Danny delivers against Phoenix

Danny Allsopp has inspired Melbourne Victory to a 4-2 win in a wet and wild goal-fest against Wellington at Westpac Stadium.

Danny Allsopp has inspired Melbourne Victory to a 4-2 win in a wet and wild goal-fest against Wellington at Westpac Stadium.

Allsopp scored two goals in the first half and set up Ney Fabiano for the third as Melbourne notched its first win of the new campaign in emphatic fashion. While Shane Smeltz equalised at 1-1 in the first half and then pulled it back to 3-2 on 65 minutes, Melbourne always had the game in hand and skipper Kevin Muscat sealed it with a well-taken penalty with 23 minutes remaining.

While it was Melbourne which scored first, it was Wellington which had the first few chances of the game. Rody Vargas got his head in the road of Troy Hearfield’s fierce shot and then Michael Thwaite was forced to clear a dangerous cross before Richard Johnson tested out Mitch Langerak with a long effort.

Allsopp’s first goal was basically a solo effort as he picked up the ball down the left channel, barged his way past Manny Muscat then hit a low skidding shot which Glen Moss could only dive over on 16 minutes.

That started a frantic 10-minute period where both Allsopp and Billy Celeski should have added to Melbourne’s lead and Ney Fabiano found himself in the book for a tough challenge on Moss. Allsopp’s error was not hitting the ball hard enough when he chipped Moss allowing Michael Ferrante to get back and clear off the line, while Celeski couldn’t get his close-range header on target.

Wellington took its next chance to level the scores on 29 minutes. Jon McKain set Tony Lochhead free down the left and his cross was pin-point, finding Smeltz between two Victory defenders and the prolific marksman made no mistake.

However, Allsopp continued to find holes in the home defence and a clever through pass from Matthew Kemp on 36 minutes had him one-on-one with Moss again. The big striker made no mistake, hitting a well-placed chip to restore Melbourne’s lead.

Shortly after the resumption it was 3-1 as Allsopp charged forward again, beat an advancing Moss and then chipped the ball over to his strike partner Ney Fabiano. The Brazilian executed the most casual bicycle kick you’ve ever seen to secure his first A-League goal.

Both Melbourne’s Costa Ricans could have stretched the lead further as first Jose Luis Lopez blazed away and then Carlos Hernandez went for the top corner twice and just missed on both occasions.

Wellington called on Vaughan Coveny and with his first touch the veteran striker went just wide, then Kevin Muscat deflected a Smeltz shot which hit the upright. That was a sign of things to come as Kemp collided with McKain in the box and Srebre Delovski pointed to the spot. Smeltz stepped up and made no mistake and it was 3-2 with 25 minutes remaining.

But just 60 seconds later, McKain returned the favour, with a silly challenge on Hernandez in the box. Delovski gave another penalty and Kevin Muscat easily put the spot kick away to make it 4-2.

Grant Brebner made his first appearance since December in the place of Hernandez as Melbourne looked to slow a frantic game down. Thwaite and Ney Fabiano could have both scored in the final minutes, but the margin was comfortable enough that their missed efforts didn’t matter.

Wellington Phoenix 2 (Smeltz 29, 64p)
Melbourne Victory 4 (Allsopp 16, 36, Ney Fabiano 47, Muscat 65p)
Crowd: 6,110

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