Terrace Talk: Mariners v Victory
Much like every other week of late, this was another must win game for Melbourne Victory after Fox Sports new golden boys, the Western Sydney Wanderers took top spot after unsurprisingly beating the dullest team to watch in the league, Perth.
In abhorrent conditions in the echo chamber that is Bluetongue Stadium that saw the NYL game called off earlier in the day, the game got under way in the sloppy fashion that we’ve become used to from Victory over the last few weeks. Poor passing and mistimed tackles featured early on in the game with the conditions having nothing to do with it as Central Coast had the better of the opening 5 minutes.
Victory didn’t get any time on the ball for the first 15 minutes as they were dominated by Central Coast. Cracking under pressure is not something that is usually associated with Victory but the weak performance in the first 15 minutes was accented by some shocking keeping from Nathan Coe as Central Coast slotted one home in the 17th minute to take a well-deserved lead.
Stella was having a horrible game as well, being muscled off the ball for much of the first half and blowing a chance to equalise by taking too many touches before ignoring an open Marco Rojas to fire the ball about 6 yards wide of the goal.
Victory finally had a bit of luck with a clear cut penalty on Daniel Mullen. Mark Milligan slotted home from the spot to bring Victory somehow level with Central Coast in the 23rd minute.
With Victory back in the game, the Mariners stepped up their offensive efforts, almost taking advantage of Victory’s lethargic offside trap more than a few times in the first half hour. With each Victory player seemingly taking 15 touches before playing a long ball to no one, it wasn’t long before Central Coast scored again through what can only be described as a keeping error from Coe. What Coe was doing so far outside his area leaving his goal wide open we will probably never know.
With a defensive line almost as high as Hayden Foxe’s shorts, Victory nearly conceded a few more times before the first half came to an end.
On the positive side, Victory were only a goal down going into halftime and it would take a gargantuan effort to play worse in the 2nd half than they did in the 1st.
Victory made one change at half time, relieving Stella of his duties and bringing on Andrew Nabbout who almost immediately made an impact, linking up with Connor Pain and almost finding Rojas in the box a few times in the first few minutes of the 2nd half.
Melbourne looked much more assured defensively at the start of the 2nd half and it was needed as Central Coast didn’t let up and kept pushing forward, testing Victories reinvigorated defence every chance they had. Nathan Coe nearly made another calamitous mistake as he again came too far out of his area but was saved by the great defensive work from Mark Milligan.
It didn’t take long for them to take a 3-1 lead as Leijer made a meal of his defensive duties as Michael McGlinchey slotted home past a lacklustre Nathan Coe.
With an hour gone, Victory didn’t look like doing anything at all to counter Central Coast and Diogo Ferreira was brought on for Sam Galloway to try and sure up thec back 4, I can’t call them defence because that would imply they had actually defended.
Victory never looked like winning this game and no more so when Adama Traore, having possibly his worst game of the season, gave away a penalty which luckily was blasted into the crossbar by McBreen in the 66th minute.
Playing the brown brand of football paid off for Victory as Central Coast defender, Trent Sainsbury took mercy on us to score an own goal bringing it to 3-2 with 20 minutes remaining.
Victory started to play football in the final 20 minutes, stringing some passes together and cutting out a few passes defensively.
The man who was unlucky not to have started in place of Stella, Spase Dilevski was brought on for the almost anonymous Daniel Mullen in the 78th minute as a last roll of the dice for Victory which proved futile. Another horrible lapse in defence, this time from Diogo Ferreira, let Nick Fitzgerald score a simple goal to go ahead 4-2.
In the worst display since that horrible game against Brisbane, Victory conceded yet another goal as McGlinchey bagged another to put Mariners up 5-2.
This was painful to watch and even more painful for the traveling supporters who paid money to make the trip interstate to see this complete farce of a performance from their team.
More mistakes from our back four allowed the Kiwi Maradona to seal his hat trick and to make it 6-2.
This was another disappointing display from a useless Victory who just weren’t good enough at any stage of the game, like Leigh Broxham said after the game, there was “no desire”.
Votes- Not Applicable