It took eight matches and a three straight losses but the Melbourne City that was promised at the beginning of the season finally arrived and in emphatic style.
Whether this continues or was simply a flash-in-the-pan performance fueled by last season’s Grand Final heartbreak remains to be seen – but there was no doubt this was the best City had looked in some time.
It was the usual suspects who did the damage in the usual way.
Jamie Maclaren only needed eight minutes to open the scoring; being perfectly positioned to pounce on an Andrew Redmayne save which fell his way off an Adrian Luna attempt.
The pair would be involved in the build-up to City’s second in the 28th minute when Luna tapped home a Craig Noone cross – which received the deftest of touches off Maclaren’s head – for his second goal of the season.
Though what City craved was the unusual; someone capable of flipping the script. Enter Andrew Nabbout.
Showing no signs of rust after six weeks out with a hamstring injury, Nabbout surged forward every chance he got and his side reaped the rewards.
The Socceroo nearly sent home fans into raptures when his perfectly weighted cross landed on Maclaren’s head at the back post, only for last season’s golden boot winner to be denied by a desperate Redmayne.
Though this new dynamic duo would not be denied again, with Nabbout teeing Maclaren on the six-yard box for his second with a low cross through a sea of defenders in the 54th minute to clinch the three points.
A first half concussion forced Luke Brattan off, which will see the midfielder miss Sydney’s match at home to Macarthur on Sunday.
It was perhaps Sydney’s worst performance under Steve Corica, with this being just the side’s second loss in its last eight trips to Melbourne.
The Sky Blues managed to pull one back midway through the second half when substitute Milos Ninkovic slipped the ball past Tom Glover from close range from a deflected Anthony Caceres cross.
A late Patrick Wood goal at the beginning of stoppage time then made the final four minutes interesting after Ninkovic set the 18-year-old up for the easiest of goals.
But this would be City’s night – the side’s best win of the season coming just when it needed it most.
Featured Image: Getty Images
MELBOURNE CITY 3 (Maclaren 8′ & 53′ Luna 28′)
SYDNEY 2 (Ninkovic 72′, Wood 92′)
Tom Glover, Scott Jamieson, Rostyn Griffiths, Jamie Maclaren, Florin Berenguer, Craig Noone, Nathaniel Atkinson, Andrew Nabbout (Marco Tilio 94′), Connor Metcalfe (Taras Gomulka 92′), Adrian Luna (Nuno Reis 64’), Curtis Good
Naoki Tsubaki, Stefan Colakovski, Ben Garuccio, Matt Sutton
Andrew Redmayne (GK), Alex Wilkinson, Alex Baumjohann (Patrick Wood 58’), Ryan McGowan, Paulo Retre (Ben Warland 87′), Bobo (Milos Ninkovic 58’), Kosta Barbarouses (Jordan Swibel 58’), Joel King, Anthony Caceres, Rhyan Grant, Luke Brattan (Calem Nieuwenhof 21’)
Patrick Flottman, Tom Heward-Belle