Archie heads Victory home

Melbourne Victory star Archie Thompson has celebrated his return to the Hyundai A-League by heading home the winner in his side’s 1-0 triumph over Queensland Roar at Suncorp Stadium.

Melbourne Victory star Archie Thompson has celebrated his return to the Hyundai A-League by heading home the winner in his side’s 1-0 triumph over Queensland Roar at Suncorp Stadium.

Thompson, in his comeback match after serving a two-week suspension for swearing at a referee, proved to be the difference between the sides when he made solid connection with the head in the 70th minute to ensure the Victory would enter the halfway point of the season on top spot of the ladder.

Billy Celeski set the goal up for the visitors with a brilliant corner which Danny Allsopp deftly headed on to a surprisingly free Thompson, who made no mistake.

The Roar, as they had done before the goal, still looked dangerous after conceding, but the home side could only create chances, not goals, as Dutch recruit Sergio van Dijk continued to misfire in search of his maiden goal for the season.

With the Roar desperate to find a first win at home for the 2008/09 Hyundai A-League season and the Victory looking to sure up their position at the top of the ladder and welcome back suspended duo Thompson and Ney Fabiano, all the ingredients were there for a striking match to take place.

Sure enough, the Victory brought their attacking style of play to the table and 12,022 fans were on hand to watch a free-flowing, end-to-end, entertaining game of football.

Regrettably for most of those fans despite the pulsating nature of the contest, the result continued the Roar’s dire form at home.

Queensland have now claimed just one point from five encounters in Brisbane this season and are now on a four-match losing streak at home, the worst in the club’s Hyundai A-League history.

Roar coach Frank Farina was left to lament his side’s inability to find the back of the net and revealed that he would look to alter his misfiring strike force.

“Again, generally I was pretty pleased with the performance, but not pleased with the inability to finish, and that in a nutshell is our problem at home at the moment,” Farina said.

“We’ll just keep trying different players, we got to change. At the moment, the reality is all the goals are coming from our midfield, so we’ve got to try new players.”

After starting the match positively, the Roar suffered a major blow in the 29th minute when veteran enforcer Danny Tiatto was forced to leave the field with a bruised left foot.

David Dodd’s entrance failed to halter Queensland’s momentum and they almost broke the deadlock when Rody Vargas went within centimeters of conceding an own goal after some creative play by Matt McKay.

The play triggered a lift in tempo in the match and minutes later Massimo Murdocca pleaded with referee Peter O’Leary for a penalty after clashing with Michael Thwaite in the box.

But the official was having none of it, and it was the Victory who pounced quickly, transferring play and winning a corner which Fabiano headed past keeper Liam Reddy, but into the crossbar.

The match, which was already being played at a feisty pace, kicked into gear as both defences found themselves under siege as missed opportunities flowed rapidly at both ends of the field.

Perhaps the greatest of which came in the 45th minute when Fabiano again made solid connection with a header, this time for it to be well stopped by Reddy.

Both sides started the second half well, but it was the visitors who were able to create the best chances and the match started to open up at the 60th minute mark and it seemed only a matter of time before Melbourne would break the game open.

Fabiano looked likely in the 61st minute when he produced an excellent curling shot from a free kick, which Reddy had to make a diving, fingertip save to block.

There were then cries from Allsopp of a handball from Dodd and a sizzling strike from Celeski that smashed into the side bar before Thompson sealed the gutsy win.

The Roar fought valiantly in search of an equaliser, and while van Dijk and substitute Michael Zullo came close, in the end the visitors were able to hold on for the win.

Queensland Roar 0
Melbourne Victory 1 (Thompson 70′)

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Crowd: 12,022
Saturday 8 November 2008
Referee: Peter O’Leary