Victory win against the odds
Melbourne Victory posted a gritty 2-0 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night, despite playing most of the match with 10 men.
Ange Postecoglou's side overcame the early dismissal of young defender Sam Gallagher, and had an own goal from Michael Beauchamp just before half-time and an Archie Thompson strike on the hour mark to thank for their third win in four matches.
Following a scrappy opening, the match swung in the home side's favour after 15 minutes, when Victory debutant Gallagher was shown a red card for holding back Dino Kressinger, who was bearing down on goal with only Nathan Coe to beat.
Referee Ben Williams had no hesitation in showing Gallagher red, and Shinji Ono went close to opening the scoring from the resulting free-kick but his strike flashed by the upright.
The Wanderers immediately began to press home their numerical advantage, and a wonderful ball from Aaron Mooy found Michael Bridge in the six-yard box, but the striker's header from point-blank range was straight into the turf and Coe managed to touch it over.
The Victory had to reorganise, and they brought in defensive reinforcements in the shape of Jonathan Bru for rising star Andrew Nabbout just before the half-hour mark.
Ono went close on 37 minutes with a free-kick that sailed just over the crossbar, but Victory began to show signs of life as the half drew to a close - with much of their threat coming from the class of Marco Rojas and Gui Finkler.
And the visitors stunned the crowd two minutes before the break, when Finkler broke into the box and delivered a low cross that Beauchamp tried to block, although the defender's outstretched leg succeeded only in diverting the ball past Ante Covic and into the goal.
Clear chances were few and far between after the restart, with Shannon Cole's curling left-footed strike on 52 minutes just centimetres over the bar while at the other end Rojas' pace and trickery were posing problems for the Wanderers rearguard.
And it was the young winger who was at the heart of Victory's next goal, latching onto a Billy Celeski ball and bursting forward before picking out Thompson with a cross as the veteran striker made no mistake in slotting the ball past Covic to make it 2-0 on the hour mark.
Western Sydney lifted as the match appeared to be drifting away from them, with substitute Jason Trifiro blasting a volley just wide of the post and Jerome Polenz forcing a good save from Coe as the match entered the final 15 minutes.
But try as they might, the Wanderers could not break down the stubborn Victory defence, as Postecoglou's men posted their first clean sheet of the season.
Western Sydney Wanderers 0
Melbourne Victory 2 (Beauchamp 44 OG, Thompson 60)
Crowd: 9,614 at Parramatta Stadium