Socceroos attackers Craig Goodwin and Jamie Maclaren were in the thick of the action for their club sides yet again during another entertaining weekend of A-League action.
Craig Goodwin proved the difference on his return to the City of Churches as Adelaide United sealed a 2-1 win against the Newcastle Jets.
The Socceroos winger showed his class by netting the 77th-minute winner at Coopers Stadium, his second goal in two games since arriving back in his native South Australia on loan from Saudi Professional League club Al-Wehda in February.
Goodwin has picked up where he left off down under after scoring 10 goals in 29 games during his last season with the Reds in 2018/19, and his decisive contribution was in stark contrast to the pair of mistakes made by Steven Ugarkovic that costs Craig Deans' Jets dearly.
The often-reliable midfielder's miscued clearance landed straight at the feet of Louis D'Arrigo in the fifth minute and the 19-year-old midfielder confidently slammed the home side in front with his first goal in 33 club appearances.
Ugarkovic almost quickly made amends, cracking a long-range effort off the crossbar, before Connor O'Toole levelled the scores on 22 minutes, powering his maiden competition strike through the hands of Reds gloveman James Delianov on the Jets wing-back's 51st senior match.
Ben Halloran, ex-Red Apostolos Stamatopoulos and Goodwin all shook the frame of the goal while searching for a decider, but the latter eventually made his moment count after robbing a dawdling Ugarkovic and firing Carl Veart's team up to third place in the A-League ladder.
Carl Veart's Reds started quickly with Ben Halloran sneaking behind the Newcastle backline in the third minute before being sent tumbling by Johnny Koutroumbis. The Jets survived that scare but, two minutes later, Steven Ugarkovic's miskicked clearance could only find the awaiting Louis D'Arrigo and the teenage midfielder lashed in his maiden A-League goal.
Craig Deans' side had been camped deep inside their own territory for the opening quarter of an hour but, desperate to atone for the error that allowed D'Arrigo a clear sight of the visitor's net, Ugarkovic steamed forward and unleashed a dipping, 35-yard rocket that had goalkeeper James Delianov beat but cannoned back off the hosts' crossbar.
That speculative effort seemed the spark the away side into life and, after a swift exchange of passes with Angus Thurgate in the 22nd minute, Connor O'Toole unleashed thunderbolt from the edge of the Adelaide area. Delianov got two firm hands to the shot but the power of the strike propelled the ball into the top corner and the 23-year-old celebrate his own first competition goal.
GOAL: O'Toole - A rocket from the young Jet
The set-back did not knock the Reds off their stride, with Halloran rifling a 25-yard effort back off the frame of Newcastle gloveman Jack Duncan's goal and Al Hassan Toure, making his first start of the season after suffering ankle problems, shinned a superb opportunity off target from 12 yards after Stefan Mauk cushioned down Craig Goodwin's delivery.
Newcastle absorbed more pressure up to half-time, with Ryan Strain fizzing a delivery across the Jets penalty box, and the trend continued after the interval. Socceroos ace Goodwin forced a fine, low, diving save from Duncan from close range, but the away side gave Adelaide a reminder of their danger when substitute, and former Red, Apostolos Stamatopoulos saw his header crash back off the woodwork.
The tempo increased to frantic levels in the closing stages, with Goodwin drilling a 25-yard free-kick off the upright, the fourth time the paintwork had been hit in the game. But when Ugarkovic dwelled on the ball in the 77th minute, Goodwin stole the ball away and thumped in a left-footed strike to net his second goal in two games since his return to the City of Churches, and lift the Reds up to third place on the ladder.
CHANCE: Yet another chance comes off the woodwork in Adelaide
A third straight competition victory propelled the Reds to third in the ladder, with five wins and a draw from their 10 games, and Goodwin believes the South Australian outfit are just getting started.
"It’s about building on the two results we had," Goodwin told FOX Sports.
"Last week was about getting that first away win and two on the bounce and tonight [was about] trying to keep the momentum going."
GOAL: Goodwin - Winger goes one better from his freekick
"I think the timing of the goal was really important," Goodwin added.
"I think I’d had a few involvements but not really created as much as I’d like or the final ball wasn’t there."
"I’m obviously really happy to contribute with a goal and to get the three points is the most important thing."
Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren was in the thick of the action on Saturday in the early stages of what turned out to be a derby to remember.
Melbourne City dazzled in an unrelenting display of desire, skill and ruthless finishing to dismantle Melbourne Victory 6-0 in a Melbourne Derby masterclass at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.
Five second-half goals helped City clinch three points in style as Grant Brebner's Victory looked all at sea attempting to nullify an attack led by Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout and Craig Noone complimented by a support cast of goal-hungry midfielders.
City began the night in frustration when Maclaren sent a spot kick off the crossbar, but it wasn't long until the Socceroos forward found his way onto the scoresheet, helping City take a 1-0 lead to the break.
