City consolidate A-L spot with Jets win

Craig Noone celebrates scoring the opener for Melbourne City in their win over Newcastle.
Craig Noone celebrates scoring the opener for Melbourne City in their win over Newcastle.

Melbourne City have consolidated second spot in the A-League with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park.

Craig Noone handed the home side the lead in the eighth minute before Jamie Maclaren converted a penalty in the 63rd to wrap up three points.

"For me it is a great, great win," City coach Erick Mombaerts said.

"It's better also to win like that. Because before the game I expected that we will have a tough game. Why?

"Because this team (Newcastle) has nothing to lose, they can play and I want to congratulate this Newcastle team because they fight, they played a big game, that's good.

"So that's a great win."

Nick Fitzgerald forced a good save from Dean Bouzanis in the opening minute, before the home side took the lead seven minutes later.

Maclaren went on a surging run down the left wing then cut the ball back to Noone, who curled home a left-foot strike from outside the box.

In the 32nd minute, Noone lobbed a ball over Newcastle's defence to Maclaren, but his shot couldn't beat Lewis Italiano, who made a fine save.

Newcastle improved as the game went on and Abdiel Arroyo had the ball in the the net in the 57th minute but was offside.

City made it 2-0 after a penalty was awarded against Jets captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley.

The centre-back was in an aerial duel with Harrison Delbridge, with the City defender heading the ball into Topor-Stanley's arm.

Referee Kate Jacewicz - who also became the first woman to referee an A-League match - didn't immediately award a penalty but after a VAR review, pointed to the spot, with Maclaren then powering the ball into the bottom corner

In the 73rd minute, Dimi Petratos forced a goal line clearance from Harrison Delbridge, while Kaine Sheppard should have pulled back a goal in the 83rd minute but blasted his close-range shot over the bar.

Former Wales midfielder and ex-Vancouver Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson, who is believed to be the frontrunner to take on the Newcastle head coaching role, was in the stands alongside Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna.

City fans got their first look at Spanish signing Markel Susaeta late in the piece, with the former Athletic Bilbao attacker greeted with rapturous applause when he made his debut in the 86th minute.

Newcastle had a penalty shout when Scott Jamieson clattered into Johnny Koutroumbis in the 91st minute - then City almost made it 3-0 less than a minute later when Adrian Luna went on a bursting run and found Susaeta.

The new recruit chipped the ball to Maclaren, who headed a great chance over the bar, leaving City to settle for a 2-0 win - increasing the gap on Perth Glory to five points.

"There's no question whether the players are up for the battle they're in - the last two performances have certainly shown that," Jets interim coach Craig Deans said.

"The issue for us is the quality of our play in the final third and also obviously little lapses in concentration defensively."

Australian Associated Press