VPL Report: Unbeaten run comes to an end

Melbourne Victory suffered their first defeat of the VPL1 season on Sunday, falling narrowly short against Northcote City.

Team News

Head Coach Joe Palatsides made two changes to the XI that drew 4-4 with Western United, as Kayne Razmovski and Ahmad Taleb made their returns to the starting lineup.


A cold and wet afternoon in Melbourne’s north made for uncomfortable conditions in what was another crucial clash between promotion rivals in VPL1.

Victory seized control early in the game, dictating the tempo and dominating possession.

However, it was Northcote who landed the first blow.

A clinical bit of attacking play saw the visitors take the lead with effectively their first foray forward of the afternoon, just prior to the tenth minute.

Victory though were quick to respond, as a lovely passage of combination play in midfield between Alex Menelaou and Luka Kolić set away Jesse Hoey, who finished cooly past the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.

However, Victory’s joy was short-lived.

A turning point in the game arose just after 20 minutes played, when Kolić was sent off for a handball on the goal line, reducing Victory to 10 players.

The subsequent penalty was also converted, putting Northcote 2-1 ahead and with a numerical advantage.

The scoreline remained unchanged for the remainder of the half, with Victory requiring a monumental effort in the second 45 to turn the game around.

Joe Palatsides’ team remained competitive in general play throughout the second half, although the back four and Ahmad Taleb in goal were required to make a number of key contributions.

Kayne Razmovski made a vital goal-line clearance not long before the hour mark, whilst Eli Adams continued to look threatening at the other end of the pitch.

Marc Petheriotis, Tommaso Minutoli, Damien Bozinovski, Jack Mihailidis and George Karvounis were all introduced into the game as the second half progressed, as Victory continued their hunt for a second equaliser.

Ultimately, however, rescuing a point proved to be a bridge too far.

A spirited second half showing with 10 players, but a first defeat of the season for Victory.

Head Coach Joe Palatsides’ post-match thoughts

On the feeling after the game…

“Everyone’s pretty flat.”

“The law of averages says at some point you will lose a game at some point, but it’s still disappointing.”

“Even though we conceded an early goal, I thought we controlled most of the game and we equalised with a great goal.”

“Unfortunately, a penalty and a red card totally changes the balance of the game.”

“Bit disappointing, but I can’t fault the boys’ effort.”

“Even with 10 men, Northcote didn’t score any more goals. We knew there would be one or two moments that we could capitalise on and those moments came, but we just weren’t good enough to make it count.”

“We can put this behind us as of tomorrow and start preparing for another tough game next week.”

On the response to going down to 10…

“There was always going to be an advantage to Northcote in terms of the way the game played out.”

“But there were moments where we looked in control even with 10 men.”

“It was more about taking our chances in those decisive moments.”

“The players worked really hard, their effort was of a really high standard. I’ve got nothing but praise for the players and the way they conducted themselves in the game.”

On looking ahead to next week…

“I think this can rejuvenate us a bit as well.”

“We’ve got enough depth of young talent to cover the loss of Luka Kolić for next week.”

“It’s always a big game against Preston. It’s a top of the table clash and I think that can probably bring the best out of us.”

Next Up

The big games keep coming for Victory, who will host Preston Lions next Monday night at John Cain Memorial Park in a top of the table clash, kicking off at 8:30pm.

VPL1 2024 Round 14

Melbourne Victory 1 (Hoey 17′)

Northcote City 2

Melbourne Victory U23s starting XI: Ahmad Taleb (GK), Dimi Palatsides, Josh Inserra, Matt Bozinovski, Kayne Razmovski, Alex Menelaou (c), Fabian Monge, Luka Kolić, Jesse Hoey, Eli Adams, Adem Duratović