From the start of the second half it was all one-way traffic as City romped past the hapless Victory. Nabbout - who assisted Maclaren's opening goal - teed up Berenguer for the second goal of the night before Rostyn Griffiths powered home a cross from Noone to get City rolling with more than half an hour left on the clock.
Connor Metcalfe then came to the fore, scoring twice in two minutes from a pair of Maclaren assists to extend City's lead to five, rendering the Victory defence helpless to deal with his powerful running from midfield into attack in a showcase of individual brilliance.
Stefan Colakovski emerged from the bench in the dying embers of the game and the visitors refused to show any mercy as the substitute made it six deep into stoppage time. Atkinson - who impressed all night down the right flank - displayed no sign of fatigue as he galloped through midfield with the ball to slip Colakovski in to score the final goal of City's Melbourne Derby rout.
The emphatic win sent City into the top six after a third win on the bounce. Victory, meanwhile, remained planted to the bottom of the A-League table with a goal difference of -13, nine worse than any other side in the competition.
Melbourne City were on top throughout the opening 20 minutes which produced a yellow card to either side and multiple chances for the away team to go ahead.
Connor Metcalfe hit the side-netting from a tight angle after Jamie Maclaren's air-swing from Andrew Nabbout's pass into the box. Nabbout - the former Victory forward - was involved in a number of early tussles as his former teammates and fans showed no love to the Socceroos forward.
But the most telling challenge throughout the early proceedings led to a City penalty, when Dalibor Markovic collected Nathaniel Atkinson with a rash challenge in the box.
Maclaren had four goals in two games leading into the Melbourne Derby but the City spearhead couldn't make it five in three from the resulting penalty, hammering his attempt from the spot off the bar as Victory remained level in the goalless affair.
MISS: Maclaren sends penalty off the bar to give Victory a lifeline
But the City onslaught continued after Maclaren's penalty miss. Nabbout lashed a volley past the lop-left corner as he endeavoured to strike first against his old side, and when City pulled ahead on 34 minutes it was Nabbout who wheeled away in celebration, having gotten the first touch on Noone's cross into the box.
Nabbout's attempt on goal had fortuitously nicked the leg of Maclaren on its way into the back of the net. Nabbout looked back, noticed Maclaren celebrating himself, and happily settled for the assist as City gained a 1-0 lead held to the break.
GOAL: Maclaren lucky, Victory unlucky as City go ahead
City sparked back into life early in the second half, challenging Max Crocombe into a test of his credentials which he passed with an excellent stop to keep Noone's half-volley from spilling to Maclaren at the back post.
Robbie Kruse couldn't make his presence felt down the left flank in a number of nearly-moments created in a brief spell of attacking intent from the hosts, before City ramped up the pressure and broke the game apart in a four-minute spell which garnered two more goals.
Nabbout was at the heart of everything good for City as he tormented Markovic down the right wing, showing a powerful running display as he tore past the Victory full-back to the byline, finding Berenguer with a cut-back for the Frenchman to slide home with ease.
Four minutes after going two goals to the good, a corner presented to City which the visitors used to showcase Noone's expert delivery and Griffiths' powerful heading ability as City scored their third of the night.
Berenguer played it short to Noone - much like he did for City's opening goal - and the winger found Griffiths who rose high above Aaron Anderson caught flat-footed marking the imposing midfielder.
Griffiths still had a lot to do with the headed attempt but the effort was emphatic. Heading the ball back toward the far post, Griffiths left Crocombe to stand and watch as the ball lashed into the back of the net, sparking passionate scenes of celebration between the City players and the away fans.
Griffiths scores as City run away with it
City could sense a big win on the cards with a three-goal lead heading into the final half-hour of play, and with Victory's heads down the visitors set about compounding the misery of their bitter rivals.
Metcalfe proceeded to break forward from midfield and net twice in three minutes to turn City's convincing win into an all-out rout. The 21-year-old rattled his first goal off Crocombe's near post and into the back of the net with a thunderous left-footed shot on the end of a darting run down the left flank sparked by Maclaren's inventive through-ball on the halfway line.
Minutes later the pair were at it again, when Nabbout sliced Victory's defence apart to find Maclaren on the right side of the box, who cut the ball into Metcalfe's path to run in and slot past Crocombe with ease, taking City's advantage to five.
GOALS: Metcalfe nets twice in three minutes as City extend their lead
A raft of substitutions were to follow as Patrick Kisnorbo brought five players off his bench to replace Griffiths, Noone, Maclaren, Nabbout and Scott Jamieson.
The energy off the bench ultimately led to a sixth City goal. Stefan Colakovski entered the contest with 81 minutes on the clock, and deep into stoppage time he collected Atkinson's through pass after the right-back's ranging run through midfield to cut past Anderson onto his right boot and fire past Crocombe into the opposite corner.
The local City product ran to meet the away fans in a display of passion from the ecstatic 20-year-old who capped off his side's 6-0 win in style.