Victory grit out win over Wanderers
Ten-man Melbourne Victory overcame a controversial first-half send-off to secure a gritty 2-0 win over Western Sydney at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night.
The Victory, already without star playmaker Marcos Flores through suspension, looked in for a tough night after defender Sam Gallagher was shown a red card just 16 minutes into his first A-League game for the club.
But the Wanderers failed to make their numerical advantage count, with captain Michael Beauchamp having a night to forget.
The centre back's own goal just before halftime gave Melbourne the lead and he was at fault again as Archie Thompson doubled the visitors' advantage in the 60th minute.
It was a valuable win for Ange Postecoglou's side, given the circumstances, and they climbed into equal third on the table with a third win in four games.
The Victory looked unlucky to be reduced to 10 men in the first place.
Wanderers striker Dino Kresinger appeared to have fouled Gallagher from behind but play was allowed to continue.
Kresinger then broke on goal before being brought down by Gallagher just outside the box and referee Ben Williams produced a red card without hesitation.
Shinji Ono fired the resulting free kick just wide and Western Sydney tried hard to get on top before the break.
But the nearest they came was a close range header by Mark Bridge in the 22nd minute that was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Victory goalkeeper Nathan Coe.
Instead the home side went into halftime behind, after Beauchamp accidentally turned the ball into his own goal while trying to clear a dangerous Gui Finkler ball.
The Wanderers put Melbourne under some pressure early in the second half and were perhaps unfortunate not to get a penalty after Adam Traore appeared to hand-ball in the box.
But again they conceded against the run of play when Socceroos striker Thompson struck.
Beauchamp coughed up possession on the halfway line, allowing Marco Rojas to streak downfield and find Thompson with a deflected pass.
Although Coe was forced into action a couple of time as the Wanderers chased the game, the Victory held their lead well from then on.