Own goal gets it done for Gold Coast United in Melbourne
A 55th minute Roddy Vargas header into his own net was the difference as Gold Coast managed to hold their own at the Victory’s fortress, Eithad Stadium, to exact revenge on the only team to have beaten them so far this season.
United got the reward for a stoutly defensive effort, led by ex-Victory defender Michael Thwaite, with the win allowing them to push four points clear of tonight’s opponents and create a breakaway for the league’s top four.
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Referee: Peter Green
Yellow cards: MV - nil
GCU - Glen Moss 84', Adama Traore 90+4'
It was an even opening with both sides enjoying some quality time on the ball although the Victory were slightly wasteful in going forward.
Gold Coast were looking dangerous on the counter with striker Joel Porter and youngster Ben Halloran (who incidentally made his only other A-League appearance off the bench against the Victory earlier this season) appearing most threatening.
The mid-stages of the first half had both sides feeling each other out before in-form Victory striker Robbie Kruse tested his former teammate Glen Moss, now in Gold Coast’s goal, with a long range shot in the 20th minute.
The Victory were again close moments later when Carlos Hernandez played a through ball to fellow midfielder Tom Pondeljak in a dangerous position inside the box but as he advanced on goal, Anderson made a strong challenge to deny the home side on the last line.
Teenager Halloran was looking very lively for the visitors as Hernandez, Kruse and Dugandzic were slowly becoming a handful for the second-gamers defensive teammates down the other end.
Gold Coast skipper Jason Culina almost made the most of a defensive error in the Victory third when he attempted to chip goalkeeper Michael Petkovic in the 36th minute but it was not to be as the first half ended with few chances of any consequence.
The second half saw the arrival of Melbourne’s favourite son, Archie Thompson, who came on for his first match after eight months out with a knee injury and his presence got the Etihad Stadium crowd up and about although it was the visitors who made the early running with a few close chances in the first few minutes.
GOAL The 55th minute saw Gold Coast hit the lead when Adama Traore made a run down the left before delivering a neat cross into the area in search of Joel Porter but the ball was met with a decisive header from Victory defender Roddy Vargas for an own goal much to the dismay of his teammates and the crowd.
Thompson was starting to become a handful for United’s defence and almost provided the Victory’s leveler when he played a tidy ball to the back post but substitute Marvin Angulo was surrounded by too many opponents to gain a clear path to the ball.
Melbourne pushed increasingly hard for an equalizer with Kruse letting fly with his left foot in the 83rd minute, making Moss work hard to cover his goal, but they were unable to bridge the gap as Miron Bleiberg’s men were ecstatic to grab a win on the road and take their unbeaten streak to eight matches.
Michael Petkovic (gk), Kevin Muscat, Mate Dugandzic (Thompson 46’), Surat Sukha (Broxham 70’), Grant Brebner, Roddy Vargas, Billy Celeski, Tom Pondeljak, Carlos Hernandez, Robbie Kruse, Adrian Leijer (Angulo 60’)
Subs - Sebastian Mattei (gk), Archie Thompson (46’), Marvin Angulo (60’), Leigh Broxham (70’)
Glen Moss (gk), Steve Pantelidis, Michael Thwaite, Dino Djulbic, Zenon Caravella, Anderson (Rees 81’), Jason Culina, Bas van den Brink, Joel Porter (Harold 59’), Adama Traore, Ben Halloran (Robson 64’)
Subs - Jerrad Tyson (gk), Chris Harold (59’), Robson (64’), Kristian Rees (81’)