Round 11 derbies aren’t that bad! Given I had to endure the round 1 snooze fest that was Victory v City, I don’t know why I chose to review this game as well. But here we are, goals were scored, chants could actually be heard around the stadium, and watching Kurz punch the foam barrier of his box made the 90 minutes worth it.
I know this article will probably be overshadowed by the Jets drubbing at the hands of Perth, but bear with me, this game was actually entertaining. I am sure many predicted that City would come out on top. They are chasing Sydney at the top of the table, Maclaren has scored 10 goals, and Noone proves he is more than a good twitter joke. Victory on the other hand have been carried by Toivonen who looks ready to fly back to Sweden and Kruse spends more time waving his hands at the referee than doing anything really useful on the pitch. Don’t get me wrong, there does seem to be this weird vendetta against Kruse who must certainly have the most fouls committed against a single player, but his face is becoming meme worthy.
From kick off, Victory had a flare that has not been seen in recent games and City were struggling to match their pace. The game was being played end to end with long balls, counters, and quick passes. With this style of play, it became a battle of defence with Broxham v Delbridge doing whatever necessary to keep the ball out of their net. With the early pace, it shockingly became only a matter of time before Victory scored but it was no surprise that Toivonen was the one to do it. Kamsoba with his supreme pace was not letting a ball slide out (City much happier to sit back for a goal kick) and with a quick pass back to Nabbout, came a cross to the middle that the Swede could not miss.
Celebrations became panic though when Toivonen went down injured with what appears to be a groin injury. Thankfully he is okay and like sand through the hourglass, so does Kruse get tackled again. The ref appeared to forget he owned cards and could dish them out because Basha definitely deserved the cheese and anyone just about breathing near Kruse could have been carded.
If the ref was not going to dish out anything, then revenge was best served with another goal and it was hilariously sweet. Nabbout’s cross to the middle hits Good and Glover manages to save face and an own goal. Only that his wonderous saves still resulted in embarrassment as Toivonen is right there to accept the floating ball and again, head it into the back of the net. Victory are now up 2-0 and City keep nervously glancing back to Mombaerts. Good luck down that tunnel at half time, lads!
On return from the break, Victory remain hungry for the goal. Nabbout now looks the most likely to score but as luck would have it, he had none. Seriously, Nabbout probably could have scored a hat-trick in this game but every shot went just a bit wide, directly to the Glover, or off a defender. His curse was then made worse when Victory replay avoid-own-goal-let-opposite-team score at their end. Donachie standing awkwardly near the goal gets the ball at his knees and breathlessly, it passes by the goal for a corner.
Off the corner kick, Delbridge is the one to empathically jump for the ball, heading it past a desperate Thomas. Delbridge’s first goal for the A League and their comeback in the derby, finally the City fans had something to wave their scarves about. Victory 2 – City 1.
Toivonen succumbs to his injury and is replaced by Poulsen, proving that you cannot just replace a Swede with a Dane and pretend they are the same kind of Scandinavian. Poulsen lacks that final finesse and Victory, for once in this game are looking nervous. Some laughter and almost joy was brought about when Glover makes a run out of his box and a mistake hit, gifting the ball to Kamsoba. With an empty goal and sparse defenders, some Victory fans were already dancing, but the shot was weak and celebrations turned into laughter as it wastefully bounced past the goal.
Now remember how I said Maclaren had scored a truckload of goals and so City probably should have won this derby. Welp it was around the 80th minute that I had to ask “wait where is Maclaren”. And yes folks, he was playing for the whole 90’ but you definitely would not have known that. Maclaren must have been expertly shut down or did absolutely nothing because he now had his single shot on goal and it was barely pretty ordinary.
Galloway aims for heroics with a dying minutes strike from 25 metres out but it doesn’t stick and the result remains the same. Mombaerts said his team was lacking passion and that was certainly evident in this game. Victory were able to shut down key strikers, play the game at their pace, and with the added advantage of the ref refusing to hand out cards (though hilariously Nabbout was the first to get a card in this game), they take home the win. City are messaging their loved ones, unsure if they will make it home tonight, and the memes are the gift that keeps on giving.
Tis the season to be regretting the banter.
Victory 2 – City 1