No fans, no worries for A-League

Adrian Warren
Jordan Murray (l) scored a goal in each half in the Mariners' win over Melbourne City

Central Coast coach Alen Stajcic hailed the character of both his club and Melbourne City for producing an exciting A-League spectacle without the stimulus of a crowd.

In the first competition game played in front of a closed stadium following the restrictions on outdoor mass gatherings because of the coronavirus situation, City beat the Mariners 4-2 at Gosford's Central Coast Stadium on Friday.

The goalscoring pace early in the game was as hot as the 34 degree weather under which the contest started.

Central Coast scored within two minutes, but City goaled twice to hit the front by the 10th.

The visitors also outscored their hosts 2-1 in a second half, which might have produced even more goals.

One Melbourne supporter cheered his team on from behind the gate at the southern end of the stadium and at least three fans watched the game from an adjacent bridge

Anyone fearing the absence of fans and atmosphere would lead to a lack of intensity and enterprise had their worries allayed.

"It (the atmosphere) was strange but I thought all the sets of players put on a really good show,'" Stajcic said.

"It was exciting, it was end to end, there was some quality football and some good goals

"I think all of the players that come on the field should be really proud of themselves

"They put on a good spectacle for all the people at home who have had to suffer through some bad news and some unpredictable circumstances going on in the world.

'For the players to put that all in the back of their minds and put on such a good show I think is testament to the character of both clubs."

While City consolidated second spot, the last-placed Mariners lost a 10th straight game.

One plus for the Mariners was a first A-League goal double to striker Jordan Murray, who produced a quality finish in each half.

"He's worked really hard this year and he does so much work and running for us off the ball and he's so critical for us on set pieces," Stajcic said.

"But he was brought here to be a goalscorer and I'm really happy for him that he's got a couple tonight and both well taken goals.

"It will do him a world of good in terms of his confidence.

"He's got a lot of weapons under his belt and he's still a raw A-League player only having come from the NPL just over a year ago.

"There's so much potential left in Muzza and I'm just really happy for him that he fulfilled a little bit of that tonight." .