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Nov 19, 2010   |  2:41PM AET

Merrick: Luck will turn

Merrick: Luck will turn

Coach Ernie Merrick is confident that Melbourne Victory’s luck will start to turn if they continue to play the way they did in Thursday night’s 2-2 draw with the Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park.

Coach Ernie Merrick is confident that Melbourne Victory’s luck will start to turn if they continue to play the way they did in Thursday night’s 2-2 draw with the Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park.

Victory were the far better side for much of the evening but firstly conceded the opening goal against the run of play in the first half and then an unusual own goal as Grant Brebner and Michael Petkovic tried desperately but in vain to clear their line.

After Petkovic couldn’t cleanly grab a corner that ricocheted of Alex Wilkinson’s leg Brebner tried to thump the ball to safety but it only managed to hit Petkovic’s flailing boot and deflect across the line.

That cancelled out a two-minute spell midway through the second half that saw firstly Rody Vargas finish off with a back-heel after Billy Celeski, Kevin Muscat and Adrian Leijer all played their part before Carlos Hernandez curled a brilliant free kick from 25m into the top left corner.

And while luck was against his men again on Thursday, Merrick was buoyed by the fact that unlike in recent weeks they did manage to capitalise on a couple of their chances and created plenty in a far better display.

“The boys were keen to do well and I thought played some outstanding football,” Merrick said.

“We defended really well, we created numerous chances and our strikers although not 100 percent yet, I thought they really threatened the defence on every occasion the ball went forward.”

“It’s a bit disappointing we didn’t get three points but it was so important we played like that for 90 minutes especially after going a goal down.”

A fortnight ago Vargas conceded an own goal as Gold Coast United took all three points at Etihad Stadium and last week Robbie Fowler received an early penalty that he had to tuck away on the rebound after Petkovic saved the initial effort.

Add the fact that the Mariners shared the points despite creating far fewer genuine opportunities and Merrick believes it’s only a matter of time before the half chances start to fall with his team rather than against it.

“I just think it can’t keep going that way if you play good football and you create the chances that we created,” he added.

“Eventually something has got to go our way.”

“Just think of their chances, they really only had one chance … sure the boy (Daniel McBreen) took it well but that was one chance and we paid a price for that one mistake and it seems when we make a mistake we pay a price.”

“I can’t avoid the fact that we didn’t get three points, I accept that.”

“(But) I was just so happy that the boys didn’t let themselves down four days after playing like that in Perth.”

As for striker Archie Thompson, who made several runs that caught out the defence only for his final touch to let him down in just his third game back from a knee reconstruction, Merrick is desperately hoping he isn’t part of the Qantas Socceroos squad for the Asian Cup.

“Yes I think he’s a bit special (and) yes I think he could play at the Asian Cup but I hope he doesn’t get picked up because if he goes in the Asian Cup for the month of January, we’ve got seven matches (in that period),” Merrick said.

While Merrick conceded the top two now looks unlikely he remains confident his club is still a big threat for the championship, thoughts echoed by Vargas.

“Sometimes in football you need a little bit of luck and unfortunately for us this year it’s just not falling our way,” Vargas said.

“We are creating chances and at the other end we’re scoring own goals and deflections (are going in).”

“But we’ve got the utmost confidence in the squad that if we keep on playing the way we have tonight, put in 90 minutes like that we’ll make finals and we’ll give it a real good shake.”