Future star enjoys a Derby night out

Mathew Lowe from Wonthaggi Soccer Club in Gippsland got a fantastic opportunity to meet some of his idols on Saturday at the first Melbourne derby of the 2011/2012 A-League season.

Mathew Lowe from Wonthaggi Soccer Club in Gippsland got a fantastic opportunity to meet some of his idols on Saturday at the first Melbourne derby of the 2011/2012 A-League season.

Mathew was part of the Gippsland Academy of Sport football program and is a keen Victory supporter. He was named as a train-on for the U14 Boys Country state team in 2011, and will once again feature for the Gippsland Knights in the VCL with the U15 boys.

A points system was put in place to reward good behavior throughout the Academy program, and Mathew was the deserved winner thanks to his excellent attendance, commitment, discipline and attitude towards developing himself in all areas of his game. Melbourne Victory wanted to congratulate Mathew on his great achievements this year and were more than happy to donate free tickets to Mathew and his whole family for the A-League's most exciting match.

One of the regular features at the end of many Academy training sessions were full field Heart vs. Victory matches, which among other things was designed to help promote the brand of Australian football and support for the A-League, where many of the Academy players are hoping to play one day in the future. Mathew, who is very polite and quietly spoken, says that his ambition in football is to "make the A-League, and hopefully play for Melbourne Victory because that's my favorite team."

It just so happened that support for Melbourne's two A-League clubs was split almost exactly down the middle, and so whenever numbers permitted, players would line up against each other and put into practice what they had been focusing on earlier in the session, but with a bit more spice and extra motivation to raise the quality of play and enjoyment.

On some occasions when players were away and teams could not be balanced evenly, scenarios were created such as one team playing for 30 minutes with 2 players less but also 2 goals up, and so both teams had to learn to deal with these kind of situations from opposite sides of the scoreboard without compromising playing good football, which was one of the key focuses of the Academy program.

In total 19 games were played, with Victory initially starting quite slowly, but slowly and surely they found their form and eventually came out on top with 8 wins to 6. In total there were 5 draws and Victory also scored 27 goals to Heart's 26.

The most exciting game was easily the last one for the whole program, where a 'winner takes all scenario' was played out for the entirety of the session (except for the warm up) and the intensity of the game was the highest it had been all year.

There was fantastic attacking football on show, some great goals, and even some last minute excitement with Victory coming from behind to secure a 4-3 win in the dying seconds.

"It was great fun to play the Heart vs. Victory games" Mathew said. "The Academy program was really good, I learnt a lot and met new friends".

Melbourne Victory would once again like to congratulate Mathew and all of the Gippsland Academy players, and looks forward to seeing some of them featuring in Victory colors in the near future!