VPL Report: Fast start secures third straight win

Two goals in the first 15 minutes proved decisive for Melbourne Victory on Sunday afternoon, as they held off a stern challenge from Brunswick City to win 2-1.

Team News

Head Coach Joe Palatsides made just one change to the team which defeated Werribee City 4-1, as Kayne Razmovski returned to the XI, taking the place of Fabian Monge.


Sunday’s game was set to be a high-quality affair, with both teams coming into the contest in a strong run of form.

Victory was hunting a third straight win, as well as the prospect of extending their lead on top of the VPL1 ladder.

Joe Palatsides’ team could hardly have made a better start, securing an advantage within the first 10 minutes.

A defensive error was pounced upon by Eli Adams, who made no mistake with his finish into an empty net.

A perfect start at home, but Victory would double their lead just minutes later.

A swift attacking move saw Linus Bourke’s cross pick out Jesse Hoey on the edge of the area, whose subsequent shot caught a deflection, helping it past the Brunswick goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

2-0 ahead before 15 minutes had been played, Victory had put themselves in pole position to bag another three points.

However, Brunswick was not going to accept defeat so easily.

Just before the half-hour mark, the visitors pulled one goal back thanks to a slick counter-attacking move.

Brunswick even thought they had an equaliser just minutes later, but the offside flag offered a reprieve for Victory.

Brunswick was again a whisker away from levelling the score in the final attack of the half, but the crossbar ensured Victory would head into the break with their 2-1 advantage intact.

The second half was a tamer affair, with the interval having seemingly taken some of the edge off the game.

Palatsides utilised his bench as the game entered its final 20 minutes, bringing Victor Muhindo into the contest alongside Tommaso Minutoli, who was making his first senior appearance of the season.

Victory was increasingly threatening on the counterattack as the second half progressed, with Brunswick forced to commit more numbers forward in search of an equaliser.

Jack Mihailidis was also brought into the game for the final 15 minutes, replacing Luka Kolić.

Victory’s defence continued to hold firm as the final whistle approached, with several key interventions from Josh Inserra and Matt Bozinovski, as well as some important contributions from goalkeeper Daniel Graskoski.

Damien Bozinovski and Dimi Palatsides were the final substitutes brought into the game, as the hosts looked to see out the final few minutes.

Despite five minutes of injury time, Victory was successful in holding out for the three points, 2-1 the full-time score.

A hard-fought win at home against a game opposition sees Victory end the day seven points clear at the top of the table.

Head Coach Joe Palatsides’ post-match thoughts

On the performance:

“I thought we controlled the game at the start. In fact, I thought we dominated. Then it just turned on us a bit.”

“We’ve got a philosophy that we want to play all the time. Sometimes, the best decision is not to keep trying to force things to happen.”

“Credit to Brunswick – they’re a good team. They’ve only lost one game this year (before today) for a reason.”

“The fact that we held on was really pleasing to see. It’s the whole team that keeps putting pressure on, keeps getting back.”

“Overall, pleased to have gotten the three points.”

On withstanding extended periods of opposition pressure:

“It’s probably an experience that we need.”

“Last year we dominated the majority of games and weren’t always put under that amount of pressure.”

“The fact that our boys can hold up under that pressure is great. It’s a really important learning curve for them.”

“We’ve conceded four goals after nine games. I think our defence has been excellent. Part of that is the players and their resilience, being able to soak up that pressure even when we’re not playing our best.”

On the tough run of upcoming fixtures:

“We’re looking forward to those challenges.”

“We’ve played some good teams up to now as well, even if the opposition haven’t always gotten results.”

“I’m looking forward to our boys responding. I wouldn’t be surprised if we put in some really strong performances over the next three or four weeks.”

Next Up

Victory hit the road next Saturday 20 April, as they head to Lawton Park to take on promotion rivals Langwarrin, kicking off at 3:00pm.

VPL1 2024 Round 9

Melbourne Victory 2 (Adams 9′, Hoey 13′)

Brunswick City 1

Melbourne Victory U23s starting XI: Daniel Graskoski (GK), Linus Bourke, Josh Inserra, Matt Bozinovski, Kasey Bos, Kayne Razmovski, Alex Menelaou (c), Luka Kolić, Jesse Hoey, Adem Duratović, Eli Adams