City hold on to ground Jets

Melbourne City FC saw off a late comeback from the Newcastle Jets to secure a 2-1 victory at La Trobe University on Sunday.

The home side didn’t take long to find their passing rhythm and knocked the ball around with ease for much of the first half.

Marc Marino fashioned a sight of goal within five minutes when he burst into the area before his shot was smothered by Newcastle Jets goalkeeper John Solari.

Newcastle responded and nearly opened the scoring in spectacular fashion after 14 minutes when Nicolas Olsen curled a free kick towards the top corner, only to be denied by a brilliant one-handed save from Tando Velaphi.

After squandering a series of half chances, Melbourne City FC at last broke the deadlock in the 30th minute through a Steve Whyte own goal.

Ross Archibald slipped in Stefan Mauk on the right before his close-range cross ricocheted off the helpless defender and into back into the net.

Eager to add a second before half-time, Joe Palatsides’ side continued to press the opposition and eventually earned their reward in the 39th minute through Wade Dekker.

An intelligent flick-on by Hernan Espindola sent the striker bearing down on goal before he calmly rolled the ball under Solari to give the hosts a 2-0 lead going into break.

Newcastle returned from the interval looking the better side early on, but Melbourne City FC continued to craft opportunities despite having less of the ball.

The home side wasted a handful of chances in a drab second half and alarm bells started ringing when Newcastle winger Brandon Lundy tapped one home to make it 2-1 with five minutes left on the clock.

Minutes later Marino could have put the result beyond all doubt with only Solari to beat, but his lobbed effort went straight into the goalkeeper’s gloves. 

Joe Palatsides’ team managed to see out the final minutes to secure a fourth win of the season and remain second in the Foxtel National Youth League.

Melbourne City FC’s next match is against Adelaide United at the Lower Playing Fields, La Trobe University on Saturday.