looping an effort into the net.

The Mariners will now face Perth midweek, with details to be confirmed for that fixture.