AIS grind down Victory

The AIS came from two goals down to beat the Melbourne Victory 3-2 in their National Youth League match at the AIS Athletics Track on Saturday afternoon.

The AIS came from two goals down to beat the Melbourne Victory 3-2 in their National Youth League match at the AIS Athletics Track on Saturday afternoon.

A Jesse Makarounas double and an impressive debut from 15-year-old Riley Woodcock saw the AIS claim a win which looked highly improbably after the Victory dominated proceedings early and lead 2-0 after only 19 minutes.

But a purple patch from injury time in the first half to 20 minutes after the break saw the AIS score three unanswered goals and break Victory hearts.

The Victory were rewarded for their strong start when Damir Lokvancic received a fine long ball close to goal and in space, evading the retreating AIS defence and hitting a low shot past an outstretched Aaron Lennox.

The AIS were then left reeling minutes later when Lennox failed to contain a shot which spilled to Luke O-Dea to finish.

The game opened up as the AIS tried to work their way into the game and the Victory tried to land the killer blow.

Makarounas had the AIS- best chance in the 26th minute, taking the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box, evading traffic and shooting just past the left corner and Yianni Perkatis also went close late in the half with a solid volley just off target.

The Victory then had two chances to extend their lead after Damir Lokvancic came close with a curling free kick in the 40th minute which was denied by a diving Lennox, before Kellaway had his strong shot tipped over the bar.

But it was the AIS who scored in the last minute of the half, Patrick Dixon receiving a throw in, turning his man and finding Makarounas on the back post for an easy header.

The AIS gained confidence from their goal and came out in the second half a much-improved unit.

They nearly levelled within minutes, Milos Degenek going for goal with a long range free kick which Victory goalkeeper Rani Dowisha tipped into the crossbar.

They did not have to wait much longer though, debutant Woodcock dashed down the left and put in such a good cross that it hit a running Makarounas in the chest and went in.

Jeggo nearly got the Victory back in front when his free kick near the corner missed a host of players and nearly curled in.

Then it was the AIS who went close, a header bouncing to replacement forward Hernan Espindola who failed to capitalise with his shot.

Moments later the AIS had the lead, another fantastic Woodcock cross was tapped in by Ryan Edwards from point blank range and all of the sudden the AIS were in front.

To their credit the Victory fought tooth and nail to get back on level terms, coming closest when Lokvancic just missed the bottom right corner with another classy long range free in the 75th minute.

AIS 3 (Makarounas 45+1, 53, Edwards 64) Melbourne Victory 2 (Lokvancic 13, O-Dea 19)