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ALM Match Report: Western United 1-0 Melbourne Victory

Western United A-League Men

Western United scored a huge 1-0 win against Melbourne Victory on Boxing Day thanks to a late first-half header from Josh Risdon.

The skipper leapt to head home at the back post via a James Troisi corner after Nikolai Topor-Stanley had been sent off earlier in the first half.

Victory had chances to find an equaliser late on in the second half but United held firm in defence to secure back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

Team News

John Aloisi made two changes after the win over Western Sydney Wanderers last week, with Risdon returning to his customary post at right-back after completing his suspension.

Connor Pain also returned to the starting XI at left midfield as Nicolas Milanovic and Jacob Tratt dropped to the bench.

First Half

The game began at a high intensity with challenges coming in from both sideas as each team looked to set the tone for the remainder of the contest.

Nick D’Agostino was quick to press Jamie Young in the box and United threatened from a couple of corners early on.

Victory’s No.18 came close again when he latched onto a long ball in behind, but he flashed his shot wide of Young’s goal.

The game opened up around the half hour mark as Bruno Fornaroli fizzed a low shot just wide of the left-hand post before United was reduced to 10 men after Nikolai Topor-Stanley was shown a straight red card.

That added plenty of fire into the contest as D’Agostino and Young had a hefty coming together shortly after before Aleksandar Prijovic had the game’s best chance.

Streaming in behind Victory’s defence, Prijovic was poised to slot past Paul Izzo before a last ditch challenge from Leigh Broxham altered the shot, sending the ball dribbling agonisingly wide of the post.

But United wasn’t to be denied and, despite the numerical disadvantage, hit the lead just before the break.

A deep corner from Troisi evaded everyone in the middle of the box and found Risdon waiting at the back post to leap and nod home via the woodwork, sending the Green and Black into half-time with a 1-0 lead.

Second Half

United continued to hold good spells of possession early in the second half, ensuring Victory’s extra man wasn’t felt on the pitch.

The home side still had plenty of defending to do and did it expertly when needed, but at the other end there remained a threat of further goals.

After a superb run down the left from Ben Garuccio earned United a free-kick, Troisi nearly had the games crowning moment as the ball spilled to him outside the box.

The No.14 hit a spectacular waist-high volley and watched the ball thunder against the post before Victory cleared their lines.

As the game entered the final 20 minutes, Victory began to creep further forward and hold longer spells of possession, pinning United into its defensive structure.

The Green and Black repelled a number of balls into the box, but Victory persisted and had two huge chances to steal a point late on.

The first fell to substitute Stefan Nigro who lashed a half-volley over the bar with the goal gaping, and the second drew an outstanding save from Jamie Young as D’Agostino seemed certain to score with a close-range header.

United ultimately held firm at the back to secure another three points and a second straight 1-0 victory in the Isuzu UTE A-League.