Maclaren's hat-trick in City A-League win

Jamie Maclaren has scored a hat-trick for second-placed Melbourne City in their 4-2 A-League away win over Central Coast in Gosford.

JAMIE MACLAREN.
JAMIE MACLAREN. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Marksman Jamie Maclaren's hat-trick has inspired Melbourne City's 4-2 away win over Central Coast in the first A-League match closed to the public.

The teams did their best on Friday evening to compensate for the lack of fan-generated atmosphere, scoring three goals in the first 10 minutes of the game at Gosford, which started in 34-degree conditions.

Maclaren's hat-trick lifts him to 18 goals and above Sydney FC star Adam Le Fondre into first place in the the battle for the Golden Boot.

Second-placed City, who are undefeated in their past four, move to within seven points of leaders Sydney, who have three games in hand.

They recovered from conceding an early goal to condemn the last-placed Mariners to a 10th-straight loss.

"It was crazy. It was difficult conditions today with the weather," said City assistant coach Patrick Kisnorbo, who oversaw the side on Friday, with head coach Erick Mombaerts not travelling.

"We didn't start well with the goal (we conceded), but we showed tremendous character as a collective to come back."

The Mariners' Jordan Murray scored within the first two minutes, after running onto a Jack Clisby through ball.

Maclaren equalised three minutes later after he was able to get in behind the home defence.

The early goal glut continued with Markel Susaeta heading in at the far post from a Craig Noone cross.

"They were very soft goals from our point of view in terms of concentration and focus," Mariners coach Alen Stajcic said of City's first two.

"It wasn't as if we were outnumbered or anything. We just switched off in terms of marking key players in the box.

"It was really disappointing to let them back in the game so quickly and they don't have to work hard for it."

The game cooled down after the hot start but it took just three minutes of the second half for Maclaren to toe home from close range for his second.

Murray gave the Mariners some hope when he headed in a Chris Harold cross in the 69th minute for his first A-League double.

Maclaren restored City's two-goal lead when he thumped the ball home after a shot from Nathaniel Atkinson was deflected into his path.

"I think we controlled the game for the majority," Maclaren said.

He might have added more goals and completed his hat-trick earlier, but was denied by a sharp save from Mark Birighitti, who also produced a fine stop from a Florin Berenguer shot.


AAP