Kemp looks to make amends

When Matthew Kemp made his long-awaited return from a knee reconstruction against Brisbane on Friday he would have dreamt of having his name on the scoresheet.

When Matthew Kemp made his long-awaited return from a knee reconstruction against Brisbane on Friday he would have dreamt of having his name on the scoresheet.

But in a cruel twist of fate for the Victory’s 30-year-old full-back, his name was up in lights for the wrong reasons after he deflected a Thomas Broich cross past Michael Petkovic to hand Brisbane a 1-0 lead on the half-hour mark.

The Victory overcame a 2-0 half-time deficit to lead 3-2 after a superb second-half effort, before being denied a memorable win by a late Matt McKay goal after Brisbane goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos handled the ball outside his area.

Kemp said the disappointment of surrendering their lead on Friday was massive, but could see the funny side of his own goal, which came in his first Hyundai A-League start since February after a long battle to regain full fitness.

“It’s probably one of the biggest disappointments of my whole career – it was huge,” Kemp said.

“It felt like we lost a grand final or something. The emotion of it – being my first game back. I thought we had it in the bag. To throw it away was massive.”

“I told the boys before the game I was going to score, but I didn’t tell them which end. It’s been almost 10 months (since I’ve played) and I forgot which way we were going,” he quipped.

“I don’t know what it is – own goals happen. We do feel a bit, I guess, that luck’s not going our way. But that’s up to us to make our own luck and we’ll try to turn that around this week.”

“Hopefully we can learn from that and be a bit more disciplined and shut up shop when we do get in front. It felt like a loss at the end. It was a big rollercoaster and hopefully this weekend the rollercoaster will reach a pinnacle.”

Victory face a crunch game on Saturday against cross-town rivals the Melbourne Heart, and with his side sitting just one point behind the Heart outside of the top six, Kemp said they were keen to avenge the 2-1 loss they suffered against the Heart in October.

“I’m really looking forward to that. Obviously I was gutted to miss the first derby, but this one’s going to be huge again and hopefully we can turn the result around on them,” he said.

“It’s very important, we need to pick up wins regardless of who it’s against, whether it’s Melbourne Heart or whoever. We need to start picking up three points and we’re throwing them away at the moment.”

“In that aspect of where we are on the ladder, definitely we have to win but it’s obviously a big derby game and that’s a big incentive as well.”

“I think we can take a lot of confidence out of last week’s game. I think we played some good football, we showed that we can score goals.”

“We’ll go into the game with a lot of confidence we can come up with a good result. I think we can start getting on a roll and really get some momentum going.”

Despite playing 90 minutes in the draw with Brisbane, Kemp insists he is still not at full fitness and is looking forward to logging some more game time in the coming weeks.

“I’ve got plenty of improvement, I was happy to get through 90 minutes – I didn’t expect that before the game, I don’t think anybody did.”

“My fitness has still got a long way to go. The fitter I get the more impact I’ll be able to have – get forward, up and down the line a bit more like I used to.”

“But that’ll come, I just need to get a few games under my belt. I still think there’s probably another 10 percent to go.”