Melbourne Victory’s struggling youth team have stunned second-placed Perth Glory 1-0 in the National Youth League on Sunday.
Victory’s youngsters have mirrored their senior colleagues’ poor season and went into Sunday’s game bottom of the NYL but Luke O’Dea scored the decisive goal in the 31st minute to clinch a rare win and eliminate Perth’s slim chances of finishing top.
Victory were the dominant side of the first half at Kingston Heath but it was the visitors who had the first two decent chances of the game.
After 17 minutes, Byron Hudson got free in Melbourne’s penalty area but pulled his shot wide and four minutes later Adam Taggart forced Tando Velaphi into a fine one-handed stop.
The home side began to get the ball into more dangerous areas from then on, with O’Dea particularly impressive after switching wings.
The lanky attacker regularly cut in from the left and in the 31st minute, after skipping past Scott Neville, drew a good save from Perth goalkeeper Lewis Italiano.
Six minutes later, Victory got their reward for a fine first half.
Damir Lokvancic took a free kick from the left-hand side and O’Dea was first to the Melbourne captain’s in-swinger and glanced a header inside the far post.
Down 1-0 at half-time, and with exciting teenager Jesse Makarounas off the bench, the Glory came out firing after the break.
The visitors pinned Melbourne in their own half for the first 15 minutes of the second half, with Sam Mitchinson and Tommy Amphlett both going close with shots from outside the box.
Victory missed passes and left too much space for the Glory’s attackers but the introduction of Jake Nakic and Luc Jeggo after an hour provided more spark to the home side’s attack.
In the 65th minute they almost combined for a goal with Jeggo’s cross flying through the box, just ahead of Danny Allsopp.
The senior striker had an even better chance to double Melbourne’s lead when he got on the end of Jeggo’s corner in the 84th minute but Italiano made a fine save down low.
Perth pushed forward in the final few minutes, giving Victory coach Darren Davies some nervous moments, but Melbourne held on for their fourth win of the season, although they remain bottom of the NYL ladder, with just their postponed match against Gold Coast remaining.