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A-League wrap: Victory take derby spoils

An Archie Thompson goal in the last minute of injury-time helped Melbourne Victory defeat city rivals Melbourne Heart 2-1 at AAMI Park.

Victory led through Marco Rojas’ strike in the 67th minute of Saturday’s A-League clash before Heart skipper Fred levelled and seemingly earned a point for his team with eight minutes remaining.

Thompson then pounced in the final seconds of the game, chipping Clint Bolton and guiding the ball across the line by the narrowest of margins, sparking pandemonium among the Victory supporters.

After a scoreless first half, Victory opened the scoring when Mark Milligan arrived late into the area and sent a pass across the face of goal, with Rojas perfectly positioned to seize on a deflection, picking up the loose ball and guiding his shot beyond Bolton to make it 1-0.

Heart responded by renewing their assault upon Victory’s goal, and were rewarded when fullback Michael Marrone delivered a cross to the centre of the penalty area where Fred, timing his run to perfection, arrived to head unmarked beyond the helpless Coe.

With the clock ticking down it looked like both teams would have to settle for a hard-fought point, but Victory’s livewire duo of Rojas and Thompson had other ideas.

Rojas, a danger all night from wide positions, broke away at pace and played in Thompson, who dinked his effort over Bolton.

The ball clipped the crossbar and post before spinning back into goal and being cleared by Behich.

Confusion reigned as Victory players and staff celebrated wildly, while Heart appealed to the referee, insisting the ball did not cross the line.

Milliner and his assistant had seen enough, correctly awarding the goal and the points to Victory as the conclusion to the Melbourne derby lived up to all expectations.

In other A-League action on Saturday, goals to Craig Goodwin and Emile Heskey saw the Newcastle Jets halt a three-game losing streak with a fighting 2-1 win over Sydney FC at Hunter Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Jets looked the hungrier of the two sides and started brightly with goals to Goodwin and Heskey inside the first half hour.

Sydney were forced to attack on the counter relying primarily on marquee man Alessandro Del Piero after midfielder Brett Emerton succumbed to an injury after just 30 minutes of play.

The Italian superstar almost turned the game for the visitors when he played in Yairo Yau for a goal against the run of play just after the half-hour mark.

But the Jets managed to wrestle back control of the match in the second half and went on to claim a deserved victory.

The win sees the Jets maintain a spot in the top six while Sydney are still anchored to the bottom of the ladder.

In Wellington, league leaders Central Coast Mariners were held to a 1-1 draw by Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium as Daniel McBreen extended his excellent form.

The league’s top-scorer continued his purple patch with an easy finish for the Mariners in the final seconds of the first half, tapping home his 10th goal from 11 matches after Mark Paston parried Tomas Rogic’s shot.

The Mariners arrived in New Zealand seeking a seventh consecutive win over their hosts and they dominated possession and created more chances until a late surge by the Phoenix.

Wellington’s tenacity finally paid off with seven minutes to play when substitute Ben Totori set up Dani Sanchez with a looping header that eluded Mat Ryan and level proceedings.

Sat 22 December, 2012
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