As I curled up on my Friday night to enjoy a fixture which involved a team with no identity and a team with no shame I really didn’t expect it to be that much of a one sided affair.
The Central Coast Mariners haven’t had a great season to say the least but I thought they may use some of the winning fairy dust they used against the Wanderers last weekend and possibly apply just a sprinkle against Melbourne City. They did not.
Now we all take digs at Melbourne City and their lack of fans which can be frustrating for the existing fans, cos all jokes aside, they do exist. Less than 5,000 spectators made the trip to AAMI Park for Melbourne CIty’s last game of the regular season on a Friday night. I think there’s layers to that sentence and I do not need to elaborate.
As you can imagine with these two teams, the game kicked off as flat as me in the sixth grade. Those top notch Fox Sports mic’s designed to pick up aggressive natured and passionate chants instead picked up the soothing sound of seagulls, giving us a relaxing and coastal vibe. I kinda felt like a Mojito.
I decided to spend the first 10 minutes on the ABC commentary for the first time as I was viewing on the app for this game and wanted to scroll through twitter to see if others were as bored as I was, they were. The ABC commentary though, geez it was good. Every now and then when I had to get out of the app to go into another one, no worries, could just keep the audio going to make sure I don’t miss anything. And hell, they knew their shit.
With no surprise to absolutely anybody, Melbourne City are the first to start the attacking. Given the team is a majority of youngsters, I’m expecting a lot of risks to be taken in this game. The Mariners were trying to have their fair share of attacking power while sitting deep but Bart Schenkeveld said no dice.
In the 35th minute, Shayon Harrison (I think he’s from Tottenham Hotspur??) dancing through the defenders, I think it was the Samba, beating four men plus the keeper, opens the scoring by finding the back post.
The Mariners had a spell attempting to respond to the goal however it was about as successful as my responses would be on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
Unfortunately for the Mariners, geez how many times have I said that this season, Riley McGree exists. Scott Jamison sends in a ball from out left which somehow aligns perfectly onto McGree’s boot who’s waiting ever so nicely in the the middle of the box. McGree with the natural instinct, volley’s it into the back of the net and that is 2-0 thank you very much.
Matt Simon a little upset he hasn’t had much air time so he goes to ground by Kearyn Baccus away from play. The question begs, if Matt Simon goes down and no one is around to see it, was there anything in it? The VAR says no and we all move on with our lives.
Five minutes into the second half, Melbourne City forget they can’t score too many goals or else they risk staying in Melbourne for finals next weekend. Lachlan Wales finds Vidosic lingering in the area like he’s four rum and coke’s deep to make it 3-0 from a Vidosic tap in.
Another five minutes later and Wales is getting assist hungry. Well actually assist selfish, at this rate he’s gonna end in double digits by the end of the match. Wales passes to Harrison in the area as the confused Mariners defence watch on (pretty sure confused was their constant state in this game) and Harrison beats the keeper on the thinnest of angles to slot it home. Shayon Harrison now with his first A-League double. Central Coast Mariners, who you play when you wanna make some records.
As the second half continues, the Mariners seemed to have accepted defeat. The Mariners started to tire and looked as though they would do absolutely anything to just stop the constant attack from City. Matt Millar did just that. Millar slides in on McGree, getting more man than ball. The ref initially signalled for a penalty but thankfully VAR intervened and made the correct call is the challenge had begun just outside of the box and awards a free kick. Very good use of the VAR.
In the 92nd minute as Ned Zelic and Simon Hill were practicing their best ‘just have a shot lad’ the lads, did more than that. A magnificent team goal by the midfield, starting all the way from Melbourne City’s half begins with a pass that finds Ramy Najjarine after being intercepted by his team mate in order to fight off the oppositions intercept. Najjarine takes it all the way down the right, so far I’ve gone ‘nah nah too far has he got this HAS HE GOT THIS’ as I clench on to whatever’s closest to me. There was so much excitement in this play and Zelic and Hill were just provoking it. Thinking he’s going to play it across with three team mates all making the run, Ramy takes it himself with a hell of a kick that finds the exact spot of the crossbar that brings it down into goal. 5-0 to Melbourne City thank you very much.
The Central Coast Mariners leave Melbourne knowing they sucked. It’s been a tough season for the Mariners. Hears to hoping Stajcic’s contract is extended so he can have a little fun during off season and help restore football in their community.
Melbourne City finish this game in sixth position, equal points with Wellington Phoenix who are only above on goal difference. City now await the conclusion of their match in order to know their next opponent as the finals series kicks off next week.
By Rose Valente