As Melbourne City prepares to embark on its FFA Cup title defence with a Round of 32 encounter against Peninsula Power on Tuesday, we look back at City’s opening round fixture against Floreat Athena last August.
At this point last season, Melbourne City survived a major scare from PS4 NPL WA club Floreat Athena to emerge 2-1 winners in their Westfield FFA Cup clash at Dorrien Gardens.
City advanced to the Round of 16 – and beyond, eventually lifting the 2016 trophy – however, not without a fight from Floreat.
City dominated the early exchanges in Perth with Luke Brattan and Osama Malik both going close in the opening minutes.
Those two were involved again as Brattan’s delivery found the head of Malik only for a spectacular flying save from keeper Jason Saldaris keeping things level.
But just four minutes later City had their breakthrough as Fitzgerald cut in from the left and hit a powerful low shot which squirmed past an unsighted Saldaris at the near post.
Brattan was having a stormer of a game in his competitive debut for City and another of his deadly free-kicks looked destined for the back of the net only for another super save from the home side’s excellent gloveman.
And it proved a big save as just a few minutes later Floreat were in raptures as they drew level through Kris Gate.
An excellent ball over the top by Lewis McMahon released Gate who held off Connor Chapman before poking it past Thomas Sorensen.
City responded in superb fashion six minutes later with Anthony Caceres rifling home an unstoppable effort from 30 metres out into the top corner.
Both sides had chances to score in a frantic finale but City held on to avoid a Cup boilover and move into the last 16.
Westfield FFA Cup 2016
Round of 32
Tuesday 2 August 2016
Floreat Athena 1 (Gate 59’)
Melbourne City 2 (Fitzgerald 32’, Caceres 65’)
Dorrien Gardens, Perth