In A League of Its Own – Derby #2

Tom’s weekly outlook on the A-League

For Melbourne Victory, Melbourne Derby #2 was all about revenge for when they suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of Melbourne Heart earlier in the season. For Heart, this match was about redeeming themselves as a finals threat and half decent team, following their fall out of the top 6. Melbourne Victory boasted a better line-up than last time the two teams met, with Archie Thompson, Robbie Kruse and Matt Kemp all back into the team and close to fully fit. They also had been in great form, but without registering too many wins in the past few games. The attendance was predicted by some to be around 20,000, a prediction which I thought little of, as I thought that 25,000 at the very least would turn up. It ended up being 23,000-odd, a figure which I was a little disappointed in.

The game started as expected: fast and furious, but with nervous mistakes on both sides. The first goal scored by Robbie Kruse originated from a mistake, when Rutger Worm was unable to control the ball on his flank. Surat Sukha – who had a great night on the right for Victory – slid in and the ball spilled loose. After the ball came to Victory feet, Robbie Kruse latched onto a great through ball/cross by Archie Thompson to open the scoring from a tight angle. Soon after though, Heart won a free-kick some 27 yards out from their attacking goal. Gerald Sibon surprised a few when he lined the ball up, but he managed to curl the ball expertly around the Victory’s large 5-man wall to level the scores up. Although Heart had 60% of possession for the night, it seemed that whenever they lost it, they would be pushed back alot by Victory, who would press and create something. Robbie Kruse didn’t really exploit that though, when he netted his second of the night, again capitalising on a monumental error from the Heart. Billy Celeski had cleared the ball aerially, and it fell to Matt Thompson. With Kruse lurking, Thompson’s first touch was poor, and Kruse was there to take possession and turn it into a one-on-one situation with Heart keeper Clint Bolton. Bolton, possibly expecting a back-pass from Thompson, was already half way between Kruse ad the goals. He would have expected Kruse to lob him, but Kruse instead hammered it low and hard into the back of the onion bag. The sides went in 2-1 at half-time, Victory well on top and with full confidence being in the lead.

Victory again started the second half the stronger, making all the chances and rarely conceding ground. It paid off soon after half-time, when Robbie Kruse played through Archie Thompson o the left, who put in a low cross to Adrian Leijer, whose opponent Wayne Srhoj thighed the ball over Bolton and into the net to hand Victory a convincing 3-1 win over their arch rival Heart. After that, Heart did manage to skim the crossbar twice, but never really looked like stealing a point off the Victory in the end. My 3 votes went to: 1-Leijer (MVC), 2-Sukha (MVC), 3-Kruse (MVC).

In the other 4 A-League games, Gold Coast recorded a scrappy 2-0 win at Robina in front of 1700 fans over Wellington, Adelaide had their 2-0 win over the Fury wrapped up early, Brisbane continued on their merry ways beating Sydney 1-0 away, and more refereeing controversy allowed Central Coast a late equaliser at Perth.

This week at AAMI Park, catch Melbourne Victory host Perth Glory on Saturday night at 7.00 pm. Perth drew 2-2 with the Victory last time the two met at AAMI Park, so expect much of the same in a must-win for both sides.

About Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He loves all sports, and plays for Brunswick Cricket Club. He supports the Western Bulldogs and can be found on weekends among half a dozen others in Q38 on the top level of the MCC.

Comments

  1. Victory’s form will have all the finalists twitchy. I rate them second to Roar now, above Adelaide and Central Coast.

  2. Martin Reeves says:

    Tom – great win on Saturday. Were you there?

    I scored a free ticket to the Glory v CCM match on Sunday (some guy was giving away a pile) and watched an entertaining match.

    Perth were positive from the kick-off and should have had a two goal buffer at half time if Fowler put away a free header. CCM always had a goal in them though. At least Perth went with some youth for a change and were better for it.

    Melbourne (there’s only one team in Melbourne) should win this week but Perth have troubled us in recent times. I’m in town for my debut at AAMI Park on Saturday night. Shame it features the same rabble I have to watch in Perth.

  3. Martin,
    Whilst Fowler looked a class above, he seemed to get very lazywith some of his shot-taking and, ultimately, being turned so easily prior to the equaliser. What’s your take on his worth this year? Also, The CCs are a pretty workmanlike mob aren’t they? Can’t see them top, but they are a fair barometer for their opponents’ progress.

  4. Martin Reeves says:

    Crio – haven’t been to alot of Perth games as I sunk my money into a MV membership. That, and Perth are awful to watch.

    Fowler seems to go missing at times, but I think he likes to conserve his energy. That said, most of his touches are pure quality.

    Perth would be bottom without him, but without a decent squad around him, Tony Sage probably wasted his money on RF. In his favour, he does alot of news slots to promote the club and sport, and seems to enjoy playing and living here.

    As for CCM, I’ve always found them a little boring.

  5. Always?…or just now with the garrulous Arnie in charge?

  6. Tom… I was surprised you weren’t impressed by the numbers at the last Melbourne derby… was that an improve on their 1st derby for the season? What needs to happen for more of those fans to come through the turnstiles?

  7. go u reds!
    was relieved to get a win friday night and now look forward to the next 5 games at home.
    maybe all is not lost yet!!
    what do u reckon thomas?

  8. 6- Ticket prices need to be lowered- lower prices= more people through the gates, especially when the cost of living has dramatically increased.

  9. Dom,
    Prices to Heart games at AAMI Park seemed very fair indeed.

  10. Yes, they may seem fair in compared to most other codes of football in Australia. But what will really drive the curious sports watchers through the gates are cheap tickets. I went to the derby on Saturday night, $40 for an Adult on Level 3 seems pretty harsh to me. If the A-League want bigger crowds, they not only need to the reduce ticket prices a little, but strengthen the image of soccer in Australia. By getting people through the turnstiles is a start.

  11. Dom, spot on. Tickets should be no more than say $18. The VPL (which is only a slightly lower standard) is $12.

  12. While I realise that soccer is a far more popular sport in Australia than Baseball, you might find the following price comparison interesting.

    The Australian Baseball League has recently relaunched itself as a professional league with a mixture of local players and professionals who have played/are playing in the USA and Japan.

    There has always been a strong amateur Baseball competition in Australia. Baseball is the oldest of the “American” sports played in Australia. It has been played here since the 1880s, more recent than Cricket, Aussie Rules, Soccer and Rugby Union but longer than any other team sport.

    On Sunday I went to a double header at the Showgrounds between Melbourne Aces and Sydney Blue Sox. It cost $12, even less for kids, seniors, students and club members. Pro Baseball is a long way behind Basketball, let alone any of the football codes when it comes to spectator numbers but those sort of prices are the way to build support.

  13. Heart beating Adelaide. Reds might get wobbly!

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