Melbourne City FC and Western United shared the spoils in the teams’ second hit-out of pre-season behind-closed-doors at Casey Fields on Monday.
Mathew Leckie opened the scoring in the first half, before a Western United equaliser early in the second 45 saw the clash finish 1-1.
With another game to come against the same opponent this Friday, Patrick Kisnorbo opted to play two almost completely different line-ups in Monday’s fixture.
First half: 1. Tom GLOVER, 3. Scott JAMIESON, 22. Curtis GOOD, 5. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 2. Scott GALLOWAY, 8. Aiden O’NEILL, 18. Connor METCALFE, 10. Florin BERENGUER, 7. Mathew LECKIE, 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 9. Jamie MACLAREN.
Second half: 1. Tom GLOVER, 2. Scott GALLOWAY, 34. Jordon HALL, 8. Aiden O’NEILL, 13. Nathaniel ATKINSON, 48. Luke ORESTI, 52. Matthew GRIMALDI, 20. Manuel PUCCIARELLI, 35. Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES, 23. Marco TILIO, 17. Stefan COLAKOVSKI.
City started the game strongly with Aiden O’Neill impressing early in the middle of the park. He linked up on a number of occasions with Andrew Nabbout on the right, playing a few pinpoint lofted balls over the Western defence to find the winger.
Rostyn Griffiths made a few important interceptions at the back in the early stages as City controlled majority of the possession.
A hard-pressing Florin Berenguer almost got City off to a perfect start in the fifth minute, winning the ball back inside the penalty area and teeing up Jamie Maclaren who had his close-range effort saved.
Nabbout continued to cause issues for Western’s defence and he played a perfectly placed cross on Mat Leckie’s head to open scoring in the 22nd minute.
Other than coming off his line a couple of times to clear his lines, City keeper Tom Glover had a relatively stress-free first half – not being called into action to make any saves.
That changed early in the second half when Western found an equaliser, a corner making its way through the City defence and finding its way into the back of the net via a deflection.
The young City line-up would almost find an instant reply though. A cross-field ball from Nathaniel Atkinson found Raphael Borges Rodrigues in acres of space on the left wing, before he drove forward and sent a venomous strike just wide of the target.
That duo were again involved in an almost identical move minutes later, although this time Borges Rodrigues went wide and crossed to an unmarked Marco Tilio at the back-post, only for the winger to fire his attempt over the bar.
City made a change in between the sticks midway through the second 45, with Mathew Sutton coming on and making an athletic stop in the 68th minute to keep scores at 1-1.
Luke Oresti had some nice moments in midfield, while new signing Jordon Hall looked strong at the back as the teams played out what was an even second half.
City will take on Western United again this Friday afternoon in another behind-closed-doors friendly, before taking on South Melbourne in the FFA Cup the following week.