Match Report: Melbourne Victory 1-1 Western United – Points shared in Melbourne derby

Jerry Skotadis Western United

Western United and Melbourne Victory played out a 1-1 draw at AAMI Park on Wednesday night in a tough and fierce Melbourne derby encounter.

Nikolai Topor-Stanley opened the scoring early on in the second half after a tense opening 45 minutes before United looked like it was going to hold onto another 1-0 win.

Jamie Young was immense in goal with a number of important saves, but he couldn’t keep out a Brendan Hamill equaliser in the 85th minute as the sides ultimately shared the points.

Team News

John Aloisi made just one change to his starting XI after the defeat against Sydney FC at the weekend, with Topor-Stanley coming in at centre-back due to a suspension to Leo Lacroix.

First Half

Western United made a positive start to the match, looking lively in possession and creating the first chance of the match when Steven Lustica drew a strong save from Ivan Kelavan in the 8th minute.

United nearly bundled the ball in from a resultant corner, maintaining the pressure on the home side early doors.

John Aloisi’s side had a setback within the first quarter of an hour when Josh Risdon appeared to roll his ankle. The right-back managed to soldier on for another 10 minutes, but eventually passed the captain’s armband to Topor-Stanley and came off for Jerry Skotadis.

The remainder of the half went by largely without any action as Victory controlled most of the possession, but United’s defensive structure kept them at bay and was able to limit any possibility of chance creation.

That was until right on the stroke of the interval when Victory had an enormous chance to go in front. United failed to clear a set piece and the ball fell perfectly for Francesco Margiotta in the box, but the Italian thumped his shot into the crossbar.

Second Half

The second half needed a spark and it got one immediately, with Nikolai Topor-Stanley nodding home his first Western United goal.

The stand-in captain reacted expertly to head home from close range after Connor Pain had flicked on a Lachie Wales corner just two minutes after the restart.

United had a slight period of control after that but Melbourne Victory quickly got their foot on the ball and began to dictate the play.

Marco Rojas was a constant threat for the home side, finding pockets of space on the right-wing and drifting all the way across the front third to stretch the United defence.

Young made a number of brilliant saves, including two from Rojas to fling himself in the air and push the Kiwi’s efforts off target.

United was able to break forward on the odd occasion and had a couple of half chances to add a second goal, with Wales having one in particularly that was deflected just over the bar from point blank range.

For all of the heroics of Young and the United back four, the visitors just couldn’t manage to hold on as Victory found the leveller with five minutes to go.

Victory were able to break down their left-hand side and Jason Davidson pulled the ball into a dangerous area in the box, allowing Brendan Hamill to tap home.

United then actually had the better of the final stages going in search for a winner, but there wasn’t one forthcoming as both sides had to settle for a point.