Archie just getting started

Archie Thompson hopes his 50th A-League goal will be the first of many this season following his return from knee reconstruction surgery.

Archie Thompson hopes his 50th A-League goal will be the first of many this season following his return from knee reconstruction surgery.

The Melbourne Victory striker was playing in just his fourth match of the 2010/11 campaign on Saturday night and struck in the 19th minute against Wellington Phoenix to cancel out Tim Brown’s opener.

The A-League’s all-time leading scorer was also involved in the superb build-up to Robbie Kruse’s simple tap-in five minutes before the break which put the visitors 2-1 up only for a late Paul Ifill equaliser to hand Wellington a share of the points.

“The more I play the more confident I feel,” Thompson said after becoming the first player to reach the league’s half-century.

“Obviously it was disappointing we couldn’t get the three points but it was good to get on the score sheet.”

“Now I’ve scored a goal I hopefully can get on a run. It’s good just to be back again and playing the football we have been playing the last couple of weeks.”

Kruse’s goal came after a passage of play that saw Victory string a host of passes together that stretched the Phoenix defence.

Thompson eventually picked out Billy Celeski on the right and his cross found Kruse who poked it home.

“Being part of that second goal and watching how it unfolded …usually we can play that football but not have the end product,” Thompson said.

“To finally do that, the confidence will keep building within the team and hopefully we can carry on from there.”

While there were positives for Ernie Merrick to take out of the performance – not least the continued improvement Thompson and Kruse have shown since their return to the side – it was tempered by the disappointment at not taking all three points.

“When our midfield fires they do really well. It was good to see a finish on the end of it (for the second goal),” Merrick said.

“Our two strikers Robbie and Archie are back and they both scored a goal, both did their jobs but I just thought defensively we were a bit slack towards the end of the game.”

“We lost control of the midfield when they threw numbers forward and we have to punish a team when they do that. Robbie went all the way through then kicked it over the bar.”

“I’m pretty happy with the performance overall just disappointed by the final result.”

Merrick will be without Adrian Leijer for next Friday’s clash with Brisbane Roar after the defender collected his fifth yellow card of the season, while Grant Brebner was nursing a sore leg following a heavy challenge from Vince Lia.

“He’s got a shocking mark on his shin,” the coach said.

“I think we had two boys booked (Leijer and Marvin Angulo) for I’m not sure what, but nothing happens to a guy (Lia) who makes a tackle like that and I can’t understand that.”

Surat Sukha and Matthew Kemp will play for the youth team on Sunday and are likely to come into contention for the game against the Roar.