Prolific Melbourne City goal poacher Jamie Maclaren revealed he relishes the pressure of being expected to score in every A-League game, after emerging from a rare drought.
The Socceroos striker scored a fifth-minute equaliser, and grabbed two more goals in the second half to help City consolidate second spot with a 4-2 away win over last-placed Central Coast in Gosford on Friday.
He swelled his tally for the season to 18 goals in 19 games, moving above Sydney's Adam Le Fondre (16) to lead the race for the Golden Boot.
It was the sixth game this season in which Maclaren has scored at least twice.
He started the season in spectacular fashion banging in nine goals in his first four games .
That incredible strike rate was never going to be maintained and he went through a relatively dry patch of one goal in six games, before netting a penalty last week.
"A lot has been said about my form the last few weeks," Maclaren told AAP.
"I know more than anybody else if I keep doing the right thing and keeping my standards high, (goals will come). I want to score every game.
"But ... (when) we beat Perth away (earlier this month), we had three other goalscorers step up and we won an important game.
"For me three points is first, but obviously coming away with the three goals is nice."'
He's on track to score 20 goals in an A-League for the third time, having reached that tally with Brisbane Roar in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
"Everyone probably expects me to score every single game and that's the pressure that comes with being a striker. I relish that," Maclaren said.
"I'm not shying away from having pressure and when I'm not scoring, I like to make sure I'm doing something else to ensure that other teammates are scoring goals."
Maclaren and his teammates will have little time to savour Friday night's win.
Melbourne City will remain in NSW for a game against Newcastle on Monday, as the FFA tries to compress the remaining fixtures into a few weeks and finish the season before any potential shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Maclaren feels City are gaining momentum, having gone unbeaten in their last four games while taking 10 points.
They are unlikely to catch runaway leaders Sydney FC, but have a chance to build a good buffer over third-placed Wellington.
Phoenix are in the midst of a 14-day isolation period since arriving from New Zealand earlier this week.