Socceroos hitman Jamie Maclaren netted a hat-trick to surge to the top of the Hyundai A-League Golden Boot charts in Melbourne City’s 4-2 win against Central Coast Mariners.
Maclaren clinched a share of the competition’s top goalscorer award in his last full Hyundai A-League campaign in 2016/17, notching 19 goals in 26 games for Brisbane Roar and splitting the prize with then Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha.
And the 26-year-old has picked up where he left off by taking his 2019/20 tally up to 18 with a treble in Gosford on Friday night, an outright lead over Sydney FC’s 17-goal marksman Adam Le Fondre.
The competition’s basement boys went ahead in front of an empty Central Coast Stadium when Jordan Murray struck past Australia U-23 goalkeeper Tom Glover in the second minute but the away side levelled moments later when Markel Susaeta found Maclaren to fire in low across goal.
By the 10th minute, City went ahead through the ex-Spain international Susaeta, and Maclaren extended the lead to 3-1 when he poked home Nathaniel Atkinson’s cross three minutes after the interval.
Murray headed in a second for the Mariners but Maclaren made sure he was first to grab the match ball when he volleyed in from 10 yards after Atkinson’s strike was deflected into his path on 74 minutes.
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Australia U-23 midfielder Connor Metcalfe came on as an 84th-minute substitute to help City see the game out, while fellow Olyroos Denis Genreau and Ramy Najjarine remained on the bench for Erick Mombaerts’ second-placed side.
Duke, Baccus helps keep Wanderers unbeaten against Sydney FC
In the 24th Sydney Derby, captain Mitchell Duke and Keanu Baccus helped Western Sydney Wanderers stay undefeated against runaway ladder-leaders, Sydney FC, in a 1-1 behind-closed-doors draw at Bankwest Stadium.
Kwame Yeboah’s 81st-minute goal past Socceroos gloveman Andrew Redmayne secured a share of the points for the Red and Black in the season’s third Harbour City rivalry clash on Saturday, after Wanderers had won the first two encounters 1-0, inflicting the Sky Blues’ only two defeats of the campaign.
Adam Le Fondre had given the defending Champions the lead, while Rhyan Grant played 90 minutes and Trent Buhagair was introduced in the 80th minute for Kiwi frontman Kosta Barbarouses. Tass Mourdoukoutas remained on the pine for Western Sydney.
Meanwhile on Friday, Australia U-23 midfielder Aiden O’Neill played 90 minutes in Brisbane Roar’s 1-0 win against Newcastle Jets at the Gold Coast’s Cbus Super Stadium.
Robbie Fowler’s outfit claimed all three points thanks to a fourth goal in three matches from former Socceroo, Scott McDonald, to solidify their fourth-placed spot in the Finals Series positions.