OAKLEIGH Cannons rolled out the red carpet for A-League club Melbourne Victory last night (July 24), unfortunately the Jack Edwards Reserve pitch once again proved inhospitable.
The Victory overcame a sluggish first half to score three second half goals in a 3-0 win with Danny Allsopp, Chris Cristaldo and Luke O’Dea making the scoresheet.
While well over a 1000 supporters surrounded the ground for the match on the bumpy, discoloured playing surface which drew disenchantment from both sides which had to temper their passing due to the uneven roll.
Click on the image below for our gallery of the big game.
Victory coach Ange Postecoglou said his side had shown some improvement but he would have preferred to play on a better surface.
Some in the crowd thought Postecoglou had chosen playing Oakleigh at home so to prepare his side for any poorly prepared pitches during the A-League season.
But he said that wasn’t the case. “That wasn’t it at all, we would have preferred to play on a good pitch,” he said. “The pitch was disappointing.”
Emerging Victory midfielder Jimmy Jeggo was the player of the game for his passing and creativity in midfield, calling on his recent experience playing on the ground while in the Victorian Premier League.
Jeggo’s lofted through-ball set up Allsopp’s opening goal while a few skilful turns and dribbles attracted positive attention from the crowd.
Postecoglu was tempered in his praise for Jeggo, but the number of touches he gathered in the early going showed he would play an important role in the Victory’s fortunes this season.
“Jimmy is a talented player who we hope will have a big season,” Postecoglu said.
Cannons co-coach Peter Zois said he didn’t like to lose but was happy with all of the younger Cannons players who got time on the pitch during the second half.
With the Cannons to visit Richmond at Kevin Bartlett Reserve on Friday night, the majority of their senior side missed the game while others like new signings Casper Andersen played only part of the match.
The Cannons did use the game to get time into duo Ramazan Tavsancioglou and Dane Milovanovic who are both returning from injury. Both got through the game well.
New signing Lambros Honos showed plenty of energy and a few impressive touches during his time on the field setting up several promising attacks.
“All the young guys we put out there tonight did themselves no harm,” Zois said.
“We were taken aback a little on the bench with how some of them were playing; we got to see these young guys in a different light tonight.”
Zois said he would have preferred his side to have an easier week leading into the vital Richmond clash, but he he was happy with the chance to get game time some undone players.
A few crowd members behind the far goal set off a flare midway through the game, much to the disgust of many supporters.