Melbourne Victory’s imperious away record in the Hyundai A-League has been spoilt by a classy first-half strike from Dyron Daal at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Sunday night.
Melbourne Victory-s imperious away record in the Hyundai A-League has been spoilt by a classy first-half strike from Dyron Daal at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Sunday night.
The solitary goal by the North Queensland striker was only the second time the Victory goal has been breached in 450 minutes of football, ruining the almost flawless defensive record of an in-form Victory defence.
The Fury’s 6th win of the season proves even more significant given they jump both Adelaide United and the Wellington Phoenix into eighth spot and keep alive their slim finals chances for Season 2009, while the Victory slip-up allows Sydney FC to move to outright top of the Hyundai A-League ladder.
The home side was on the front foot as early as the first minute of play when Daal found himself in space down the right side but his ambitious early cross took a wicked deflection off Victory defender Roddy Vargas and fell safely for Melbourne custodian Mitch Langerak to gather securely.
Langerak again looked cool under pressure when some smart link-up play between Robbie Fowler and Jeremy Brockie allowed the latter to blast powerfully towards home but the young Victory ‘keeper was up to the task with an easy collection.
A passage of solid possession soon followed for the home side with another opportunity presented to Brockie in the 10th minute after Matthew Kemp failed to negotiate a defensive clearance however the Fury striker could only afford to deliver his shot into the waiting arms of Langerak.
It was then the visitors- turn to put the Fury on the back foot when skipper Kevin Muscat delivered a brilliant through ball for the run of Robbie Kruse who was causing headaches for a stationary Fury defence.
If it wasn-t for a timely charge from ‘keeper Pasfield, Kruse could have created a gilt-edged chance for the ladder-leaders.
An unfortunate deflection from Roddy Vargas almost resulted in the opening goal for the home side when a confident half volley from outside the penalty box by journeyman Grant Smith caught the Victory defender and flew just wide
Slowly but surely however, the Fury were working their way into the contest and on 29 minutes, Robbie Middleby picked out Jason Spagnuolo with a wonderfull threaded through ball which found it’s way into the path of Brockie inside the area but the shot on target was well smothered by an honest Langerak.
It took a sublime piece of skill from the two Fury strikers to finally get one past a desperate Victory defence in the 30th minute.
Marquee signing Fowler found himself in space down the right side before delivering a ball of unnerving skill and clinical precision to Daal who chested down the pass and struck it low and hard to beat Langerak to the right side from the top of the penalty area.
It was almost 2-0 for the Fury soon after when a corner from Fowler dropping into the path of Matthew Smith, who failed to bury the ball with the goal at his mercy.
The Victory then showed the steel they are known for, dominating posession over the next 10 minutes.
The visitors were unlucky not to draw level when a Sutee Suksomkit corner curled to the back post to find Nicky Ward, who only managed to head wide.
Entering the second half with their hopes renewed, the Victory should have squared the ledger at 1-1 as Thompson sprinted into space in the left side of the area but smart keeping from Pasfield enabled the angle to be reduced and the Victory’s leading scorer could only power his shot into the- keepers arms.
It was then the home side’s turn to dominate general play which resulted in a host of shots on target, none more threatening than a running volley from Daal on 59 minutes who was shut down at the last moment by a late sliding tackle from Adrian Leijer which forced a last ditch corner for the visitors to contend with.
Sixty-three minutes in, Fowler was rewarded with a peach of a cross from Brockie which the ex-Liverpool stiker hit with venom but the shot was well wide at the back past with Langerak well beaten.
The Victory weren’t done with however and maintained the rage on the Fury goal however their best chance of the second half fell to Muscat who drove an inviting free kick towards home which was scuffed clear by a desperate Tadrosse in the 79th minute, drawing some stern words between both skippers with Referee Green forced to intervene.
North Queensland was set on finding the one further goal that would put the game to bed however its concerted efforts on goal late in the half were to prove elusive as Melbourne stepped up its intensity in defence to leave the deficit at a single goal.
North Queensland Fury 1
Melbourne Victory 0