Archie enjoyed show despite ending

Archie Thompson is used to being mesmerising, not mesmerised, but the Melbourne Victory striker, one of the most highly-regarded players in the history of the Hyundai A-League, admits he was a little star-struck by the way Fulham played in its 3-0 win over Melbourne on Saturday night.

Archie Thompson is used to being mesmerising, not mesmerised, but the Melbourne Victory striker, one of the most highly-regarded players in the history of the Hyundai A-League, admits he was a little star-struck by the way Fulham played in its 3-0 win over Melbourne on Saturday night.

It wasn't the players themselves who made Thompson feel like he was getting a first-hand reminder of the quality of the English Premier League, but the method in which they moved the ball around the field and into attack.

"They are still early in their pre-season, which is bit frightening. I thought we played some good football. It-s just that, that's the difference between A-League and Premier League, they get their opportunities and they put them away," Thompson said after the match.

"Some of those balls from the midfield, and their strikers are always on the shoulder on our defence. Some of those balls into their feet, it was just a pleasure to watch, even from an opposition point of view."

Thompson was hardly playing the role of spectator during the match. In fact for the first 15 minutes, he was the dominant player on the pitch, and could have had a first-minute goal had Danny Murphy, the player who would end up tormenting the Victory with his pin-point delivery for the final 50 minutes of the game, not cleared off the line.

Thompson described Melbourne's performance as respectable in the circumstances and said there were many pleasing aspects.

"I felt like we played good football and to lose against the calibre of side they are is not that disappointing," he said.

"I don-t know, I got a header in the first minute, I think it was Murphy stopped it on the line. I hit the post. I was bit unlucky night. Personally I was happy with my performance, I was happy with the team's performance. Let's not forget, it-s Fulham. They are a Premier League team. Again, we can hold our heads high and it was a good atmosphere."

Coach Ernie Merrick was pleased at Carlos Hernandez's first serious hit-out of the pre-season and said the Costa Rican is getting back to his best.

"There were good signs there. Carlos, on one touch, is the best in the team in turning, along with Archie. Getting forward and attacking people. Archie dribbles, Carlos plays wonderful passes and to get 60 minutes under his belt at that sort of pace was a good sign," he said.

Billy Celeski made his first appearance of the pre-season after recovering from hip surgery, coming on for the final 30 minutes, while Merrick was very happy with the contribution of Thai signing Surat Sukha in his first game with the club.

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