Melbourne City’s Aviary Suffers Further Carnage

AAMI Park lights are on fire, City’s defence is striker-fied. In another episode of “Just A-League things” the Round 13 Friday night fixture saw the upper lights of AAMI catch alight and then go out, much like the ten-minute period of play where Brisbane showed interest.

Whilst City started the first 70 minutes with a very interesting formation, that paid more dividends in the end than Powerball (that I continue to never win, is $80 million too much to ask) as they secured a 1-0 victory over the Roar.

How do you know when you are out of favour at work? You no longer get invited to Friday night drinks, you get locked out of your email account, they replace your striker position with a right back…

Melbourne City seem to well and truly be taking the piss now, with Fornaroli continuing to languish in the stands as he remains stuck in limbo. City has still not released him during the mutual termination window, whilst De Laet was in the striker position for the majority of the game.

Brisbane came in on the back foot with history not on their side. City have never dropped a game to Brisbane at AAMI Park since dropping the Heart and gaining the Vi$ion. The Roar bought De Vere into the starting lining up to replace the suspended Bowles, whilst Reardon was omitted following his unfortunate contributions during the Perth game the round prior. City had the Goods with Griffiths both back in, whilst Birighitti was a late omission having been injured in the warm up.

Five minutes in saw McGree cop a mid-air knock to his knee from Hingert that I’m sure had Joyce questioning whether his Da Laet troll was worth it. Riley managed to play out another 10 minutes before exiting the field, replaced by Atkinson in the 15th.

City played their high possession football style within the first half, however were being more wasteful in front of goal than a gym membership after January. Brattan had a huge chance in the 8th as the ball dropped at his feet, he shot one off but he couldn’t keep it down. Wales found the back of the net in the 20th, but was correctly called offside. Atkinson had the chance for his first A League goal in the 37th, but ducked following a Delbridge cross rather than getting any contact. Griffiths also had a fair chance of notching one up on the scoreboard in the 44th, with a long-range fiery shot denied by the right hand of Young.

Taggart was merely an attendance stat for the first 25 minutes, having seen as little service as when you are trying to get a sales person’s attention at JB HI-FI. Taggart thought his moment had come in the 28th when he received a through ball from Bauthéac to beat Young with Lucas blowing his whistle before the play ended as the AR flag was up.

If you had muted your commentary due to your dislike of a certain member of the commentary team, what ensued would have looked like a feverish game of charades between Taggart wagging his finger at Lucas, whilst Bauthéac was motioning for VAR over and over faster than you can flip your hand to Single Ladies (and did not cop a yellow by the way). I personally like that the decision was made on field. Although Taggart was marginally offside, he was offside. Suggestions that the AR should have left his flag down to then let VAR decide are rubbish in my opinion.

Such a reliance on VAR would lead to delays in fans being able to celebrate goals, would make the AR position redundant (and when it comes back as a call that the AR didn’t pick up, makes them look incompetent when perhaps they were just being cautious), and would also likely lead to over-auditing of decisions where calls would be made based on watching several zoomed-in, slow motion replays. Lets keep the magic in the game. Brisbane fans however will say it was a bigger injustice than the Mooy head not winning City’s scarf competition.

The 31st saw Schenkeveld’s shorts attract a different kind of bird, with a pigeon copping a fair whack from the ball as AAMI Park has claimed more avian victims than national coaches at the AFC Asian Cup. The remainder of the first half was as bland as both coach’s attire as we continue our A-League Coaches ‘Fashion on the Field’ commentary, with more people interested in the welfare of the pigeon and whether he had also succumbed to the Socceroo injury curse.

City were first to strike in the second half as Jamieson seemed a shoe-in to open the scoring in the 51st as his strike looked like it was all but in the back of the net, only to be denied by the brilliance of Jamie Young. Never mind, because a minute later City’s now outright leading goal scorer for the season, Da Laet had oodles of time to slip one past Young following a Griffiths assist in scenes reminiscent of Dylan McGowan winning Adelaide’s Golden Boot in the ‘16/17 season.

Brisbane perked up in the final 20, as Henrique entered play in the 71st to be an instant nuisance, further highlighting his worth as an impact player rather than a starter. Henrique’s biggest chance came in the 84th, with a further double chance in the 86th as D’Agostino;s attempt was denied by Galeokovic, and Bauthéac’s second effort clean up attempt also missing the mark. Taggart continued to have limited impact as he appeared to be largely outmuscled by Schenkeveld for most of the night.

Round 13 was not a lucky one for the Roar, nor would it have been a particularly great birthday for McKay. The only accolade a member of the team picked up was Young achieving (and then definitely surpassing) his 300th save, which I’m sure he will not fail to give a thanks to his defence in his speech for that one. Perhaps round 14 will be the one for the Roar as we will see a battle of the cellar-dwellers who are probably both feeling as vulnerable as when you hear a noise when you are home alone, starkers in the shower.

Unfortunately for City, they will be without the crossing power of Delbridge next round after receiving his 5th yellow, as they take on outright league leaders, Perth, but it’s okay as De Laet can probably take on the position as well.

By Hayley Leedham

Melbourne City’s Aviary Suffers Further Carnage

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