Victory scrape past plucky Phoenix
By Tomasz Ng
Hyundai A-League 2013/14 Season, Round 4
7:30pm, Monday 4 November, 2013 – Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Melbourne Victory FC 3 (Thompson 9′, Troisi 22′ 31′)
Wellington Phoenix FC 2 (Brockie 37′, Ifill 84′)
Melbourne Victory survived a scare from Wellington Phoenix, as they saw a comfortable 3-0 lead pegged back to 3-2 to claim their second win of the season.
Archie Thompson broke his scoring drought with the opener, and James Troisi scored a delightful brace.
However Brockie managed to pull one back for Wellington, and Ifill also grabbed a late goal to make it a nervy finish for the home side.
Victory started the match well, passing the ball about nicely and building pressure on the Wellington Phoenix defence.
It took only nine minutes for the home side to break the deadlock, as Thompson placed a shot past Glen Moss, with the ball taking a slight deflection off Ante Durante’s arm.
In the build up, Mark Milligan played the ball for Thompson and there was a slight flick on from Adama Traore which caused the ball to bounce into Thompson’s mid-rift, causing some controversy for a potential hand ball.
Victory continued to assert dominance over Wellington, as they launched wave after wave of attack.
The pressure told on the Phoenix defence, as Ante Durante played a horrendous back header to Glen Moss from a fairly innocuous ball.
It was intercepted by Troisi, who carried the ball forward and scored a poachers effort, slotting the ball past a hapless Glen Moss.
On the half hour Victory made it three, through a wonderful chip from James Troisi.
It started when Kosta Barbarouses played a clever ball over the top of the Wellington defence, and Troisi held off a challenge from Durante to dink the ball cheekily over Moss.
Wellington did manage to regroup after that goal, and hit back in the 37th minute.
Carlos Hernandez picked up the ball following a scrap in the midfield, and played a through ball which opened the Victory defence, leaving acres of space for Jeremy Brockie to run in and finish through Nathan Coe’s legs.
They could have had a second as Stein Huysegems converted a cross from Brockie, only to have the linesman correctly flag for offside.
Victory ended the half seeing a Traore shot just drift wide of the post, and carried on at the start of the second half where they had a series of corners.
Leijer and Milligan both came close with headers from the corners, but Moss was on hand to save Leijer’s effort while Milligan’s went just wide.
Thompson thought he had scored ten minutes after the interval, but his effort was ruled offside.
Then came a moment of controversy as Manny Muscat was only shown a yellow card for an elbow on Broxham, using it to bring down the Victory midfielder.
It seemed to get the Phonix worked up as they began to control the flow of the game.
Manny Muscat even forced Nathan Coe into a save after Hernandez found Huysegems in space, only for the Belgian to run wide and cross it back to Muscat.
The game fell into a lull, with Victory inviting the Phoenix to keep possession, and the intensity clearly dropped as mistakes began to creep into Victory’s game.
Wellington eventually got their second as Fenton nudged a header through to Ifill on the wing, and the Barbados international simply danced past the Victory defence and put the ball past Coe with grace.
Melbourne were far from their best and when chances presented themselves late on, they were unable to convert them.
New boss Kevin Muscat would have been happy to hear the final whistle, ensuring his new reign got off to the best possible start.
Melbourne Victory FC:
1. Nathan Coe [GK], 2. Pablo Contreras, 3. Adama Traore, 5. Mark Milligan, 6. Leigh Broxham, 9. Kosta Barbarouses, 10. Archie Thompson, 14. James Troisi (11. Connor Pain + 82′), 15. Mitchell Nicholls (7. Guilherme Finkler + 40′), 23. Adrian Leijer, 25. Jason Geria (24. Scott Galloway +88′)
Substitutes not used: 4. Nicholas Ansell, 20. Lawrence Thomas
Coach: Kevin Muscat
Yellow Cards: Geria 25′, Broxham 64′, Troisi 81′
Red Cards: Nil
Central Coast Mariners FC:
1. Glen Moss [GK], 2. Emmanuel Muscat, 3. Reece Caira, 10. Stein Huysegems, 11. Jeremy Brockie, 13. Albert Riera, 16. Louis Fenton, 17. Vince Lia, 18. Benjamin Sigmund, 21. Carlos Hernandez, 22. Andrew Durante
Substitutes not used: 5. Michael Boxall, 7. Leo Bertos, 8. Paul Ifill, 15. Jason Hicks, 30. Jacob Spoonley
Coach: Ernie Merrick
Yellow Cards: Fenton 6′, Muscat 57′, Sigmund 79′
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Matthew Gillett
Assistants: Luke Brennan, George Lakrindis, Shaun Evans
Pitch Rating: 8/10
Game Rating: 8/10
BOTN Player Points:
3. James Troisi
2. Carlos Hernandez
1. Jeremy Brockie
By Tomasz Ng