Melbourne City FC prevailed 4-1 over Northern Fury in the team’s first of two pre-season friendlies in Townsville on Wednesday night at Townsville Sports Reserve.
City secured the result against the National Premier Leagues Queensland outfit with two goals in either half, with debutant Braedyn Crowley and City youth player Yusuf Ahmed adding second half goals to first-half strikes from Bruce Kamau and Luke Brattan.
With pre-season fitness and match minutes a key focus for Head Coach John van’t Schip, City opted for a strong starting XI, before making 10 changes at the half time break to allow the team’s youth players important match time.
The absence of first-choice ‘keeper Thomas Sorensen and defender Manny Muscat were the only changes from City’s starting side which progressed 2-1 in the Westfield FFA Cup against Brisbane Strikers a fortnight ago.
Dean Bouzanis replaced Sorensen in goal, while Argentinean livewire Fernando Brandan came into the starting side as City reverted to a back-three and led with an attacking front line which included Bruno Fornaroli, Nick Fitzgerald and Bruce Kamau.
It was the latter who made the most of an early chance, lashing home the opening goal after just five minutes with a powerful low drive across Northern Fury’s goalkeeper.
City dominated the early exchanges and looked particularly dangerous in the final third, with Anthony Caceres testing Fury’s back line with a diving header from Luke Brattan set-piece in the 12th minute.
Brattan delivered a better outcome just six minutes later, firing home a deflected free-kick after Brandan was felled on the edge of the area on 18 minutes.
Fitzgerald, Kamau and Fornaroli manufactured further opportunities, but Fury’s ‘keeper ensured the score line remained at 2-0 at the break thanks to some fine stops to prevent City’s dangerous front line.
With the 10 changes in the second half including former Fury striker Braeydn Crowley, the expectant crowd didn’t have to wait long to see their hometown hero find the back of the net, with City’s new number 29 turning in a shot from close range just three minutes into the second half.
Despite City’s 3-0 lead, Fury pulled a goal back from the penalty spot after a push in the 18-yard-box.
But the visiting team rounded out the evening when Ahmed popped up to head home a looping cross in the 87th minute.
Pre-season Friendly Match
Wednesday 7 September 2016
Northern Fury FC 1 (Penalty 71′)
Melbourne City FC 4 (Bruce Kamau 5’, Luke Brattan 18’, Braedyn Crowley 48’, Yusuf Ahmed 87’)
Venue: Townsville Sports Reserve, Townsville
Crowd: Approx.. 1000)
Referee: Jarred Gillett