NPL wrap: Eastern Lions 1-2 Victory

Melbourne Victory returned to winning ways in the NPL2 West, beating Eastern Lions 2-1 in a hard-fought encounter on Saturday.

Summary

Jonathan Vakirtzis scored a stunning early goal for Victory at Gardiners Creek Reserve, but his strike was cancelled out by Daniel Aye.

But Victory found a late winner through Pierce Waring, who struck in the 88th minute.

The win marked Victory's first in four games and came after a huge battle in Burwood.

Victory was handed the perfect start by its captain Vakirtzis.

The full-back scored with a stunning 35-yard strike to give the visitor an early lead.

However, the Lions responded approaching the half-hour mark with a similarly spectacular effort.

Aye created space on the left before unleashing a superb strike into the top corner from 30 yards.

The battle continued in the second half, Victory needing a strong save from Matthew Sutton to deny Shaun Kenny in the 81st minute.

Victory struck in the closing stages, finding a winner through Waring with two minutes remaining.

The forward found space inside the area before firing a strike into the bottom corner for his fourth goal of the season.

Head coach Gareth Naven

"It was very challenging today for the group, physically demanding. The effort in the first half was OK but I asked for more effort in the second half and I thought they produced that definitely. I thought how we used our technique, we need to get better at it. Teams are really aggressive inside their strong side so we've just got to try move the ball quicker out of areas where there are small spaces because it makes it easy pickings for the opposition in regards to getting closer to us so we definitely need to improve moving the ball out of those pressure areas when we win the ball and even so in just general play but I thought they fought very hard today.

"You could tell on their faces they were doing their best and I sort of emphasised that it's important our effort is strong every week and the first half it was strong and I think in the second half it was stronger. They should be very happy. Of course there were maybe too many mistakes, but we can fix that, they know that can fix it and I'm just happy for them that they got some success today."

Under-20s

Victory's under-20s extended its unbeaten run to five with a 2-2 draw against Eastern Lions.

NPL2 West 2018 Round 10
Eastern Lions 1
(Daniel Aye 25')
Melbourne Victory 2 (Jonathan Vakirtzis 4', Pierce Waring 88')

Melbourne Victory: Matthew Sutton; Andrew Visciglio, Benjamin Carrigan, Cameron McGilp, Jonathan Vakirtzis (c); Thierry Iradukunda, Nicholas Hatzigeorgiou (Aaron Anderson); Brandon Lauton, Birkan Kirdar (Nuh Sehavdic), Yazid Said (Maker Maker); Pierce Waring.

Next week

Victory is back at home in Round 11, hosting the Goulburn Valley Suns at Epping Stadium on Sunday, May 6.