Milligan stars in first pre-season hit-out

Melbourne Victory impressed in their final pre-season hit out, overcoming NPL Richmond SC 3-0 on Sunday afternoon.

In what was a competitive match, Victory set up in their usual attacking style as Archie Thompson lead the line for the first time this pre-season.

It was Kosta Barbarouses who was on the end of the first Victory chance, after an early attacking foray, the ball bobbled out to Barbarouses on the edge of the 18-yard box, but his snap shot could only fly over the bar.

Shortly after new signing Matthieu Delpierre opened the scoring. After a cross-field ball from Jesse Makarounes found Barbarouses unmarked on the right side of the 18-yard box, Barbarouses slid the ball across goal and into the path of Delpierre who tapped it in.

Victory continued to attack and shortly after Makarounas had his own chance as a Thompson found him on the edge of the 6-yard box, but Makarounas’ tame shot was straight at the ‘keeper.

Just minutes later Barbarouses was the next to create a good chance, as a Richmond corner was cleared to his feet, Barbarouses beat the last defender with pace at the halfway mark, dribbled through and managed to chip the ‘keeper, however his shot went wide.

Victory’s second was not far away as Thompson picked up the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box, the veteran slid in the pass to Connor Pain who beat the ‘keeper with a left foot drive from a tight angle.

At this point Melbourne began to control the play, dominating possession in the Richmond half. This began to take its toll as the third goal came just before halftime as Pain played in Makarounas who this time blasted the ball into the back of the net.

Coach Kevin Muscat made a host of changes at half time, with Victory captain Mark Milligan making his first appearance of the campaign.

Victory adjusted quickly to the changes and after dominating the early stages, 58th minute substitute Andrew Nabbout got the first chance of the half from a long ball, but his first-time shot was deflected over the bar for a corner.

Victory’s next best chance came in the 70th minute, when after several Victory attacks a corner found a leaping Thompson whose header forced a good save.

In what became a scrappy second half, substitute Jordan Brown stood out after getting on the end of two Victory attacks in the 75th and 81st minutes, he forced two good saves.

Victory had several other good chances late in the match but couldn’t add any further goals. The game was Victory’s last before they take on Western Australian NPL champions Bayswater City in their first FFA Cup tie.

Melbourne Victory 3 (Delpierre, Pain, Makarounas).

Richmond SC 0