A crowd of 13,084 (we don’t count the seagulls right?) headed into AAMI Park on a wet and gloomy Friday night for the clash between Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory.
It was a milestone for club stalwart Leigh Broxham who was playing his 300th game for the Victory, and the first and most likely the only player to reach the 300 mark for one club in the A-League.
The Victory desperately needed the three points with the one win thus far for the season. The visiting Glory who were sitting on six points for the season also needed to find a result on the road, it was either going to be a snooze fest or an entertaining Friday night of football.
Following a minute silence for former Socceroo coach Pim Verbeek who passed away this week. It was time for football and I wasn’t particularly optimistic that my side could get the job done.
The match started a little slow but the Victory were looking to gain momentum in pushing forward to attack, even if there was a fair bit of my “favourite” backwards side passing thrown in for good measure. It was Andrew Nabbout in the 10th minute with a sneaky chip over the Glory defence but he was offside. A Victory counter attack in the 12th saw Captain Ola Toivonen with a long range shot but it was an easy save for Reddy.
My heart sank just a little in the 17th when Kilkenny pounced on a cutback from Franjic but it luckily was sent over the crossbar. It was looking to be a case of which side’s defence will blink first. The 24th had Liam Reddy pull out a great save to deny Andrew Nabbout’s beautifully curling cross that looked bound for the far top corner.
The Victory lads seemed to be playing well (admittedly the midfield still needs some serious work) and it paid off in the 33rd when Robbie Kruse slotted in a nifty little pass in the box from Nabbout. Mention the name Robbie Kruse and you’ll get a few different responses but I am firmly in the “he is a solid player, when fit and firing he’s great” camp. It was great to see him score his first goal for the Vuck since his return and that celebration shows what it means to him.
It was 1-0 to the good for the home side heading into the sheds at half time, but as we’ve experienced not only this season but in the past we needed to focus in defence and chase a couple more goals. With the likes of Castro, Fornaroli and Ikonomidis on the pitch Popa had some firing power up his sleeve to try get a result.
Sure enough it was Fornaroli in the 50th who was unlucky not to find the back of the net, instead rattling the crossbar. The Glory were piling on the pressure winning three successive corners in the 51st, 52nd and 53rd minutes but the Victory managed to hold on.
Kruse went looking for a brace in the 62nd but the Glory managed to get the ball away. Time was ticking away and instead of feeling relieved, I was getting more nervous knowing it will only take a split second and the visitors would equalise. Lawrence Thomas came to the rescue once again in the 70th to deny Meredith’s cross.
It was Elvis Kamsoba with the last solid chance for the home side in the 80th but it was just wide. Marco Kurz made his first substitute in the 89th, replacing Kruse who received a warm round of applause from the Victory faithful. With a few minutes to go could the Victory hold on?
The fourth official signalled 3 minutes of stoppage time and it was some scrambling, stubborn defensive work from the home side in the end to deny the visitors.
WE WON! WE ACTUALLY WON!
In a performance that wasn’t always pretty the Victory managed to hold onto the much needed three points. With two wins, two draws and four losses in eight it was enough to see them jump a couple spots into 6th at least for now. As for the Glory? They have been playing well this season, but it seems they really are missing something this season – perhaps an Andy Keogh to help feed the likes of Castro and Fornaroli.
By Jakie Manevski