VPL Report: Victory go two from two with Preston win

Melbourne Victory made it two consecutive wins to begin their 2024 VPL1 campaign, securing an impressive 2-0 win away at Preston Lions on Friday night.

Team News

Head Coach Joe Palatsides made just one change to the side which began the season with a win against Northcote City, bringing Dimitri Palatsides into the starting XI in place of Fabian Monge.


A huge crowd packed into BT Connor Reserve for what was sure to be a Friday night blockbuster early in the VPL1 season.

Victory made a bright start to the contest, threatening the Preston goal on a handful of occasions in the first few minutes.

The hosts though soon settled into the game, leading to a more even affair.

Chances began to dry up at either end, with both sides looking relatively comfortable in their defensive shapes.

However, Marc Petheriotis soon lit up the contest.

A superb solo run on the right wing ended in a deflected shot from a tight angle, with the deflection lifting the ball above the onrushing goalkeeper and just inside the far post to open the scoring.

A determined effort from the winger which combined with a bit of fortune to give Victory a vital lead just over 30 minutes into the contest.

The rest of the half was effectively seen out by Victory, with strong defensive showings from centre-half pair Josh Inserra and Matt Bozinovski helping to keep things tight at the back.

However, another major turning point arose just minutes before the interval.

A poor challenge on Kasey Bos led to a red card being shown to Preston’s Dom Folino and ensured Victory would also head into the second half with a player advantage.

The second half was even more tightly contested than the first.

Jesse Hoey created Victory’s most promising attack early in the half, skipping past a defender before firing a shot which rolled narrowly wide of the post.

Preston’s best chance came from a free-kick on the edge of the area just before the hour mark, which similarly flew just wide of the post.

However, soon after Preston’s opportunity, Victory pounced to double their lead.

Jesse Hoey was the catalyst, winning the ball back in the middle of the park before charging into the Preston half.

Hoey and Alex Menelaou exchanged passes during the run, ending with Hoey once again in possession just inside the penalty area, before the winger clinically finished the chance.

A 2-0 lead with half an hour to play, Victory had put themselves in a commanding position.

Joe Palatsides took the opportunity to utilise his bench, bringing on Damien Bozniovski and Victor Muhindo in the immediate aftermath of the goal.

He returned to his bench in the final 10 minutes of the 90, when Jordan Hoey made his debut in the senior team by replacing twin brother Jesse Hoey.

Victory were content to sit deep as the second half progressed, looking to keep hold of their 2-0 advantage.

The final substitutions came in injury time, with two more senior debuts handed to Nikolas Cevizović and Will McIntosh.

Ultimately, Preston were unable to find a way back into the contest as Victory secured another impressive win away from home.

Two wins from two for Palatsides’ team, who have come out firing for the 2024 VPL1 season.

Head Coach Joe Palatsides’ post-match thoughts

On the performance:

“I was really pleased with the performance.”

“You never really know how you’re travelling until you play some of the big teams away from home.”

“To see us control that first half – I just thought it was a great result to see our boys stepping up to that challenge.”

“Not just the result, but the way we played and the maturity we showed tonight, I think they boys did really well.”

“One thing that we did say to the boys after the game is is that it’s a great result against a really good club, but let’s not get carried away thinking that the job’s done.”

“It’s about consistently putting in these performances and consistently getting better.”

On the impact of the new additions to his team:

“Marc Petheriotis, Jesse Hoey, Nikolas Cevizović, Jordan Hoey, all these boys have come in from our under-18s group”

“We’re very young and people don’t always understand that.”

“The way they’re performing and the maturity they’re showing, the way they’re growing as footballers and people – at the moment we’re really pleased with the way that they’ve progressed.”

“It’s an exciting time.”

On the support from the club hierarchy:

“It was great to see the Chairman and Caroline Carnegie at the game and coming to see the boys after the win.”

“It was great to see how everyone higher up is so invested in our youth program.”

On looking ahead to next week:

“We’ve got a ten day break which is good for the boys, we can give them a bit of a rest.”

“We won’t change too much in the way we play and hopefully what we do in terms of the way we play as a team gets better and better as the year goes on.”

“Bentleigh we’re expecting to be a really tough challenge next week.”

Next Up

Victory play their first home game of the campaign next Monday night when they welcome Bentleigh Greens to John Cain Memorial Reserve, kicking off at 8:30pm AEDT.

VPL1 2024 Round 2

Preston Lions 0

Melbourne Victory 2 (Petheriotis 32′, Jesse Hoey 63′)

Melbourne Victory U23s starting XI: Ahmad Taleb (GK), Josh Inserra, Kayne Razmovski, Kasey Bos, Alex Menelaou (c), Adem Duratovic, Matt Bozinovski, Luka Kolić, Dimitri Palatsides, Jesse Hoey, Marc Petheriotis