Victory open account
Melbourne Victory has ground out a 1-0 win over a vastly-improved North Queensland Fury at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night.
Melbourne Victory has ground out a 1-0 win over a vastly-improved North Queensland Fury in Townsville on Saturday night.
Victory's Archie Thompson slotted his first goal of the season in the final moments of the first half after a pin-point long ball from Adrian Leijer. The home side's Dyron Daal had a chance to level up the scores in the 89th minute when he was left one-on-one with the goalkeeper but was denied by Glen Moss.
It was a telling moment in the game as the Fury looked the better of the two for most of the night, creating multiple opportunities but it was the Victory who had the polish and pounced when given the chance.
North Queensland coach Ian Ferguson was happy with his side-s improvement but disappointed with another loss which leaves them winless after three rounds.
"I thought we done enough to try and get something of the game," he said.
"A draw would have been a better result."
"I have always said I would like us to be competitive and I thought tonight we were."
"I felt the boys for about 77 minutes did really well in the game, you are never going to dominate for the 90 minutes."
"The most important things for us is that I can work with the nucleus of this team that we had today and we can work with the cohesion to get the balance right."
"But I hate siting here saying there are a lot of positives in the game but no three points."
Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick said he was pleased to walk away with three points after a struggling start.
"We didn't play good football the first half hour, we couldn-t string a pass together," he said.
"A credit to the North Queensland Fury, they really closed us down and a lot of time in our own half."
"It was one of those you had to grind out."
"You have a game like this you have to grind it out and have to keep a clean sheet."
North Queensland threw plenty of players forward but could not capitalise on early opportunities. Shane Stefanutto pulled the trigger in the first minute from left of the goal box only to be denied by a diving save.
The homeside wasted four corners with poor crosses and an inability to keep the ball in the box.
Robbie Fowler had a free kick from 18 yards in front after a handball by Leigh Broxham but could not turn it into points.
Melbourne struggled to find momentum in the face of physical defence which allowed limited space and time in attack.
Tom Pondeljak slithered through the midfield with a dribble but his pass to the striker was cut off.
Leijer then drove the ball long to the floating Thompson for him to slot the 45th-minute goal.
North Queensland continued to enjoy the bulk of the possession after the break.
David Williams had a crack but his shot was diverted off the legs of a defender.
He would challenge later in the game with a stunning run that began from inside his own 18-yard box.
Rostyn Griffiths had a golden chance on the back of a long ball from Daniel McBreen but despite having time to take the ball on his chest and slot it pass the goal keeper he went with a wayward header.
Melbourne started to find its groove with several through balls finding their target.
Thompson was gearing up to knock in his second until a last ditch sliding tackle from John Tambouras dislodged the ball.
Thompson continued to threaten and found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper Paul Henderson but was denied.
Daal then used his large frame to barge past defenders but wasted the opportunity by firing the shot straight into the goalkeeper.
North Queensland Fury 0 Melbourne Victory 1 (Thompson 45) Crowd 6,514 at Dairy Farmers Stadium