Pondeljak praised by coach

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick had no hesitation in nominating Tom Pondeljak as his man-of-the-match after he saw the veteran midfielder score his first goal for the club against Central Coast on Friday night.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick had no hesitation in nominating Tom Pondeljak as his man-of-the-match after he saw the veteran midfielder score his first goal for the club against Central Coast on Friday night.

Pondeljak produced a spectacular volley to bring his side level with Central Coast after the visitors took an unlikely lead 33 minutes into the clash.

It was left to Archie Thompson to fire home the winner for Victory in the second half, but Merrick said it was the goal of Pondeljak that kick started it for his team.

"I thought Tommy was man-of-the-match tonight," Merrick said after the 2-1 win.

"His work rate and his goal were first class. He was attacking and defending. He has become a major part of our side and he did a great job tonight."

The man himself was thrilled to score against his former team, but gave plenty of credit for the goal to Thompson after the striker set him up superbly at the top of the box.

"I got my toe to it and flicked it over to Archie and I thought he was going to go on with it and have a shot, but to his credit he popped it back over for me," Pondeljak said.

"I didn't have too much time to think. I had to hit it first time and it turned out well."

While Pondeljak may have been Merrick's man-of-the-match against Central Coast, there were plenty of his team-mates that performed admirably throughout too and could easily lay claims to that honour.

Michael Theoklitos, Kevin Muscat and Rody Vargas marshaled a well organised defence, while Grant Brebner, Ney Fabiano and Thompson looked composed for the majority of the match.

Nick Ward, Leigh Broxham and Carlos Hernandez also contributed well when they were introduced into the game in the second half and Merrick will have plenty of selection headaches when Melbourne tackles Wellington in New Zealand next weekend.

With so many attacking options in Melbourne's side, Pondeljak knows that he will have to keep his head down and continue to work hard if he wants to hold on to his starting spot.

"I was obviously happy to get on the scoresheet and play my part in the game tonight and it might guarantee me a start next week," Pondeljak said.

"But we have got some great players coming back from injury and fitness and you are going to have to be on top of your game in any game you play to try and keep your spot for the following week."

"That is all you can do and that is all Ernie asks from us."