Maclaren leads City past Wanderers

Ziggy Gordon

Goals to Jamie Maclaren on either side of half-time helped the Melbourne City spearhead go equal-top in the Golden Boot race in his side’s 2-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium on Tuesday night.

The visitors clinched back-to-back A-League victories in an impressive display against a Wanderers outfit tasting defeat for the second time in a row, in what has been a disappointing Matchweek 10 for Carl Robinson’s side.

City were disrupted pre-match by the absence of head coach Patrick Kisnorbo and an injury to Florin Berenguer in the warm-up, but with Des Buckingham taking the reins and Naoki Tsubaki replacing the French midfielder the visitors settled the better of the two sides, going ahead on six minutes thanks to Jamie Maclaren’s sixth goal of the season.

Craig Noone assisted the opening goal in an impressive first-half display and fellow City wide-man Andrew Nabbout operated to similar effect on the opposite wing, as City capitalised on considerable space left behind Western Sydney’s two wing-backs to launch a number of dangerous attacks.

Robinson replaced Keanu Baccus with Jordon Mutch at the break as the hosts searched for a way back into the game, but the Wanderers’ challenge became all the more difficult when a Noone cross struck James Troisi’s arm in the box, and a penalty was awarded to City.

The spot-kick was given after a VAR check and Maclaren was presented the chance to strike again – it was a chance he took with aplomb, as the Socceroos marksman lashed the penalty past Daniel Margush to put City two goals to the good.

Robinson’s second-half substitutes did well to craft multiple chances for the hosts in the remaining half-hour of play. Bruce Kamau received the best opportunity of the night to score for the Red and Black only for his close-range header off Thomas Aquilina’s volleyed cross to be snuffed out by Tom Glover’s reactive stop.

Rostyn Griffiths retreated to the centre of defence to cover the injured Nuno Reis but the personnel change did nothing to stop City closing out the contest with the 2-0 advantage intact, to secure a second successive win in style.