Melbourne Victory 5 Newcastle Jets 0
Melbourne Victory bounced back dramatically from last week’s away loss to the Mariners with a five-nil thumping of an undermanned Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Sunday evening. The first half was played in a very subdued atmosphere as the Victory’s ‘active supporters’ mounted a silent and literate protest at what they regarded as media lies and heavy-handed security. After halftime, having made their point, they filled the stadium with the noise and passion for which they have become recognised throughout the football community in Australia and beyond. Victory runs a video before every home game in which Kevin Muscat asserts that the fans are the most important people in the club, but there is obviously still a ‘disconnect’ between what the various parties believe is going on and there needs to be even more discussion and contact between the various stakeholders to preserve Victory’s greatest asset.
Victory had Archie Thompson back in the starting line-up for its critical match with Newcastle Jets, who left out Emil Heskey and. Michael Bridges. It was interesting that both coaches agreed that this was a sensible strategy before the game and both defended the idea afterwards despite the scoreline and the potential the defeat has to undermine the morale of the Jets players. Gary van Egmond pointed to the way Victory bounced back from its heavy defeat, and said ‘We need to borrow their playbook’.
The game was open and end to end from the kick-off but Victory went in front in the 8th minute. Breaking quickly from defence Archie Thompson sent Marco Rojas clear and though the Kiwi winger appeared to be offside he was allowed to run on a slip the ball under Mark Birighitti. Replays suggested the officials got this one right.
Victory got a couple of corner kicks on the right in the 14th and 15th minutes and from the second of these Adrian Leijer, Mark Milligan and Daniel Mullen made a collective ‘three man rush’ at the dropping cross from Rojas. Leijer got in the header and powered it past the keeper.
At the next corner two minutes later the three-man rush was in evidence once again and this time Mark Milligan collided with Ruben Zadkovich. He may even have been pushed into the Jets’s skipper but Milligan’s trailing arm hit Zadkovic in the head, just as Daniel Mullen headed what looked like a good goal. After some delay the referee chalked it off and gave the Jets a free kick. This decision may well have been incorrect. So Victory had a more precarious two-nil lead rather than three.
Just before the half-hour Archie Thompson was charging into the penalty area when he was brought down by Taylor Regan. The defender was cautioned and the spot kick awarded. Mark Milligan coolly blasted the ball past Birighitti. So now Victory had its three-goal cushion, but the Jets kept plugging away and Nathan Coe had to make a number of saves including an excellent one from a drive by Andrew Hoole a couple of minutes before the break.
Neither side made any change at half-time and Victory nearly increased its advantage when Thompson’s cross was met by a flying lunge from the irrepressible Leigh ‘Box to Box’ Broxham but the Jets’ keeper was alert and blocked the effort. At the other end Coe had to make a couple of good saves from Newcastle counter-attacks. But it was Victory which made another breakthrough.
In 56 minutes another Rojas set piece saw the three musketeers in action again and this time Taylor Regan manhandled Daniel Mullen. The referee gave him a second yellow card and awarded another penalty. Milligan buried this one efficiently too.
By now it seemed that every Victory attack threatened a goal and in 66 minutes another arrived. Connor Pain found Rojas inside the penalty area and the winger turned the first defender then walked around the keeper before scoring his second goal of the match and his fourteenth for the season. Both coaches made a series of changes to rest key players and Thompson, Celeski andPain made way for Spase Dilevski, Francisco Stella and Andrew Nabbout respectively. The Jets replaced Mitch Cooper, Joshua Brillante and Craig Goodwin with Jacob Pepper, Connor Chapman and Bernardo Ribiero, but none of the changes made any difference to the score.
Ange Postecoglou credited the ‘three-man rush’ to assistant coach Kevin Muscat, who said ‘I only admit it when we are winning’, with a big smile on his face. The Melbourne coach was delighted to get some more game time into his youngsters and to be able to remove Thompson and Celeski well before the end as he builds towards the finals and next season.
Sunday, 3 March 2013
Melbourne Victory 5 (Marco Rojas 8’, 66’, Mark Milligan 30’, 57’, Adrian Leijer 15’) Newcastle Jets 0
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 5:00pm AEDT
Referee: Jarred Gillett
Assistant Referees: George Lakrinidis and Jonathan Barbiero
Fourth Official: Lucien Laverdure
39. Nathan Coe, 3. Adama Traore, 5. Mark Milligan, 6. Leigh Broxham, 10. Archie Thompson (18. Francisco Stella 58’), 11. Marco Rojas, 14. Billy Celeski (21. Spase Dilevski 58’), 23. Adrian Leijer, 31. Scott Galloway, 32. Connor Pain (26. Andrew Nabbout 78’), 33. Daniel Mullen.
Unused substitutes: 1. Tando Velaphi.
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
20.Mark Birighitti, 2.Scott Neville, 5.Dominik Ritter, 8.Ruben Zadkovich, 12.Josh Brillante (11.Connor Chapman 76’), 14. Taylor Regan, 15.Craig Goodwin (10.Bernardo Ribeiro 85’), 21. Marco Jesic, 22.Adam Taggart, 25. Mitch Cooper (18.Jacob Pepper 69’), 26. Andrew Hoole.
Unused substitutes: 1.Ben Kennedy,
Yellow cards: Taylor Regan 30’, 56’, Andrew Hoole 55’
Red cards: Taylor Regan 56’