AIS prove too good

The AIS has staked a claim on third place on the National Youth League table with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.

The AIS has staked a claim on third place on the National Youth League table with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.

Playing in the curtain-raiser to Friday night’s Hyundai A-League blockbuster between the Victory and Brisbane Roar, the AIS settled the contest with three second-half goals including two in two minutes to Ryan Edwards and Jake Barker-Daish.

The visitors, who came into this match in fifth place on the table on 13 points – one place and one point clear of the Victory – were gifted the lead by a first-half howler from Melbourne ‘keeper Sebastian Mattei.

Geoff Kellaway levelled the scores in the 58th minute before the AIS skipped away although a missed penalty by Damir Lokvancic in the 78th minute didn-t help the hosts’ cause.

Kellaway’s hard running earned three corners in the opening 10 minutes for Melbourne, who were the more enterprising early.

Lokvancic fired a warning shot in the 15th minute, an overhead chip that just cleared the crossbar after some good work down the left from David Stirton.

It was 25 minutes before the AIS posted their first shot on goal, a scorcher from distance by Barker-Daish that Mattei parried into the path of Corey Brown.

The ‘keeper spread himself to block Brown’s follow-up effort, but within a minute he would be picking the ball out of the back of the net.

Perhaps Mattei was reflecting on his double save moments earlier as an innocuous looking cross was floated in from the right.

Mattei came, missed it and the ball fell to the feet of a grateful Anthony Proia who couldn’t miss from the edge of the eight-yard box.

The AIS came close to doubling their lead moments later when a lovely cross from the pacy Hernan Espindola cleared Edwards’ head by inches with the goal at his mercy.

The Victory picked up the tempo in the few minutes before half-time when Jake Nakic and Luke O’Dea forced saves out of AIS keeper Paul Izzo and captain Petar Franjic had a header cleared off the line.

Melbourne’s 58th-minute equaliser, when it came, was well-deserved.

Kellaway scooted loose down the right, stopped, turned his defender and sized up the target before blasting the ball into the top of the net from a tight angle.

The goal, however, seemed to sting the AIS into action.

Edwards restored their lead in the 67th minute with a 20-metre blast past a flailing Rani Dowisha who replaced Mattei at half-time.

Two minutes later, the visitors won a penalty when Aaron Peterson was fouled in the box.

Barker-Daish stepped up to the spot and sent Dowisha the wrong way.

The Victory had a chance to pull one back when James Kalifatidis was sandwiched between two AIS defenders, but Lokvancic’s penalty attempt was tipped wide by Izzo.

Edwards applied the coup de grace in the 90th minute with his second for the match, an unstoppable blast from the edge of the area that gave the ‘keeper no chance.

Melbourne Victory 1 (Kellaway 58)
AIS 4 (Proia 26, Edwards 67, 90, Barker-Daish pen. 69)