NPL report: Western 1-2 Victory

Melbourne Victory continued its strong NPL 3 Victoria form with an important come-from-behind 2-1 win over Western United on Sunday.


Yianni Panakos had given Western an early lead at City Vista Pavilion and Sports Field.

But Victory dominated the first half and a red card to Western goalkeeper Charlie Emery gave it the upper-hand before Aaron Anderson’s equaliser and James Paneras’ second-half winner.

Victory is unbeaten in five games and climbed onto 14 points, ahead of Western and just two adrift of league leader City.

Western opened the scoring in the fifth minute as Panakos headed in a corner.

While the host made the better start, Victory settled and created a host of opportunities in the first half.

Binyam Kebede was denied by a strong save from Emery in the 22nd minute before Jay Barnett saw a long-range strike go just wide.

Kebede and Lleyton Brooks were combining well and the former fired a shot over the crossbar after a pass from the winger in the 29th minute.

Brooks was looking particularly lively and his cross from the right was also headed over by Paneras.

But the game turned approaching half-time as Emery was sent off after bringing down Kebede, who got in behind thanks to a long Will Wilson pass.

Victory deservedly equalised on the stroke of half-time as Anderson headed in a Luka Prso corner to make it 1-1.

Paneras thought he had given Victory the lead from close range in the second half, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Victory continued to dominate and Kebede was denied by Western goalkeeper Mayen Mayen after a header from Brooks’ cross in the 59th minute.

But Victory found the winner it deserved through Paneras, who got on the end of another Brooks cross in the 73rd minute.

Victory goalkeeper Marko Bulic endured a quiet afternoon, but did need to make an excellent save in additional time to secure all three points.

Head Coach Joe Palatsides’ post-match thoughts

“It was a really good performance. It was really pleasing because it’s probably the most complete performance of the year and it was a really good performance. I thought even before Western got the red card, we conceded a sloppy goal early from a set-play which we should’ve done better on, but after that I thought we controlled the game really well. We combined really well to break them down and that was a credit again to the players, the way they moved the ball, the way they kept the ball and were able to penetrate. If we look at it, if we could’ve been a bit more clinical with all the chances we created, we could’ve scored quite a few more goals which would’ve been nice because it would’ve probably emphasised the performance of the boys. Today’s game in particular, I told the boys they should be very pleased with the way they performed because both in attack and defence, I thought they did their job in a very good manner so really pleasing to see.”

NPL 3 Victoria 2022 Round 7
Western United 1
(Yianni Panakos 5′)
Melbourne Victory U23s 2
(Aaron Anderson 45+2′, James Paneras 73′)

Melbourne Victory U23s: Marko Bulic (gk); Zaydan Bello (c), Aaron Anderson, Ryan Lethlean, Jackson Lino; Jay Barnett (Anthony Leban), Luka Prso (Alexander Menelaou); Lleyton Brooks (Jake Parish), Will Wilson, James Paneras (Adem Duratovic); Binyam Kebede.


Victory retained its perfect start to the Under-21 season, beating Western 3-1 for a seventh straight win to start the campaign.