Melbourne City got back to winning ways in the A-League Men’s with a strong 2-0 win away to the Newcastle Jets.
18-year-old Academy product Ben Mazzeo scored early on his starting debut before Jamie Maclaren’s 148th league goal doubled our advantage in the second half.
It was a memorable night for City as Curtis Good became our outright all-time appearance leader, headlining a list of milestones.
Head Coach Aurelio Vidmar made three changes to his line-up for the final fixture of our three-match road trip.
Steven Ugarkovic and Alessandro Lopane were both rested which paved the way for Hamza Sakhi and Terry Antonis to return in midfield.
Leo Natel and Scott Galloway (illness) were both absent from the matchday squad, with 18-year-old City Academy product, Ben Mazzeo, named on the right wing for his starting debut.
Starting XI: 1. Jamie YOUNG (GK), 25. Callum TALBOT, 22. Curtis GOOD, 26. Samuel SOUPRAYEN, 8. Hamza SAKHI, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 10. Tolgay ARSLAN, 46. Ben MAZZEO, 44. Marin JAKOLIS, 9. Jamie MACLAREN (C).
Substitutes: 33. Patrick BEACH (GK), 6. Steven UGARKOVIC, 7. Mathew LECKIE, 18. Jordon HALL, 21. Alessandro LOPANE, 37. Max CAPUTO, 38. Harry POLITIDIS.
The game almost began with a carbon copy of Wednesday night in Tokyo, Callum Talbot inches away from another cracking goal in the opening moments.
He was found with a lovely Marin Jakolis switch and cut inside, but this time around his effort on goal was just over the bar.
Jamie Maclaren – rocking a new look with the shaved head – was played in on goal by Tolgay Arslan in the eighth minute but saw his close-range effort saved, before Terry Antonis’ attempt on the rebound was blocked.
City continued to pile the pressure on the Jets defence and were able to find the breakthrough in the 11th minute.
As we’ve seen numerous times this season, Jakolis whipped in a pinpoint cross from the left-hand side and on his starting debut, Mazzeo made the perfect run to the back post and fired home a bullet on a header.
Jamie Young was called into action for the first time in the 25th minute and was able to make the save as Newcastle youngster Justin Vidic looked for the equaliser.
The Jets got better as the half wore on and City needed a pair of big interventions from Talbot and Curtis Good in the final minutes of the half to ensure we went into the break ahead.
We began the second half positively, bouncing back quickly from a disappointing end to the first 45.
A pair of big substitutions were made in the 57th minute with Mathew Leckie entering the pitch for his A-League return and Steven Ugarkovic introduced for his 200th league appearance.
Almost immediately following those changes we doubled our advantage after some lovely build-up play.
Jakolis was again at the centre of things driving through midfield and laying off to Tolgay Arslan, who then played a no-look pass to our Captain who was as cool as ever to net his 148th A-League goal.
Hamza Sakhi continued a strong shift in midfield while the introduction of Ugarkovic allowed City to control the contest and not give Newcastle a sniff throughout the second half.
For the second week running in the league, Sakhi was just inches away from scoring a free kick, firing an effort that required a good save from Ryan Scott in the 76th minute.
Max Caputo and Harry Politidis were both introduced in the first minute of stoppage time as Vidmar made his final changes and we were able to see out a well-deserved three points.
City will return home tomorrow after 11 days on the road, before once again leaving the state on Thursday for Friday night football in Perth against the Glory.