Victory extends lead at top of table with big win over Kingston City
By: JAMES WILLOUGHBY (@jwilloughby26)
Photo: GRAEME FURLONG
Melbourne Victory has extended its NPL 1 East lead to three points after George Howard led them to a 7-0 trouncing of Kingston City on Monday night.
Darren Davies' side entered the clash just goal difference ahead of Eastern Lions, and Kingston, a point further adrift in third, appeared to offer a significant test.
But five goals in the first 39 minutes set up Victory's big win - their seventh in a row - as Howard, captain Joey Katebian and John Maclean all finished with doubles. Nicholas Glavan netted the other goal in a simply superb performance.
It took just six minutes for the game's first goal, with Kingston goalkeeper Fraser Maclaren only able to parry a cross from the excellent Howard towards Katebian. The in-form forward bundled in - via the crossbar - and it set the tone for a one-sided evening.
Howard doubled their lead in the 18th minute when he ended a sweeping move by sliding in at the back post to tap in Kieran Dover's cross and, after Victory goalkeeper Lucas Spinella did well to keep out Kingston's Sean McIlroy, Maclean got in on the act.
He stole the ball from Nicholas Stamatiou inside the penalty area and then beat two players before firing into the bottom-right corner in style.
Kingston had another chance to pull a goal back but Stelios Konstantinidis could not direct his header on target after a long ball caused a brief moment of panic in the Victory defence.
And Victory made Nick Tolios' side pay, as Katebian produced a composed finish for their fourth before Howard capped another superb team move with the goal of the night when his first-time effort went in off the post.
Maclaren kept Maclean out on the stroke of half-time but Victory did not ease up after the break. Instead, they quickly added two more goals, with the first coming from Glavan, slotting home from a tight angle after being played in by Howard.
Maclean then got his second, firing past Maclaren to make it 7-0 before the hour-mark.
The goals dried up from there, but, impressively, Victory's pressing and work-rate did not, as Davies' men made it seven wins from eight matches this season.
Melbourne Victory 7 (Katebian 6', 35', Howard 18', 39', Maclean 28', 57', Glavan 54') defeated Kingston City 0 at The Grange Reserve
Melbourne Victory: 1. Lucas SPINELLA, 19. Nicholas GLAVAN, 3. Milos RIDESIC, 5. Damien MISKULIN, 2. Tom LAKIC (18. Christian CAVALLO 61'), 6. Stefan NIGRO, 8. Anthony DUZEL, 10. Kieran DOVER (13. Patrick AVICE 64'), 17. George HOWARD, 9. Joey KATEBIAN (4. Pierce WARING 50'), 11. John MACLEAN
Unused Subs: 20. Wyatt CHANT, 14. Reece CALDERCOURT
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Kingston City: 1. Fraser MACLAREN, 2. George STAVRIDIS, 4. James KARVELIS, 5. Nicholas TEICHMANN (3. Kemal CURAN 46'), 6. Nicholas MODAFFARI, 7. Benjamin OSEI-SAFO, 8. Deniz SABANOVSKI (19. Andrew DOIG 51'), 9. Sean MCILROY, 11. Stelios KONSTANTINIDIS, 14. Damian IACONIS (17. Laurent CORALIE 68'), 16. Nicholas STAMATIOU
Unused Subs: 18. Gino DEFEO, 13. Douglas LINDBERG
Yellow Cards: Karvelis 36'
Red Cards: Nil