Hopkins pleased with Victory fight


Melbourne Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins praised his team’s second-half display and felt it almost did enough to deserve three points against the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Natasha Dowie’s 14th goal for the club saw Victory earn a 1-1 draw against the Wanderers in the Westfield W-League on Friday night.

Both teams had periods of dominance in the encounter at Lakeside Stadium, where there was a long delay in the first half due to a storm.

Hopkins said there was plenty for his team to work on, but he was happy with its fight in the second half.

“We need to take advantage and actually kill teams off when we do have those 20-minute periods (of dominance),” he said.

“But also in the periods when we’re not dominating, we’ve got to be a bit smarter in being able to keep the ball and maybe just circulate the ball a little bit more.

“The periods of dominance were finished by us giving the ball away a little bit too cheaply and turning the ball over in poor areas. It’s something we’ve been working on and we need to keep working on.

“Every credit to the group, we were up against it in the second half and they rolled their sleeves up and showed that they’re prepared to fight and have a little bit of a go.”

Melbourne Victory

Melina Ayres hit the crossbar for Victory in the first half before Erica Halloway gave the Wanderers the lead.

The hosts dominated periods in both halves and Hopkins said his side almost did enough to deserve a win.

“The second-half performance was much better,” he said.

“We had to change things at half-time just because our organisation wasn’t right. We went more defensively into a 4-4-2 and then switched back into a 4-3-3 in attack.

“The difference in the first and second halves, apart from maybe the first 15 minutes, was the urgency of the players.

“In the second half we looked like we wanted to go and win the game and take the game to them – that was what we were missing for most of the first half. It was much better in the second half.

“Apart from the last few minutes of the game, I think we did just about enough to win the game.”