NPL report: Victory 2-2 Western

Melbourne Victory came from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Western United in the NPL 3 Victoria on Saturday.

Summary

Lleyton Brooks cancelled out Manyluak Aguek's opener in the first half at Epping Stadium, but Victory was reduced to 10 players when Steven Havales was sent off early in the second.

Ayom Majok put Western ahead, only for Victory to equalise through William Wilson's late strike.

Victory goalkeeper Marko Bulic made a fine stop to push away Seb Pasquali's sixth-minute effort from 20 yards.

However, he was beaten by Aguek's long-range strike as Western took the lead approaching the half-hour mark.

After Matthew Bozinovski put a Jack Morton set-piece wide, Victory drew level through Brooks just prior to the break.

Brooks got on the end of a clipped pass from Morton before firing a great strike past Western goalkeeper Charlie Emery from an angle.

However, Victory was reduced to 10 players shortly after half-time as Havales picked up a second yellow card.

After Adem Duratovic headed a Morton corner just wide, Western restored its lead, Majok finishing in a one-on-one with Bulic.

Luca Da Silva saw a long-range effort go wide for Victory before Duratovic hit the post from inside the area in the 71st minute.

Victory found an equaliser through Wilson, who volleyed in from just inside the area in the 89th minute.

There were late chances for a winner for both sides, with Da Silva denied by an excellent Emery save from close range.

General Manager – Football Drew Sherman's post-match thoughts

"It was a well-earned and deserved point against a strong Western United team today who had a fair number of A-League rostered players featuring due to the postponement of their game this weekend. To play with a man less for essentially half the game and emerge with a draw shows a real grit and togetherness, the type that's required if these young players are to move forward and forge careers. We're really pleased with that today, and the boys can be proud of themselves. 

"I felt not only did we remain compact and stayed in structure during the second half but actually had control of the game without the ball for large periods which isn't easy to do. Their opening goal is a bullet from more than 30 metres out and their second was a bit of a gift from a really sloppy throw-in that we took. Aside from that, we limited them to half-chances really and in honesty probably had the better opportunities to win the game on the counter-attack, Duratovic hits the post, Da Silva has a couple of shots narrowly wide and one cleared off the line at the death. 

"It's important to establish a habit of being hard to beat and that comes from individuals doing their basic tasks and working for the good of the group. Our next game is a tough one for us against Preston Lions, but we will certainly take confidence from today and aim to remain unbeaten after three matches."

NPL 3 Victoria 2021 Round 2
Melbourne Victory 2
(Lleyton Brooks 42', William Wilson 89')
Western United 2 (Manyluak Aguek 26', Ayom Majok 58')

Melbourne Victory: Marko Bulic (gk); Edmond Lupancu, Steven Havales, Matthew Bozinovski (c), Aisen Ishak; Luca Da Silva, Jack Morton, Brandon Lauton; Lleyton Brooks, Ryan Lethlean, Gianluca Iannucci.
Used subs: Gianluca Iannucci, Thomas Lambiris, William Wilson.

Under-21s

Victory beat Western United 3-2 in the earlier game.