Champions City too good for Mariners in 3-1 win

Melbourne City have moved back into second on the Isuzu UTE A-League table after recording a 3-1 win over Central Coast Mariners in Gosford.

Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout and debutant Carl Jenkinson were all on the scoresheet for coach Patrick Kisnorbo’s side as they overcame Marco Urena’s 42nd-minute strike; giving City their third win of the season and snapping a run of three straight draws.

Already hit hard by COVID-19 in 2021-22 – Sunday represented the hosts’ first ALM fixture since December – the Mariners entered the contest without Dan Hall, Lewis Miller, Josh Nisbet, Garang Kuol and Nicolai Muller due to the virus.

For City, defenders Scott Jamieson, Nuno Reis and Rostyn Griffiths all dropped out of their lineup due to a combination of suspension and COVID.

Their early dominance of the game, however, meant that their makeshift backline had very little to do in the opening exchanges.

Getting forward in the 18th minute, fill-in left-back Jordy Bos played an integral role in his side’s opener when he advanced into the Mariners’ penalty area and let loose with an effort that keeper Mark Birighitti could only parry into the path of a waiting Maclaren.

City were wasteful with their remaining first-half chances and were made to pay late on when Urena wrongfooted makeshift centre-back Aiden O’Neill and drove a shot into the bottom corner.

Nabbout reclaimed the lead for City when he met a perfectly-weighted cross to the back post from French teammate Florin Berenguer and fired in his fourth goal of the season.

Former England international Jenkinson, who only landed in Australia on Thursday after securing a loan from Nottingham Forest, then sealed the game when he turned in a goalmouth scramble in the 84th minute.