High five for Victory

A devastating display from the lethal Melbourne strike force has kept Victory’s unbeaten opening to the season intact with a stunning 5-0 win over Newcastle at Telstra Dome on Friday night.

A devastating display from the lethal Melbourne strike force has kept Victory’s unbeaten opening to the season intact with a stunning 5-0 win over Newcastle at Telstra Dome on Friday night.

Two first-half goals and three in the second 45 stunned the defending champions in front of 22,589 fans in Melbourne’s first home assignment of the season.

Danny Allsopp continued his flying start with a brace in the second half after Carlos Hernandez and Archie Thompson netted before the break in an ominous warning to the rest of the league. Scot Grant Brebner capped the triumph in stoppage time in the second half.

The win leaves Melbourne with seven points from three games and atop the table.

Coach Ernie Merrick was thrilled with the win, but careful not to look too far ahead.

“It was a good day at the office,” Merrick said.

“What was most impressive was the fluent attacking football in the front third and the number of high-quality passing phases. We had numerous chances on goal.”

It was Victory’s first Hyundai A-League win over the Jets since September 2006, a hoodoo Merrick was glad to overcome.

“I think we broke the duck in the league against Newcastle and we did it in style,” he said.

“But we can’t get carried away. There’s 21 rounds to determine who gets into the finals. It’s only three rounds.”

The hosts made their intentions clear in the opening minute when a slick Jose Luiz Lopez free-kick drifted dangerously into the path of Ney Fabiano. The Brazilian’s outstretched right boot was agonisingly short of opening the scoring at the back post of Newcastle goalkeepr Ante Covic.

The Victory attack was bolstered in the 24th minute when Thompson, who started on the bench in his return from a foot injury, was injected for the injured Michael Thwaite.

The reshuffle sent Kemp into the back three with the three-pronged front line of Fabiano, Thompson and Allsopp deployed for the first time.

The move almost paid immediate dividends when Hernandez set Allsopp in space just inside the area and the big striker let fly to open a period of dominance for the home team.

Fabiano bettered Allsopp’s effort moments later, but was unable to snatch the lead. The inevitable came in the 40th minute, however, when Hernandez opened his 2008/2009 account.

The Costa Rican was fed a classy through ball from Thompson, who was given time to turn and open up the busy Jets defence. Hernandez rifled home to give the home side a deserved 1-0 lead in the shadows of half-time.

Thompson doubled the advantage in the sole minute of injury time with Fabiano turning provider.

The import was gifted the ball from a poor goal kick from Covic, strolled towards the keeper and cut the ball back to hand Thompson one of the easiest of his 30 Hyundai A-League career goals.

Thompson’s class was back on display after the break. The No.10 intercepted another less than impressive clearance from the Jets and ran at the tormented cover with purpose.

Unselfishly, he fired in a low cross that Allsopp turned in to put the result beyond doubt in the 60th minute.

Allsopp cashed in on some more clever work from Fabiano three minutes later. The hard-working striker rose high to win a header and knock the ball into the path of Allsopp; he loped towards goal gave the hapless Covic little hope from close range.

The chances kept flowing thanks to the speed of Billy Celeski and skill of Thompson, but the home side couldn’t find a fifth until the introduction of much-loved Brebner in the 90th minute.

With his first touch Brebner smashed home a goal from outside the area to put the icing on a memorable night for Melbourne.

Melbourne Victory 5 (Hernandez 40, Thompson 45, Allsopp 60, 63, Brebner 91)
Newcastle Jets 0
Crowd: 22,589 at Telstra Dome

Victory memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are currently available from the Victory Shop, 236 Swan Street, Richmond, by calling 1300 GO MVFC or online by clicking here.