| PHOTO: Jim Webster |
The Melbourne Victory were too strong for the Melbourne Heart in the Melbourne Youth Derby this afternoon at SS Anderson Reserve as the Victory did the double of the Heart this season.
The Victory were quick off the blocks and took a comfortable 3-0 lead into the break through goals from Luke O’Dea, Jesse Makarounas and an own goal against the ten men Heart who had Skipper Josh Groenewald sent off in the first-half.
Stefan Mauk then added a consolidation goal, but Heart were never in the contest.
The win keeps Victory three points off the leaders, the Central Coast Mariners, while the Heart are a further five points a drift.
Both sides started well looking to push for an early goal and they both created good chances, but Kobbie Boahene was denied brilliantly by Alastair Bray, before Mauk hit his effort directly at Victory ‘keeper Luke Radonich.
The Victory, though, quickly raced to a three-goal lead.
Connor Pain continued his sensational form with a nice cutback that found O’Dea. The Victory Skipper then thumped his strike into the top corner past Bray.
The second came via the left side as well, as Pain skinned Ersin Kaya and sent in a drilled cross. Unlucky for the Heart Will Abbott slide in and fired into the roof of the net past his own goalkeeper.
Four minutes later the Victory made it 3-0 as Makarounas, in his first Victory appearance, found the bottom corner with a great low finish from the edge of the area.
Abbott’s afternoon didn’t get any better as the defender was forced off with injury shortly later.
Heart’s dismal first-half continued as Groenewald was given his marching orders for a strong challenge on Pain.
The Victory were in control and still were creating opportunities, but with Mauk again impressing for the Heart the Red and White cut the margin to two.
Mauk beat two defenders and bounced a strike nicely into the bottom corner.
Credit to the Victory who pushed despite the clash being all but determined as substitute Francesco Stella failed to hit the target, while Theo Markelis forced a good save out of Bray.
Bray was clearly Heart’s best of the afternoon making a string of fine saves including a wonderful save to deny Stella in stoppage-time.