Melbourne Victory 2 Perth Glory 2
Melbourne Victory got the advantage of some curious refereeing decisions but gave away a two goal lead and a one man advantage to draw once again, this time to Perth Glory.
There was no Harry Kewell for Melbourne Victory’s home game against Perth Glory at Etihad Stadium on Sunday night.
Perth started the season like a house on fire with three wins in succession, but since then, despite playing some excellent football, it has lost three.
Perth had much more of the play in the first half-hour winning a series of corner-kicks, while Victory’s closest effort was when Carlos Hernandez curled a free kick just wide of the post following a free kick given away by Jacob Burns.
Burns was booked, but the referee’s report indicated that it was Bas van den Brink whose name was taken even though the number shown was seven, that of Burns.
Adam Hughes headed on to the cross bar and over following a Mile Sterjovski corner kick on the quarter-hour mark.
The match took a potentially decisive turn in the 37th minute.
Archie Thompson got away on a counter-attack and seemed to have outstripped the defence only for Liam Miller to catch his heels on the edge of the box.
The Scots midfielder was sent off, but Hernandez’s free kick was once again narrowly wide of the target.
Victory could not make the extra man advantage pay in the rest of the first half.
Both teams made changes at half-time, Victory bringing on Marco Rojas for Matthew Kemp who has not regained his fluency or control since returning from long term injury.
Perth countered by introducing Steven McGarry for Mile Sterjovski in a tactical switch to stiffen the midfield.
Eight minutes into the second half Hernandez found Archie Thompson with a long searching ball.
The Socceroo striker powered into the penalty area but van den Brink clearly nipped the ball away first before making contact with Thompson.
The referee awarded a penalty but took no further action against the defender.
Assuming he thought at that point that he had booked van den Brink then any sanction would have resulted in the expulsion of the Dutchman and have reduced Perth to nine men.
‘Curiouser and curiouser,’ said Alice.
Carlos Hernandez slotted the penalty away.
Five minutes later, Thompson won a corner kick.
Hernandez hit it deep and Rodrigo Vargas headed it back into the goal area and Danny Allsopp turned it over the line.
Victory was up by two and with the man advantage seemed set for the first home win of the season.
Perth coach Ian Ferguson and his men were not for giving up.
Ferguson took off Billy Mehmet for Brazilian winger Andrezinho and Victory played into his hands when Billy Celeski was booked for a trip just outside the penalty area.
The Perth substitute beat Ante Covic with a perfectly struck free kick.
Pert went three at the back and lifted by the goal went chasing the game.
Victory seemed to lose its composure much as Brisbane did against Victory two weeks ago, when it had the numerical advantage.
With three minutes of normal time remaining substitute Todd Howarth came powering down the left and crossed for Shane Smeltz to head the equaliser.
Why no one was marking the Kiwi international at that point will be the subject of a Victory inquest.
Mehmet Durakovic had no convincing explanation for the loss of two points, talking about the need for consistency and fitness and working hard on the pitch, but really this was self-inflicted punishment.
Danny Allsopp was diplomatic too, though he must have been ropable that the two goal advantage had been squandered.
Ian Ferguson stressed the character and determination of his team, pointing out that with a modicum of luck they would have had nine points from the last three games.
Knowing that Victory would be dangerous he changed the formation in the second half, going down the flanks and getting crosses in and it worked for Perth.
Victory by contrast had no target for its crosses and Danny Vukovic dealt with everything which came through.
This result will bolster Perth’s self-belief and should cause a major rethink at Victory.
Melbourne Victory 2 (Carlos Hernandez 53’, Danny Allsopp 58’) Perth Glory 2 (Andrezinho 71’, Shan Smeltz 87’)
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Local Kick Off: 5:00pm
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referees: Hakan Anaz and Shaun Evans
Fourth Official: Lucien Laverdure
21. Ante Covic, 3. Fabio, 6. Leigh Broxham, 7. Matthew Kemp (11. Marco Rojas 46’), 10. Archie Thompson, 12. Rodrigo Vargas, 14. Billy Celeski, 15. Tom Pondeljak (17, Jimmy Jeggo 73’), 16.Carlos Hernandez, 18. Danny Allsopp, 23. Adrian Leijer.
Unused substitutes: 20. Lawrence Thomas, 4. Petar Franjic
Yellow cards: Fabio 12’ Billy Celeski 70’
Red cards: nil
1.Danny Vukovic , 2.Josh Mitchell, 3.Bas Van Den Brink, 4.Billy Mehmet (27.Andrezinho 69’), 6.Chris Coyne, 7.Jacob Burns, 8.Adam Hughes, 9.Shane Smeltz, 10.Liam Miller, 19.Josh Risdon (17.Todd Howarth 82’), 21.Mile Sterjovski (14.Steven McGarry 46’),
Unused substitutes: 30. Lewis Italiano
Yellow cards: Jacob Burns 7’, Billy Mehmet 56’, Chris Coyne 78’
Red cards: Liam Miller 37’