A late goal to Jamie De Abreu was enough to condemn Melbourne Victory to a 2-1 loss to Port Melbourne at Epping Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Wyatt Chant came into the starting eleven in the absence of regular number one Lucas Spinella, while Joey Katebian lined up for the final time as captain.
Melbourne settled well, looking very comfortable on the ball early on. It nearly culminated in the opener, when Katebian’s free kick failed to bend back far enough to make its way inside the left upright.
Instead, it was the visitors who struck first, courtesy of Jamie De Abreu’s sweet strike. Coming in board from the right, Port’s number 7 slid it across Chant and into the corner.
It didn’t take long for Victory to respond though, with a mesmerizing buildup down the right causing Port a serious problem. John Maclean’s tantalising ball was volleyed onto the crossbar by Katebian, before Jordan Brown pounced to toepoke home the equaliser.
Both sides pressed in search of its second of the day to no avail in the remaining minutes of the opening stanza.
The hosts did come close to breaking the deadlock eight minutes after the restart when it embarked on a menacing counter-attack.
Katebian eventually played through Maclean at the near post, who was denied by the boot of the Port custodian.
Melbourne began to assert its dominance and almost had Michael Holden to thank for two goals. He followed up an initial shot on target with a pinpoint cross to Katebian, who saw it skim off his head and over the bar.
Port weathered the storm and made its next chance count at the other end. It was De Abreu once again who was there, squeezing the ball beyond Chant after the latter kept out his initial effort.
Katebian had an opportunity to bring Victory level at the death, but it wasn’t to be as his chip glided marginally wide.
Victory is on the road next week when it travels to Bulleen in its next PS4 NPL Victoria match on Monday, June 13.
Earlier, Victory’s under-20 team were unforgiving against Port, scoring eight times to no response.
Melbourne Victory 1 (Brown 23′)
Port Melbourne 2 (De Abreu 18’/79′)
Melbourne Victory 8 (Shabani 4′. Paola 16’, Sette 18’/61′, Hidic 22’/55′, Kelic 45′, Radziminski 51′)
Port Melbourne 0