Central Coast 1 Melbourne City 5: Novillo brace sinks Mariners

Harry Novillo netted twice as Melbourne City thumped the Mariners at a Central Coast Stadium sparsely populated due in part to fan boycotts.

Harry Novillo scored a goal in each half as Melbourne City thumped Central Coast Mariners 5-1 in the A-League on Thursday.

The Martinique international forward opened the scoring in the 26th minute for John van 't Schip's men, capping off a counterattack with a cool low finish after being played in one-on-one with the hosts' goalkeeper Paul Izzo at Central Coast Stadium.

Bruno Fornaroli doubled the visitors' advantage in first-half stoppage time, Erik Paartalu supplying the assist after a clever dummy by the Uruguayan striker, the move having been started by Novillo.

The former Lyon academy player completed his brace in the 57th minute with a well-taken strike from outside the area.

Aaron Mooy advanced down the right side of the box before squaring for Stefan Mauk to make it 4-0 with 15 minutes remaining. 

Mitch Austin grabbed a consolation goal for the hosts from the penalty spot on 84 minutes, but City deservedly had the last word, Socceroos midfielder Mooy slamming a fifth goal into the roof of the net five minutes into stoppage time.

The result lifts City up to fourth place, two points behind leaders Melbourne Victory. The Mariners remain eighth with just five points from nine matches. 

Tony Walmsley's home side may have been adversely affected by the sparsely populated stands at Central Coast Stadium, with some spectators, particularly the club's traditional 'active supporter' element, staying away as an act of protest against Football Federation Australia's perceived mishandling of the supporter ban and appeal process.