AIS overpower Victory

A goal just before full-time has handed the AIS a vital 3-2 victory over the Melbourne Victory in their National Youth League clash at the Deakin Football Stadium.

A goal just before full-time has handed the AIS a vital 3-2 victory over the Melbourne Victory in their National Youth League clash at the Deakin Football Stadium.

The Victory, yet to register a point so far this NYL season, looked on course for at least a draw in this match as they twice lead through goals from Luke Jeggo and an AIS own goal, only to be pegged back on each occasion, first through Jacob Melling and then Bright Appiah.

But just as it seemed the visitors would hold on for an unlikely draw, James Field popped up four minutes from time to steal a spirited come-from-behind win for the home side.

And it was an important one to with the AIS moving up to 12 points heading into the Christmas break, just one behind the Central Coast Mariners who currently occupy sixth position.

For the Victory it was another story of heartbreak with little to show for a whole-hearted effort, particularly in the first half, only to fall short at the death.

"They (Victory) probably had the better of the first half but we came back in the second and it was an important win for us," AIS coach Phil Stubbins said.

"We passed the ball a lot better after the break and put them under pressure and got the goals."

"Bright Appiah came on at half-time and made a big difference for us and changed the game."

Victory, who decided to leave experienced stars Grant Brebner, Jean Carlos Solorzano and Tom Pondeljak back in Melbourne, stared the brighter and took a deserved first half lead through Jeggo.

The sustained pressure on the ball by Melbourne's youngsters was making life difficult for the AIS to get into their passing rhythm and they struggled to create any worthwhile opportunities.

But there was nothing the Victory defence could do about Melling's equaliser, with the youngster picking the ball up in midfield before unleashing a rasping drive from 30 yards out that flew into the top corner of the net.

That goal - and the introduction of Appiah at the break - seemed to click the home side into gear but found themselves behind again early in the second half when they were hit on the counter attack, with the ball ending up in the back of the net off an AIS defender.

But they were soon level when Appiah capped off an impressive display with a goal, before Fields completed the comeback four minutes from the end.

The NYL takes a break now until the New Year with the AIS next in action when they host league leaders Perth Glory on January 7, while the Victory's next game is in Melbourne against Newcastle a day later.

AIS 3 (Melling, Appiah, Field) Melbourne Victory 2 (Jeggo, own goal)