National Youth League: Season 4 (2011 - 2012 Season)
Round 10 Review
By Zee Ko

NYL Review: 'Putting on a Show'
(Zee Ko was pitch side as Melbourne Victory Youths finally tasted sweet scent success in front of new head honcho Jim Magilton)

Crowd numbers had swelled today of all days, as close to 200 people packed the stands for the showdown between Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets. Among their numbers (and perhaps the reason for this record crowd) was none other than Victory's new head coach Jim Magilton and assistant Kevin Muscat.

Magilton had only touched down yesterday, but the former Ipswich boss seemed keen to give his squad the once all, having watched the first team win yesterday at AAMI Park.

It was certainly more spartan surroundings down at Kingston Heath today, as an unusually strong Victory team saw off the Jets 2-1 to claim their first points of the season. The luckless Melbourne side had failed to win a single game, indeed not even managed to draw a match, before the Christmas break but were definitely the superior side as they dominated the Jets in chances created and shots on target.

Marco Rojas and Isaka Cernak were included in the starting lineup after cameo roles for the senior side the previous night, while Matthew Kemp made an encouraging return from injury. Birthday boy Jean-Carlos Solorzano once again played the full 90 minutes after missing out on a place in the match day squad at AAMI Park yet again. The out of favour forward was a livewire up front, and will have hoped his goal would have gone some way of convincing the new gaffer that he was worth a first team recall.

Former AIS midfielder Kwabene Boahene made quite an impression on his debut for Melbourne Victory Youths. In a week where former AIS teammate Jacob Melling made his debut for Adelaide in the upset against Melbourne Heart, Kwabene turned out for the Victory Youths and impressed with his awareness and distribution. The youngster was a picture of calm in a tightly contested game, dictating play from deep in midfield and showing good discipline in deciding when to push up field.

As Muscat and Magilton watched on, Cernak and Rojas caused problems down the flank in the first half before the latter tired out after about half an hour. Luke O'Dea moved out of the hole behind lone striker Solorzano to switch places with Cernak and also impressed as the Victory attack continued to torment the Newcastle fullbacks. Andrew Hoole and James Virgili, who were so impressive for the Jets when they were last in Melbourne against the Heart Youths, were kept relatively quiet as they attempted to stop the opposition's attacking impetus.

The first goal was a thing of beauty, as a cross into the box was inadequately cleared by the Newcastle defence. As the ball bounced its way out of the penalty area, Rojas, who had overrun the ball initially, made a beeline for it with a defender close behind. However, sensing O'Dea rushing in late, the New Zealand international let the ball run past and drew away his marker, allowing his teammate to unleash a venomous shot that found nothing but net.

Cernak and Rojas were replaced at half time after putting in good shifts, but the visibly rusty Kemp stayed on for some extra game time. On came Melvin Becket and Damir 'Dado' Lokvancic, as Victory sought to put the result beyond doubt. Victory Youths Head Coach was persisting with his starting formation though, as Lokvancic found himself playing in the hole beyond Solorzano. Usually an out-and-out striker, Dado's impact was limited in his deep position, and the one shot he had on target was woefully under power and easily enough for goalkeeper Jack Duncan to get to.

Newcastle were increasingly desperate to find an equaliser, and Head Coach Arthur Papas could be heard over the din, screaming at his forwards to press the Victory defenders as they knocked the ball around in front of goal. However, the plan backfired spectacularly as substitute James Riccobene found lots of space in front of him as a ball over the top caught his marker unawares. Galloping down the left flank, Riccobene cut infield before splitting the scrambling defence open with a sumptuous through ball that found Solorzano lurking. The Costa Rican marksman accepted the gift with glee and struck the knockout blow to ensure that Victory claimed all three points for the very first time this season.

Davies: Success of philosophy more pleasing than win

Melbourne Victory Head Coach Darren Davies was all smiles after the match for once, admitting he was delighted at the team's performance and three points.

"I'm delighted to get a first win of the season, but even more so than the win, I'm actually happy at the way we won," he said. "It would have been easy for us to revert away from our philosophy [given earlier results] but we stuck by it and now we've actually won a game playing the style that we want to play, which is just as if, if not even more pleasing than the result itself."

Davies also commented on Muscat and Magilton's presence in the stands, claiming it would have been a boost for the youth team players on the pitch. "It's great that the first team boss and Musky are here to look and watch and help and support, it was a good weekend all around for the club," he said.

Man of the Match: Jean-Carlos Solorzano

Kobbie Boahene or Luke O'Dea might have been equally worthy winners, but the birthday boy nicked it with his goal near the end. Full of running all afternoon, Solorzano showed he was hungrier than ever and worked tirelessly to harry the Newcastle defenders.

Melbourne Victory Verdict:

It has been a long time coming, and the lads were treated to a conditioning session at Port Melbourne Beach the very next day. You could argue that with so many senior players in the side, Victory were actually odds-on favourites to take maximum points, but make no mistake about it, a newfound confidence and swagger can be detected among the younger players now.

Newcastle Verdict:

Comprehensively outplayed for large periods of the game, the Jets will have to analyse where it all went wrong for them

Crowd Watch:

Besides Muscat and Magilton, several prominent Victory board members were apparently in attendance too, some having brought family and kids along. Melbourne Heart boys Craig Goodwin, Zac Walker and Billy Liolios were also present, no doubt to offer former coach Arthur Papas some friendly support.

By Zee Ko- match report and photos from Kingston Heath Soccer Complex (Cheltenham), Sunday 8 January, 2012

Details: National Youth-League, Round 10:

6 Jan - 4:00pm - Central Coast Mariners FC 2 - Gold Coast United 1 - Pluim Park, Central Coast Saturday:
7 Jan - 11:00am - Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) 4 - Perth Glory FC 4 - AIS Athletics Track, Canberra
7 Jan - 3:00pm - Melbourne Heart FC 0 - Sydney FC 3 - John Cain Memorial Park, Thornbury Sunday
8 Jan - 3:00pm - Melbourne Victory FC 2 - Newcastle Jets FC 0 - Kingston Heath, Cheltenham
8 Jan - 4:00pm - Adelaide United FC 1 - Brisbane Roar FC 1 - Burton Park


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