Maker Maker celebrated his 19th birthday with the match-winner to see Melbourne Victory edge Nunawading City 3-2 in the NPL2 West.
Maker, who turned 19 on Sunday, headed in an 85th-minute corner to see Victory return to winning ways with the success at Mahoneys Reserve.
Brady Quinn and Yazid Said had earlier given Victory the lead, cancelling out Lee Gellis’ opener, before Christopher Antoniadis levelled.
Victory had Andrew Visciglio, 17, and Brandon Lauton, 18, come off with first-half injuries before falling behind, Gellis producing a stunning strike from distance.
In a frantic finish to the first half, Nicholas Hatzigeorgiou, 17, placed a quick free-kick wide and Victory goalkeeper Majak Mawith, 18, denied Borbor Sam, who also struck the post.
Instead, Victory levelled on the stroke of half-time, Quinn, 18, tapping in from close range after great work down the left by Said, 18.
Victory made a strong start to the second half and Jack Palazzolo, 18, almost gave it the lead, but the forward hit the post.
Palazzolo’s hard work paid off soon after, the forward’s perseverance leading to Said tapping in.
But Antoniadis brought Nunawading back into the game with 13 minutes remaining, powering in an effort from an angle.
Maker was the hero, heading in a Hatzigeorgiou corner in the 85th minute for the winner, while Luke Goulding struck the post late on as Victory ended a three-match winless run.
Head coach Gareth Naven
“First half an hour, I thought we scrambled pretty well to be honest, we could’ve been in a bit of trouble, but the boys certainly did defend their hearts out at times and Maj performed really well in goals and kept us in the game. It gave us an opportunity to springboard back a bit and get us back in the game and we got in the change room at half-time and tried to do things a little bit better in certain areas in regards to our defensive balance in midfield and being a bit more aggressive in our approach when we’re closing down people.
“I think it was important to score when we did in the first half and then obviously the second half, again, I thought the group are doing their best, holding onto the game because the match changes at different stages and we were always in a position where we contest every ball, we’re very competitive, which enables us to stay in the match all the time, to be dangerous, to be always threatening the opposition which I think is an important quality we’re trying to develop.”
Victory’s under-20s made it four straight wins by beating Nunawading City 2-0.
NPL2 West 2018 Round 19
Nunawading City 2 (Lee Gellis 36′, Christopher Antoniadis 77′)
Melbourne Victory 3 (Brady Quinn 45+1′, Yazid Said 69′, Maker Maker 85′)
Melbourne Victory: Majak Mawith; Andrew Visciglio (So Nishikawa), Benjamin Carrigan (c), Aaron Anderson, Luke Goulding; Maker Maker, Brady Quinn; Brandon Lauton (Nicholas Sette (Thierry Iradukunda)), Nicholas Hatzigeorgiou, Yazid Said; Jack Palazzolo.
Victory is back at home in Round 20, hosting Altona Magic at Epping Stadium on Sunday, July 8.