An experienced Melbourne City extended its recent unbeaten streak over the Newcastle Jets to five matches at McDonald Jones Stadium at the weekend.
With Jamie McLaren, Aziz Behich, Terry Antonis, Marin Jakolis, Matthew Leckie and debutant Ben Mazzeo in fine form, the visitors cruised to a 2-0 victory on Sunday 3 December.
The triumph also pushed Melbourne ahead of Newcastle on the competition ladder.
But, the game almost erupted in the 78th minute when City keeper Jamie Young took out a runaway Archie Goodwin, who only retuned in round five from injury.
With the crowd baying for a red card, official Shane Skinner held up a yellow instead, much to the hosts’ dismay.
Again, like the previous week, the Jets started the showdown poorly, with Melbourne dominating the opening exchanges.
In the 12th minute, Jakolis stole possession from Dane Ingham and found the head of Mazzeo, who placed the ball into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Although Newcastle looked flat, the side enjoyed several chances to respond.
Justin Vidic, in his first outing, went close while Trent Buhagiar hit the posts, before Lucas Mauragis blazed over the top.
For good measure, Clayton Taylor caused a number of headaches, too.
However, the Jets lacked sharpness up front and sorely missed star striker Apostolos Stamatelopoulos.
At the other end of the field, City seemed to be toying with its rivals, without converting opportunities.
Despite that, and some excellent saves by Ryan Scott, Newcastle only trailed 1-0 at the break.
Melbourne extended its advantage in the 58th minute when Jets defender Phillip Cancar failed to maintain control.
Man of the match Tolgay Arslan offloaded to McLaren, who made no mistake, capturing his fourth goal of 2023/24.
Newcastle was presented a possible break soon after when Leckie fouled but Kosta Grozos’ right-footed free kick went astray.
The injection of Goodwin and Reno Piscopo added some attacking flair to the home team, however it wasn’t enough with Young upholding a clean sheet.
The Jets next face A-League Men’s (ALM) leaders Wellington Phoenix at Sky Stadium on Saturday 9 December.
For more sports stories:
- Gary van Egmond: Thrilling to see Jets named in Young Matildas
- REAL NRL: Grace’s dream to play in NRLW a step closer
- SCDCA: Honours shared over the opening rounds
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