Melbourne City snatch late victory over Perth Glory through Nathaniel Atkinson header

Nathaniel Atkinson came off the bench to snatch a much-needed 1-0 win for Melbourne City over Perth Glory amid a stuttering start to their A-League Men title defence.

City looked set to extend their winless run to three matches despite dominating possession and enjoying the bulk of chances, with star attacking trio Jamie Maclaren, Mathew Leckie and Andrew Nabbout again kept goalless.

But just eight minutes after entering the fray, Joe Marston Medallist Atkinson headed home in the 88th minute to snatch all three points and send City, albeit temporarily, into second on the table.

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City almost took the lead in the 13th minute when Kosuke Ota deflected Andrew Nabbout's skidding ball into his own net, but it was chalked off for offside after a VAR review.

Maclaren, Connor Metcalfe and Curtis Good all spurned chances close to the half-hour mark, with Perth defending astutely and young Glory goalkeeper Cameron Cook impressing.

The game burst to life in the 51st minute when Antonee Burke-Gilroy received a yellow card for a challenge on City captain Scott Jamieson.

Nathaniel Atkinson scored the winner for Melbourne City against Perth Glory.
Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

The City captain gave Burke-Gilroy some feedback before Perth skipper Bruno Fornaroli burst into the fray to confront Jamieson.

It prompted a brief scuffle among a handful of players and saw Jamieson and Fornaroli both booked.

Three minutes later, Nabbout burst into the 18-yard box and, under pressure from Ota, went sprawling to the turf but had his penalty appeal immediately waved away by referee Ben Abraham.

City substitute Florin Berenguer then forced an excellent save from Cook with a fierce strike in the 76th minute.

In the 83rd minute, Cook brilliantly tipped Good's back-stick header onto the post but City found their breakthrough five minutes later.

Good launched a long ball into the path of Metcalfe, who nodded the ball towards the back post, where Atkinson headed home.

In injury-time, Maclaren teed up Scott Galloway but the full-back dragged his shot wide.