Youth League: Victory play out entertaining draw

Melbourne Victory have fought back from two goals down to force a thrilling 2-2 draw with the Newcastle Jets in their Round 16 NYL fixture.

Melbourne Victory have fought back from two goals down to force a thrilling 2-2 draw with the Newcastle Jets in their Round 16 National Youth League fixture at Magic Park on Saturday morning.

First-half strikes to Radovan Pavicevic and Kale Bradbery gave the home side a 2-0 lead at the break before a double to Victory striker Anthony Proia saw the teams share the points in an entertaining contest.

Both sides started brightly with early chances to Connor Pain and Brandon Lundy before the Jets opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a well-engineered move.

Newcastle midfielder Michael Kantarovski claimed possession in the midfield and advanced play quickly up the park before pushing a ball through for Bradbery who crossed into the box for Pavicevic to bury his shot from 12 metres out.

Melbourne had their chances in the first half. Pain saw his goal-bound shot take an unfortunate deflection off Jets defender Connor Chapman before spraying his follow-up attempt wide of the target.

Shortly after, Proia saw the ball snatched from his feet by Jets midfielder Andrew Pawiak just as he was about to shoot.

Pawiak came to Newcastle’s rescue again when Pain escaped on the counter and fed a pass to an unmarked Chris Cristaldo who was dispossessed in a lovely sliding tackle from Pawiak.

Down the other end Bradbery was causing the Victory defence plenty of problems with his pace and skill on the ball. He saw his 35th minute angled shot saved by Melbourne goalkeeper Keegan Coulter before he headed a Beaudon MacDonald cross into the post.

Bradbery eventually got his goal right on the stroke of half-time when he fired a low skimming shot from the edge of the box that Coulter bobbled before watching helplessly as the ball trickled over the line to give the home side a 2-0 lead at the break.

Newcastle almost extended their lead immediately after the interval when Pavicevic and then Bradbery had shots that narrowly missed the far post.

The Victory clawed themselves back into the contest with a well-taken goal in the 49th minute. Proia pulled down a long-ball then cleverly turned inside the area and firing a cannon-like shot that took a deflection off Chapman before beating Ben Kennedy at the near post.

Both sides made a host of changes around the hour mark with Victory midfielder Luke Prelevic having the biggest impact when he threaded a lovely ball through a crowded penalty box for Proia to turn and slot his second of the morning to level the scores 10 minutes from full-time.

Both sides had late chances to win the match with Victory substitute John MacLean seeing his deflected shot skim narrowly wide of the target before Bradbery had his low left-foot shot pushed around the near post in a fine diving save by Coulter.

Newcastle Jets 2 (Pavicevic 13, Bradbery 45+1)

Melbourne Victory 2 (Proia 49, 80)

Newcastle Jets: 1. Ben Kennedy (GK) (20. Andrew Pearce 60min), 2. Nic Cowburn, 3. Connor Chapman (capt), 4. Thomas Whiteside, 5. Ben Hay (14. Joshua Murray 57min), 6. Andrew Pawiak, 7. Beaudon MacDonald (12. Luke Willard 55min), 8. Michael Kantarovski, 9. Kale Bradbery, 10. Radovan Pavicevic, 11. Brandon Lundy (13. Rhys Cooper 57min)

Melbourne Victory: 1. Keegan Coulter (GK), 2. Christian Cavallo, 3. Milos Ridesic. 4. James Karvelis, (19. Luka Prelevic 58min), 6. Jordan Brown, 7. Chris Cristaldo, 8. Luc Jeggo (Capt), 9. Anthont Proia, 11. Connor Pain, 12. Anthony Duzel (5. John MacLean 58min), 13. Damien Miskulin (14. Stefan Nigro 58min)

Unsed Substitutes: 20. Gian Tapia (GK)