City’s five goal feat repeated, in Gosford

By Corinthian (Paul Green):

Hyundai A-League – Season 11 – 2015/2016 – Round 9
8pm, Thursday 4 December, 2015 – Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (Austin 86′ pen)
lost to
Melbourne City FC 5 (Novillo 26’, 57’, Fornaroli 45’, Mauk 75’, Mooy 94’)


Central Coast Mariners slumped to their sixth loss of the season and their third in front of their own fans, when they went down fighting against a very much in-form Melbourne City side at a near-deserted Central Coast Stadium on a Thursday night in early December, one of two such home matches planned for the club this season by the A League marketeers, bent on providing more fodder for the fans who watch games from the comfort of their armchairs.

Or in this case, perhaps, at the club or pub, with Mariners’ fans deliberately giving the event a miss, in protest not against its awkward timing on a week-night, but as a statement of solidarity with fellow-clubs’ supporters, riled by recent statements from FFA regarding the treatment of fans around the nation, by stadium authorities and by the League’s administrators.

Here Melbourne City turned up with a strong side, one that had beaten Perth Glory a week earlier at home, by a resounding 5-1 scoreline, ultimately the same outcome that they managed here as well.

They were good value for their win, well-deserved it has to be said, though the Mariners did enjoy some good periods of play, especially early in the game and until the visitors had stretched their 26th minute lead to 2-0, via an excellent Harry Novillo goal, moments before the break, this time through emerging star Bruno Fornaroli.

After that there was virtually no way back, any slim hopes of pulling an early goal back, at the start of the second-half, soon dampened within a matter of twelve minutes, again thanks to the solid finishing of Frenchman Novillo.

While the Mariners did pull one goal back later, via an Mitch Austin 86th minute penalty, after the powerfully built and speedy wingback was dumped heavily in the area, as he pushed his way past three different defenders, on his path to goal.

It was some consolation, of course, especially in the way that Austin dispatched his spot-kick with a good measure of authority, but also for the player himself who had a strong game, despite the heavy loss.

A number of the Central Coast players had good games, in fact, though it was more a matter of the team being outplayed as a unit, than of any individual player being found wanting.

Melbourne City had a greater shape and also better cohesion and closer understanding among their attacking players, of whom they had quite a number who looked to exploit obvious weaknesses in the home team’s ranks, especially on their constant counter-offensives.

With regular captain, Nick Montgomery, sitting this one out through suspension, the role of skipper fell to Josh Rose, who struggled to make an impact at times and was replaced just after the hour mark, with three goals to make up if the game was to be saved, thus being sacrificed for fresh legs and perhaps some intended reshuffling of resources.

The opening goal was pretty clinical as Novillo converged on a smart cross from the right by Bruno Fornaroli in the 26th minute, after a fast counter-attack and following quite a few solid chances for both teams prior to that opening strike.

Roy O’Donovan, the Mariners’ Irish striker, was unable to show the kind of clinical finishing skills that the Melbourne City attacking players demonstrated, O’Donovan out of luck on this Thursday night as his timing let him down when good balls were played towards him, allowing City keeper, Thomas Sorenson, to gather the ball against the expectations of home fans who saw clear scoring possibilities denied.

Among many positive signs for the Mariners which came to naught, were superb runs by Mitch Austin and Harry Ascroft from deep, Austin especially giving Ivan Franjic a torrid time out wide on the left.

City, however, were very well served by Patrick Kisnorbo and Connor Chapman, as well as the effective Erik Paartalu.

With Storm Roux also looking sharp on the right flank, City could easily have gone down a goal or two early, but the lack of a finisher counted against the Mariners, for whom Nick Fitzgerald and Anthony Caceres also showed plenty of creative and explosive moments.

But they weren’t enough as City had so many players on song, attacking with relish and huge self confidence, Aaron Mooy a key architect of Central Coast’s destruction.

Once City had struck their second, moments before the break, the game looked virtually gone and so it proved in the second half.

The second goal was a beauty.

Jack Clisby played Novillo in down the left and after a deft pass to Paartalu, the ball found its way to Fornaroli, who had looked lively throughout.

He finished the move off superbly and it was a goal of some class, which rocked the Mariners back on their heels.

