Saturday night football saw the Melbourne Victory host the Newcastle Jets in a beautifully sunny and relatively warm Melbourne. The Victory were looking to bounce back from their 2-0 loss to Adelaide United on Wednesday with not only an improvement on the scoreboard but also an improved overall performance.
The Jets too were looking for a win following their loss a week ago to Melbourne City and with both sides having some quality players it was going to be an interesting contest indeed. To add a bit more “spice” to the mix, Roy O’Donovan was back at AAMI following his lengthy suspension and there were a few boos from the Victory faithful who remember “that incident” in last season’s grand final.
Daniel Georgievski was also celebrating his 100th A-League appearance against his former side at a ground he knows all too well; and from all of us at The Ladies League I’d congratulate Danny on this milestone, he has been a joy to watch (even with a few questionable tackles and a couple red cards thrown into the mix) with passion which makes him a true asset to any club that is lucky have him. A shootout to Thomas Deng also who was playing his 50th game for Melbourne Victory.
An early set piece from the Jets in the 4th minute had Lawrence Thomas showing off his incredible reflexes to deny the visitors early on and I was praying to every “football god” for the evening not to be a repeat of Wednesday night. It didn’t look like it was going to be, when in the 8th minute Kenny Athiu placed a header just wide from a great Antonis cross.
In the 17th it was clear Newcastle weren’t going to just stand there and hope for the best, with attacking intent shown early with Jair whipping the ball into the area that bounced around the box before Victory cleared it. Another chance went begging for the visitors when Ugarkovic sent his shot off target in the 29th and the match was building as a case of ‘they huff and puffed but neither could score.’
The 39th minute saw Lewis Italiano making a save to deny Antonis who was trying to tee up Athiu. A couple minutes later and it was the visitors who were looking dangerous when Jair squared up O’Donovan who managed to get a foot to it, but it wasn’t enough to cause any real trouble for Thomas. It was the home side with the final chance of the half when Roux sent in a great cross in the 45th but Koutroumbis cleared the ball safely.
0-0 half time and I thought it was going to be a case of only 1 or 2 goals in it to win it come the second.
Well I was in for a pleasant surprise when in the 48th, the much loved Terry Antonis sent the ball fizzing from just outside the area into the bottom left corner past Italiano. 1-0!
“OHHHHH TERRY ANTONISSSSSSSSSS!” rang out at AAMI and the Victory fans were hungry for more goals from their side. You could see that the Jets were still going to play their football and not give up when in the 53rd Danny Georgievski ended up in the book for dissent and I was left shaking my head but also smiling like a clown, while the colours had changed Danny has not.
If there’s one thing I admire about Georgievski (let’s be honest there’s multiple things but I’m pretty sure everyone around me is sick and tired of hearing how great, I think he is) it’s his runs forward. Just to prove me right, that is exactly what he did in the 56th sending a seriously good hit toward Lawrence Thomas who had no choice but to tip it over the cross bar!
*head in hands* I was starting to get weird looks from those around me… I’m sure I was a sight dressed in Victory colours while yelling “Go Danny Go!” Disclaimer – I was the same when Kosta Barbarouses went back to Wellington, so maybe I just have a penchant for supporting our ex-Victory personnel. Of course I always want my Victory to win, but I actually don’t mind when most of our ex-players have a decent game against us.
The 100th game man sent another beautiful ball into the box toward the back post in the 73rd but Hoffman couldn’t get a touch and it was a sigh of relief! You could sense another goal was about to be scored but would it be Victory with a second or the Jets to draw level? Five minutes later we were about to find out….
Kaine Sheppard followed a Ridenton ball, who was blocked by Thomas but he followed the ball managing to find the bottom corner to draw the visitors level.
1-1! Not to be outdone, the 84th minute saw James Trosi finally *sorry not sorry* find the box and convert!
2-1 Victory and AAMI Park was pumping despite the lower than average turnout of roughly 16,000.
Following five minutes of stoppage time neither side could find another goal and Victory were back on the winners list while the Jets were once again leaving Melbourne without a point for the second week in a row.
Victory’s performance overall wasn’t particularly fantastic but they got the job done, and sometimes that is more important than playing well and losing. The Jets will hopefully be back on the winners list shortly; they certainly have the side on paper which should be winning games.
By Jakie Manevski (aka Daniel Georgievski’s number one fan)