Back in Melbourne Victory’s first season I watched them play four consecutive matches at home and not score a single goal. Last Sunday’s match was worse than that. I have watched Melbourne Victory lose a penalty shootout in a Grand Final. The feeling after last Sunday’s match was worse than that. Last year I watched Melbourne Victory lose the first ever Melbourne derby. Last Sunday’s result was worse than that.
Never have I seen a Melbourne Victory side look so disjointed as it did against Perth Glory. Two weeks ago with nine men against the Brisbane Roar, the Victory showed a spirit not shown in a long, long time. At the time both players and coach labelled the result as a “turning of the corner” and so if we are to continue the driving analogy then Sunday’s effort has to be called a “massive U-turn” that has sent us completely in the wrong direction. It was a result in the end that inevitably cost Francis Awaritefe his job as Director of Football.
The result in many respects flattered the home side with a slightly controversial sending off and a just plain wrong penalty giving the Victory both a man and goal advantage that they didn’t really deserve. When Danny Allsopp made it 2-0 it felt like a hollow lead, although not it seems to the person in the South End who thought it necessary to throw their bourbon and coke into the air, most of which seemed to land on me. Not only was I feeling disheartened about the team’s performance on the pitch but now I also smelt like someone who had just had a big night at the now defunct 21st Century Dance Club.
Even with a two goal advantage it never actually seemed that Melbourne Victory were in the game and when Andrezinho curled in that well-taken free kick it seemed only a matter of time that Perth Glory would eventually grab an equaliser. And with three minutes left in normal time that man Shane Smeltz popped up with the winner after some pretty lax defending left him unmarked at the back post. It was disappointing rather than surprising.
The result left Melbourne Victory in seventh position with only eight points and whilst many have been quick to point out that they are only three points behind second placed Central Coast Mariners it is more the manner in which the team has played so far this season that has many fans calling for the head of coach Mehmet Durakovic with his efforts in the post-match press conference not doing a whole lot to instill any confidence. It’s not just the team isn’t winning, it’s that it doesn’t actually look like winning.