Victory fall to GCU

A 45-minute spell from Archie Thompson, his first action in eight months, wasn't enough to guide Melbourne Victory home as they went down to Gold Coast United 1-0 at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

A 45-minute spell from Archie Thompson, his first action in eight months, wasn't enough to guide Melbourne Victory home as they went down to Gold Coast United 1-0 at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Melbourne dominated much of the match and would've leapfrogged Gold Coast into fourth with a win but will be left to rue a first half of missed chances and a Rody Vargas own goal, which was all that separated the sides.

Vargas suffered the unenviable fate of heading into his own net when an Adam Traore cross on 55 minutes proved too much for him to handle. There was nothing 'keeper Michael Petkovic could do about the unfortunate finish which came during the only brief period of attacking pressure from the visitors.

Thompson managed to play out the second half unscathed in what was a major plus, and he acquitted himself well in his first outing in some time.

As expected, Victory held all the early possession with Gold Coast seemingly content to absorb the pressure and attack on the break.

The menacing Carlos Hernandez controlled a lovely dinked chip in the box on nine minutes, providing the game's opening chance.

Jason Culina manned a quick free kick in the 15th minute but it didn't stop Kevin Muscat curling in an early ball to wreak havoc in the Gold Coast penalty box as the Victory continued to press.

Hernandez was starting to make a real impression, getting in behind the holding midfielders on numerous occasions while Robbie Kruse - in hot form having scored in his passed four outings - had his own curled shot saved at the far post.

Dugandzic was set free just before the half hour mark but blasted over and when Kruse's free header was inexplicably glanced away from danger when he was free in the centre of the six yard box, you sensed that maybe luck wasn't on Melbourne's side.

That certainly looked to be the case when Culina took advantage of some lax defending from Grant Brebner only to poke his shot inches over the crossbar when clear through on goal.

Ben Halloran was showing Surat Sukha up for pace on the right and was Gold Coast's only real contributor in the first half. The crowd fell flat when his late shot hit the net but unfortunately for him it was only the side-netting.

After dominating much of the first half for no reward, Victory received a huge boost when Archie Thompson was introduced at the restart.

To the delight of the crowd he was brought on a little earlier than many expected, for his first action since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in last season's grand final loss to Sydney.

That excitement soon dissipated in the 55th minute though as Traore charged down the left for the visitors just as the tide was beginning to turn.

His teasing cross proved too much for Vargas who fired a pin-point diving header into his own net with United striker Joel Porter lurking behind.

Ernie Merrick responded immediately, bringing on Marvin Angulo for defender Adrian Leijer and the diminutive midfielder had a great chance to make an early impression.

Kruse lobbed a ball to Thompson and he flashed a cross behind the defence with the goal beckoning. The diving Angulo needed only the slightest of interventions but couldn't get a boot to it.

Kruse saw his shot from outside the box go narrowly wide, and a late scramble in the box could've granted Victory the point they more than deserved.

Despite that and four minutes injury time, Gold Coast held on for an unlikely win on a disappointing night for Victory.

Melbourne Victory: 0 Gold Coast United: 1 (Vargas 55og) Crowd: 15,534 @ Etihad Stadium