A late John Hutchinson strike has seen Melbourne City draw 2-2 with the Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park on Sunday evening.
Goals from Mate Dugandzic and Erik Paartalu appeared to give City their second successive victory, but the Mariners struck twice in the final ten minutes to return home with a share of the spoils.
The result still leaves Melbourne City in the top six, two points ahead of the seventh placed Mariners.
A frantic opening to the match saw Melbourne City nearly open the scoring inside 40 seconds, with Mariners ‘keeper Liam Reddy racing out of his area to clear ahead of the onrushing David Williams.
Minutes later Jacob Melling nearly marked his first start with a goal, blazing over the crossbar after latching on to a lovely chipped pass from Dugandzic.
Dugandzic was proving to be a livewire in attack for City, teeing up Damien Duff inside the penalty area in the 7th minute, but the Irishman could only fire his shot straight at Reddy.
City’s dominance in attack was came to fruition in the 10th minute, with Dugandzic scoring his second goal in as many matches after heading home a superb Iain Ramsay cross.
The Mariners had an opportunity to hit back immediately as Melling was dispossessed in the middle of the park, but Nick Fitzgerald’s shot was superbly turned around the post by Andrew Redmayne.
City continued to press forward in search of a second goal, with Melling firing a shot wide and Williams forcing Reddy to spectacularly tip a rasping drive over the crossbar.
In a busy half for the Mariners shot-stopper, Reddy once again produced a fine reaction save after his unconvincing punch fell to the feet of defender Jason Hoffman, while also holding on to a Duff strike at the second attempt.
The Mariners looked to regain the ascendancy in the second half, with Matthew Sim wasting a glorious chance to level the scores as he fired straight at Redmayne after being put through on goal by Mitchell Duke.
And the Mariners were made to pay for the wastefulness only seven minutes later, as Erik Paartalu rose highest to meet Duff’s corner and send a thumping header past Reddy to double the lead.
Williams wasted a golden opportunity to make it 3-0 soon after, blazing his shot over the crossbar after being released on goal by Melling.
City were in complete control as Duff continued to shine, with the Irishman’s teasing cross eluding the Mariners defence and striking substitute Marc Marino in the face, before forcing Reddy to save with his feet.
Reddy then produced another brilliant save from a powerful Melling drive as City looked to put the game beyond doubt.
But the home side’s inefficiency in front of goal would prove to be costly, as substitute Trifiro gave the Mariners a life line when he curled a glorious free kick into the top corner in the 80th minute.
And the comeback was complete when Hutchinson fired home from range in the fourth minute of added time with what proved to be the last kick of the match.
Melbourne City FC are back at home this week against Sydney FC at AAMI Park on Saturday Night at 7:30pm.
Hyundai A-League Round 6
Sunday, 16 November 2014
Melbourne City FC 2 (Mate DUGANDZIC 10′, Erik PAARTALU 53′)
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Glen TRIFIRO 80′, John HUTCHINSON 90+2′)
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Adam Fielding
Melbourne City FC Line-Up: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3. Robbie WIELAERT, 5. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Iain RAMSAY, 11. Damien DUFF, 15. David WILLIAMS (Marino 63′), 17. Jason HOFFMAN, 23. Mate DUGANDZIC (James BROWN 74′), 24. Patrick KISNORBO (C), 25. Jacob MELLING (Paulo RETRE 85′), 28. Liam MILLER
Substitutes not used: 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 27. Ross ARCHIBALD
Yellow Cards: Duff 72′, Melling 78′
Red Cards: Nil
Central Coast Mariners Line-Up: 12. Liam REDDY (GK), 4. Jacob POSCOLIERO, 3. Joshua ROSE, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY (Glen TRIFIRO 62′), 9. Mitchell DUKE (Isaka CERNAK 80′), 10. Anthony CACERES, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 15. Matthew SIM (Richard VERNES 67′), 21. Michael NEILL
Substitutes not used: 1. Matthew NASH (GK), 25. Eddy BOSNAR
Yellow Cards: Fitzgerald 56′