The Victory players celebrating a goal. (Photo: Melbourne Victory)

Melbourne Victory has made it two wins in a row after a superb performance from Melina Ayres saw the reigning champions get their season back on track with a 3-0 win against Perth Glory.

Ayres finished the match with two goals and proved hard to stop in Victory’s front half. It was a solid team performance from the reigning champions after riding the wave of Perth’s momentum across the opening half, the team was able to come home strong.

Victory Goalkeeper Casey Dumont was vital, able to cut off any chance that the Glory had to score, finishing the match with five saves for the match, with three of those coming from inside the box.

The visitors were able to link up nicely in the attacking half which opened an opportunity for a goal from Ayres as well as a strong attempt from Lia Privitelli.

Almost stealing the show was an outstanding goal from Alex Chidiac, kicking the goal from a corner shot. The goal sealed the win for the reigning champions.

Speaking to the media post-match, Melbourne Victory coach Jeff Hopkins said that the message was to find Ayres when going forward after an impressive week on the training track.

“She scored a great goal last week, she trained so well this week,” Hopkins said.

“Just around the goal in the 18-yard box, we did kind of say before the game that when we get forward we really got to try and get the ball in and around her area.

“Get the ball into the box, into the centre and find Melina because you can kind of see she’s back to the form she was in the year before last and the last kind of three games of last year when she came back from injury.

“I’m really pleased for her, she was excellent.”

Hopkins was also pleased with Alana Murphy’s performance as the midfielder controlled the middle for Melbourne.

“Young Alana Murphy was excellent, I thought we shut up shop really well in the second half and just in general it was a step forward from last week and last week was a step forward from the week before,” he said.

“That’s all we’re trying to do at the moment is tidying things up each week and take a step forward and that’s definitely what we’ve done this week.”

Hopkins was pleased with his side’s ability to improve its intensity around the field as well as how his side made the most of the opportunity when Sarah Cain was sent off the field after a foul on Privitelli in the second half.

“I think a few of the things we talked about before the game, improvements from last week in terms of being able to keep the ball in terms of playing with a bit more intensity with and without the ball,” he said.

“We definitely did that today, against quite a strong wind in the first half. I thought we played pretty well. We got ourselves a goal and came into halftime reasonably comfortable although there were a few scary moments when we did give the ball away a little bit too much in the first half, once we played with the wind in the second half and sending off changed the game completely.

“I still felt reasonably comfortable at that time but at one-nill, you never know how it’s going to go but once Sarah [Cain] was sent off we scored straight away which settled us right down and obviously then we were able to take control of the game with the spare player.

“I thought we were passing the ball really well before that most of the time, we were finding a spare player which is what we worked on basically right through the week, that central midfield player trying to find the ball to ‘KK’ [Elise Kellond-Knight] or to ‘Chids’ [Alex Chidiac] or too young Alana Murphy.” 

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From a Perth Glory perspective, it was an interesting match, with the Glory doing well early in the first half to really press the ball into their front half but weren’t able to make the most of their opportunities in front of the net.

Glory coach Alex Epakis was proud of the effort his side put out, with their never say die attitude a highlight, especially after Cain was fouled out of the game.

“I think there’s a lot of ways we can look at it, I want to be really clear, I’m very proud of my team, I’m very proud of my players,” Epkais said.

 “I’m proud of the way we went after the reigning champs, we didn’t want them to come here and have an easy game, we absolutely gave as much as we could to get a result.

“The first half we went in one-nil down but I was still fairly confident that we could turn it around and get something out of the game. Once the red card happened or when the player [Sarah Cain] got sent off and we were down to 10, it was obviously disappointing and came at the worst possible time.

“Where I became really proud is once we went down we didn’t drop tools, we kept going for them we showed a level of togetherness and that’s why I’m sitting here with a level of dignity and respect for the players and what they did today.”

Melbourne Victory will take on the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park while Perth Glory will take on red-hot Canberra United.

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