Even with some players out of action due to injury, including Robert Koren and Corey Gameiro, City were dominant and much of that can be attributed to Mooy and the first two goal-scorers, who will probably hold the key to the club making itself a power in Melbourne football at last, after years of supremacy by Melbourne Victory.

Fornaroli struck the post in the 48th, but continued to pose problems for the Mariners’ defence.

The fact that Stefan Mauk and Jacob Melling were also having good games, did the visitors no harm, either.

In the 57th taking Mauk’s excellent pass, Novillo made it 3-0 with a low shot from just outside the area that gave Central Coast keeper, Paul Izzo, no chance.

Mauk himself managed to get on the scoresheet when he tucked away a low cross from Mooy in the 75th, after a period of play during which both sides earned a number of corners, Mooy involved in most of them.

Further chances to O’Donovan punctuated this period, with Kisnorbo showing his class with a magnificent tackle to deny the Irishman in the 62nd, after a well-weighted Caceres through pass,  with O’Donovan also showing up as a provider, offering Austin a chance that the latter blasted well over the bar. It simply wasn’t the Mariners’ day.

City substitute, Hernan Espindola, could have made it five in the 90th minute, but Izzo made a fine save, until Mooy had the last word finishing on the right, following a free-kick, with a superb shot from an impossible angle on the right that saw the ball fly into the top left corner of Izzo’s net.

It was the second consecutive 5-1 win for the Melbourne side and the manner of the victory in both games, albeit against struggling teams, should set the City team up for a strong chance of joining in the title race this season.

By Corinthian

Coaches comments

“Mariners coach Tony Walmsley said after the game: “Look at the end of the day, I can’t sit here and defend a 5-1 defeat at home, firstly let me say that. But what I will do is say that I’m fully behind this group of players. Their intent in the first half and the way they went about it was outstanding.
“You have to execute at both ends of the park, we missed chances, we coughed the ball up at the other end and you’re 2-0 down and asking how did that actually happen so had we got the first goal in the second half, we’d have been in it, but we didn’t, we conceded the third, we didn’t start the half particularly well and from there on in, you’re up against it, heads are down, confidence is a strange thing isn’t it, you’re three down at home, you’re wondering what’s happened, where does that spark come from”, he added.

“We go down to 10 men, score a goal with 10 men as per usual, that’s the way we do things. I’m looking long term here, we’ve said from day one we’re going to have a real crack, expose some young players to some really high demands and they’ve got too cop that on the chin so do I”, he concluded.

City coach John van’t Schip said, “It shows today that if they want to man mark Aaron Mooy other players get more space. Bruno was more available … Harry got more freedom because of that. Aaron has to understand that it’s a learning process for him. But you still see that he is important with his presence.”

Match details

Crowd: 4,514

Central Coast Mariners FC: 1. Paul IZZO (gk), 2. Storm ROUX, 3. Josh ROSE (21. Michael NEILL +65’), 4. Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5. Harry ASCROFT (23. Tomislav USKOK +67’), 6. Mitch AUSTIN, 9. Roy O’DONOVAN (19. Josh BINGHAM +73’), 10. Anthony CACERES, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 16. Liam ROSE, 22. Jake McGING
Unused substitutions: 40.Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK), 15.Matthew SIM
Yellow cards: Jacob Poscoliero 34’; Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Tony Walmsley

Melbourne City FC: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 4.Connor CHAPMAN, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Erik PAARTALU, 8.Aaron MOOY, 9.Harry NOVILLO (30.Hernan ESPINDOLA 82’), 21.Stefan MAUK (15.David WILLIAMS 77’), 22.Jack CLISBY, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 24.Patrick KISNORBO (c), 25.Jacob MELLING (18.Paulo RETRE 74’)
Unused substitutions: 20.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 19.Ben GARUCCIO
Yellow cards: Jack Clibsy 20’; Red Cards: Nil
Coach: John van’t Schip

Srebre Delovski 7/10
Assistants:  Lance Greenshields, Andrej Giev; Fourth Official: Trent Nash

Ratings and points

Game:  6/10
Pitch: 9/10

Player points:
3. Harry Novillo (MC)
2. Erik Paartalu (MC)
1. Mitchell Austin (CCM)

By Chris Dunkerley
Photo: Chris Dunkerley for BOTN