NPL preview: Victory v Whittlesea

Melbourne Victory looks to bounce back when it faces Whittlesea Ranges in the NPL2 West on Sunday.

Summary

Victory has suffered back-to-back defeats, including going down to Brunswick City 2-0 in its previous outing.

Captain Benjamin Carrigan, 20, was sent off for a handball in the third minute and while Victory battled, it went down at Epping Stadium.

Goalkeeper Branko Skocic, 20, made his second penalty save of the season in the defeat, with Victory unable to capitalise on some promising moments in transition during the second half.

The result left Victory seven points off sixth place in ninth ahead of facing Whittlesea, which is eighth.

Victory has seven matches remaining this NPL2 West season, with four of those at Epping Stadium.

It last met Whittlesea in March, recording a 4-2 win thanks to a Jack Palazzolo hat-trick and Jack Morton free-kick.

Head coach Gareth Naven's pre-match thoughts

"I know we progress well through the halfway line into the middle third area, we've been working hard this week in how we get better at hurting teams when we get in those positions in wide areas or through the middle where we create more goalscoring opportunities, either from a cross or a shot. I'd like to think that we have a good focus, a good intensity about us and to be honest, against Brunswick last week, with a team with one man down, I thought we stayed in the fight well.

"We lacked a bit of quality in regards to creating some opportunities for ourselves to get some reward from it. I thought our attitude and our focus, considering that we lost Ben Carrigan early, and reviewing the match this week, saw some good things, but also saw some things that we are regularly making mistakes in regards to set-pieces, conceding a corner, free header in the box, these things we visit all the time and we want to get them right all the time and it's not as though we don't know how to get them right.

"Our young players need to understand that it's important that any crosses come in, we try and stop crosses all the time and we're really focused and have some intensity about ourselves, we need to be intense when that's starting to happen and these things we've covered all during the year and it's things we can't forget, we must remember. So, the message to the players is remember what we do in our structure, in defence and attack, remember how to stop crosses, remember how important it is to hurt teams quickly when we have the opportunity and remember that we've always got to stay in the fight and believe in the processes we're doing in training and week to week."

This week

NPL2 West 2019 Round 22
Melbourne Victory v Whittlesea Ranges
Sunday, July 21, 3.00pm AEST
Epping Stadium, Melbourne

U20 NPL2 West 2019 Round 22
Melbourne Victory v Whittlesea Ranges
Sunday, July 21, 12.30pm AEST
Epping Stadium, Melbourne

U18 NPL West 2019 Round 20
Moreland City v Melbourne Victory
Sunday, July 21, 1.00pm AEST
Campbell Reserve, Melbourne

U15 NPL West 2019 Round 20
Moreland City v Melbourne Victory
Sunday, July 21, 11.00am AEST
Campbell Reserve, Melbourne

Last week

NPL2 West: Victory 0 Brunswick City 2
U20 NPL2 West: Victory 1 (Hamakiotis 6') Brunswick City 2
U18 NPL West: Victory 4 (Anastovski 20'/31', Duratovic 38'/72') Ballarat City 0
U15 NPL West: Victory 4 (OG 4', Theodorou 44', Rallis 48', Kapaklis 67') Ballarat City 0