Melbourne Victory suffered a 2-0 loss to Brunswick City after playing almost the entire NPL2 West encounter with 10 men on Sunday.
Benjamin Carrigan was sent off in the third minute for Victory following a handball, but Branko Skocic saved Nicolas Gonzalez’s penalty at Epping Stadium.
However, goals from Gonzalez and Kobe Timms proved to be enough for Brunswick in wet and windy conditions.
Victory suffered a very early setback, with Carrigan sent off for a handball after a shot cannoned off his arm inside the area.
However, Victory goalkeeper Skocic dived to his right to tip Gonzalez’s penalty onto the post, before saving a tame follow-up effort.
Skocic also denied Ratip Cileli and Darby Dexter, the 20-year-old using his legs to keep out a close-range effort from the latter at the back post.
But Brunswick took the lead in the 27th minute, Gonzalez’s fine volley finding the bottom corner.
Victory held firm for the remainder of the first half as it stayed in the contest, with Jay Barnett – who joined the club as a scholarship player in June – coming on at the break.
But, after being unable to capitalise on a some chances in transition, Victory fell 2-0 behind in the 74th minute when Timms headed in a corner to seal Brunswick’s win.
Head coach Gareth Naven’s post-match thoughts
“Obviously things change a lot when you get a man sent off. Just trying to survive and do the best we can and not get hurt so much in the first half and then tried to make sure it was important that we try not to concede goals. Our structure, we had a back four, a solid three in midfield and two in front of our midfield so we can still try and attack at the same time as well. It was a tough game today, it’s not as though we can’t go from back to front in a way where we can get the ball under control, we need to definitely improve in moving from front third into scoring situations and scoring goals, which to be honest for any team in the country is very difficult, for any team around the world it’s difficult. It’s the hardest part about football, finishing off the possession and it’s obviously something we need to get better at and work at.
“In saying that, we got done on a set-piece, we work hard on our set-pieces to not concede, it’s about revisiting that as well. If we can move towards not revisiting the things that we work hard at to get good at and revisit the things we need to improve which are going to reward us in the match like creating goalscoring opportunities and our possession skills, our awareness on and off the ball is at times too casual, that’s a reflection of where we are.
“I’d like to make sure our players have an intense approach in every aspect of the game at all times, not sometimes, but all times. In saying that, I thought they worked extremely hard, you could tell in their faces they were working hard so once again do I think Brunswick are far better than us? No, I don’t. Do I think that any team we’ve played this year are far better than us? No, I don’t, but it always seems to be the smaller things that are letting us down to not get what we really deserve.”
NPL2 West 2019 Round 21
Melbourne Victory 0
Brunswick City 2 (Nicolas Gonzalez 27′, Kobe Timms 74′)
Melbourne Victory: Branko Skocic (gk); Andrew Visciglio (Nuh Sehavdic), Benjamin Carrigan (c), Aaron Anderson, So Nishikawa (Aydin Mustedanagic); Anthony Lesiotis, Jack Morton; Nishan Velupillay (Jay Barnett), Brandon Lauton, Yazid Said; Jack Palazzolo.
Victory’s under-20s saw their 12-match unbeaten run ended with a 2-1 loss to Brunswick City.