Hyundai A-League Season 6

Fury becalmed
By Alan Clark

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 7
5.15pm, Saturday, 18 September 2010
at Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville

North Queensland Fury FC 0
drew with
Melbourne Victory FC 0

(Photo - Linked from FFA web site)

North Queensland Fury and Melbourne Victory played a scoreless draw - the first in Fury's short A-League existence - in Townsville on Saturday evening.

Victory will be the happier of the two sides, playing its third game in six days, and keeping its third consecutive clean sheet, after an early season run where its defence was more of a sieve than a wall.

It was a game where Fury will rue not capitalising on its chances, most of which came in a flurry around half-an-hour into the contest, but a combination of narrow misses and a greater deal of certainty in the Victory backline meant that the points were shared.

For its part, Victory looked happy to gain a point and seemed grateful to do so, reaching the end of its energy-stocks as a consequence of its three-game program.

Both sides had also lost players to a national youth team call-up, but capably coped with the absences, even although their benches were significantly lighter of experience than usual. Victory listed, but did not field, the winner of a football talent television program amongst those comprising its bench. Fury likewise only used two of its allowed three from the bench.

The last time these two sides met - barely a month ago in Melbourne - there was tension and anger between them. Two Fury players failed to see out the game, their matches curtailed by the brandishing of the referee's red. Five Victory players saw yellow. There was no carry on of that rancour to this game. Indeed, there was scarcely an angry word exchanged, far less an angry tackle. It was competitive, to be sure, but it never fell over the wrong side of that line, nor did it seem that players had harboured grudges.

David Williams was busy in midfield for the hosts, and combined well with Eugene SSeppuya when attempting to pry open the Victory defence. Ufuk Talay used his vast experience in the game to orchestrate things from a deeper position. But the Victory backline was solid enough to withstand the challenge, even with Evan Berger - brought in to cover the absence of the injured Kevin Muscat and the called-up Diogo Ferreira - new to the regular pairing of Adrian Leijer and Rody Vargas.

It was a block by Vargas which saw Chris Grossman's shot fail to find the net after the Fury defender had found his way upfield, and Williams had two efforts narrowly off-target when in good positions, one flying by the far post when the merest of touches by a boot of any colour would have found the inside of the post.

Goalkeeper Michael Petkovic can now take comfort in his three consecutive clean sheets after a shakier start, and certainly he handled with greater surety, even although he failed to hold on a number of occasions. He was regularly the best keeper in the NSL when with South Melbourne, and will not have diminished in ability since then, even though he was posed questions in his first weeks with Victory.

Victory created few meaningful opportunities itself throughout the ninety minutes, and Ricardinho looked to be isolated for much of the time. Tom Pondeljak and Billy Celeski again showed they - together with the less mobile Carlos Hernandez - were the best avenues for positive Victory play without finding the cutting edge the game needed to rise above the pedestrian.

For Victory, Hernandez was only narrowly wide from an acute angle, and Vargas had a header from a corner blocked on the line by Mark Hughes with goalkeeper Justin Pasfield elsewhere.

Both sides will be pleased the game - fraught as it was by the memory of their Melbourne encounter - has now passed, without either side having either gained or lost anything of major value. Equally, both sides will be looking for better rewards in the games ahead. Fury's program in the coming week however may militate against that, having to undergo the three-game in a week scenario that looked to have left Victory with such depleted energies.

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 7
5.15pm, Saturday, 18 September 2010
at Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville

North Queensland Fury FC 0
drew with
Melbourne Victory FC 0

    Crowd: 4,922


    North Queensland Fury FC :
    Player listing:
    (4-3-3) 1. Justin Pasfield (gk), 16 Simon Storey, 4 Eric Akoto, 5 Mark Hughes, 14 Chris Grossman, 7 Gareth Edds (12 Panagiotis Nikas [79]), 6 Ufuk Talay (c), 17 Osama Malik, 11 David Williams, 9 Eugene Sseppuya (21 Jason Spagnuolo [68]), 3 Brad McDonald.

    Substitutes not used: 2 Jack Hingert, 28 Sebastian Usai (rgk)

    Coach: Franz Straka

    Yellow Cards: Gareth Edds 40', Chris Grossman 51
    Red Cards: Nil

    Melbourne Victory FC :
    Player listing:
    (3-4-3) 1. Michael Petkovic (gk), 19 Evan Berger, 23 Adrian Leijer (c), 12 Rodrigo Vargas, 6 Leigh Broxham, 8 Grant Brebner, 14 Billy Celeski (11 Marvin Angulo [87]), 5 Surat Sukha, 16 Carlos Hernandez, 9 Ricardinho (27 Geoff Kellaway [65]), 15 Tom Pondeljak

    Substitutes not used: 20 Sebastian Mattei (rgk), 24 Luke Pilkington

    Coach: Ernie Merrick

    Yellow Cards: Ricardinho 57
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Chris Beath
    Assistant referees: Ashley Beecham, Graham Buzzi; Fourth official: Matt Hodgson

    Pitch rating: 6/10

    Game rating: 6/10

    BOTN Player Points :

    3. Ufuk Talay (North Queensland Fury)
    2. Carlos Hernandez (Melbourne Victory)
    1. David Williams (North Queensland Fury)

    Report by Alan Clark

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. FFA has not this season accredited any Photographers for BOTN, so any photos used here, unless attributed, are as supplied by FFA and used by permission.

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