Melbourne City has started its pre-season preparations with an entertaining 4-3 win over NPL Victoria’s Oakleigh Cannons on Tuesday night as they continue their preparations for the Round of 32 of the FFA Cup.
The contest – played over three 40 minute periods – saw the majority of City’s first eleven play the first two periods while a second eleven played out the remainder.
Monsoonal rain and arctic winds greeted the sides as thunderstorms brewed before the match however the heavy rain eased at kick-off, seeing the winds remain for the majority of the contest.
Debutant Craig Noone was in the thick of the action in the early stages, prying a chance on goal and setting up Jamie Maclaren, who combined with him well on the left in the opening 20 minutes.
It was an unlikely source that would find the opener however as Connor Metcalfe blasted the opener from range. The midfielder found space in the centre of the park and with no clear passes available, pulled the trigger on his shot that fizzed into the bottom corner.
City had a 1-0 lead at the first 40 minute interval however the hosts held their own in the second stanza.
Goals to Harry White and Matt Foschini stunned the crowd at Jack Edwards Reserve, handing the hosts the lead with two well-taken finishes.
A change in personnel on the hour mark saw the hosts field a younger squad as City found their equaliser soon after. It was Noone once again causing trouble for the Oakleigh defence as his effort on goal was parried high into the air, landing on Maclaren’s head on the goal-line.
With the scores locked at 2-2 during the final interval, City’s second eleven entered the match as they looked to stake their claim ahead of next Wednesday’s FFA Cup clash.
They did however have to work their way from behind a second time as the Cannons went ahead after 104 minutes. A break against the run of play was initially thwarted by the City defence however a stray pass opened the door for the Cannons to dink an effort over Birighitti in the City goal.
It didn’t take long for City to restore parity as Lachie Wales finished off some tidy work by Ramy Najjarine to make it 3-3 before Moudi Najjar found the winner from the spot with the last kick of the match as City departed the dreary night with a win.
All eyes now focus to the FFA Cup Round of 32 clash with Campbelltown City in Adelaide next week as City look to progress to the Round of 16 of the national cup competition.
Oakleigh Cannons – 3 (50’ White, 55’ Foschini, 104’)
Melbourne City FC – 4 (25’ Metcalfe, 62’ Maclaren, 110’ Wales, 120, Najjar)
First XI: Bouzanis, Jamieson, Windbichler, Delbridge, Galloway, Brillante, Berenguer, Metcalfe, Noone, Cabrera, Maclaren
Second XI: Birighitti, Karlic, Good, Graham, Atkinson, Griffiths, Genreau, Luna, Wales, Najjarine, Najjar