Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has declared football “went back wards 20 years” in playing at suburban ground North Sydney Oval on Friday night.
Muscat was a vocal critic in the lead up to the clash with Central Coast of playing at the venue, which has a cricket pitch through the middle.
Despite watching his side tear-apart the Mariners 3-0 for their first away win of the season, the Victory boss didn’t back away from his stance the ground wasn’t up to scratch.
“Throughout the week, I only raised the issues because I was genuinely concerned,” Muscat said.
“Football has gone back 20 years tonight, playing on a cricket pitch.
“I have to say the grounds man did a remarkable job getting it in the condition it was in.
“But in this day and age the steps we have taken forward as a code…we have taken a backward step tonight.”
Victory took time to adapt to the greasy conditions but still manufactured a host of good opportunities in a goal-less first half.
A stunning and clinical 11-minute period just after the hour saw goals to Besart Berisha, Daniel Georgievski and Connor Pain iced the result and ensured they remain unbeaten after nine rounds.
“It was a difficult night, especially the first half. It was a bit of an arm wrestle and everyone was getting used to the conditions,” Muscat said.
“Our biggest problem in the first half was not retaining the ball long enough and trying to score with the first pass.
“The second half was good. We worked hard in the first but we showed a little more composure in the second.
“When Archie (Thompson) came inside and Fahid (Ben Khalfallah) went wide it gave a bit more structure. We created a number of chances and scored some good goals.”
The win keeps Victory right on the heels of league-leaders Perth Glory ahead of next Saturday night’s home clash with Sydney FC.