Melbourne Victory defied being a man down to record a brave 2-0 victory overr Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday
|By STEVE ORME
Melbourne Victory overcame an early red card to Sam Gallagher to record a gutsy 2-0 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium.
The Victory were reduced to 10 men in just the 16th minute when Gallagher was given his marching orders for dragging down Dino Kresinger on the edge of the penalty box.
Despite spending the rest of the opening stanza on the back foot the visitors hit the front in the 44th minute via an own goal from Michael Beauchamp.
Ange Postecoglou's men struck again on the hour when Archie Thompson scored on the counter attack to double the advantage.
The Wanderers peppered the visitors' goal in the final half hour but couldn't breach the Victory defence and suffered their second straight loss at home.
The win lifts the Victory to fourth spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder while the Wanderers could finish the weekend out of top six depending on other results.
Shinji Ono's audacious shot from halfway in the third minute was as close as either side came to an early goal in an even start to the encounter.
Momentum swung the hosts' way when Gallagher was sent off in his debut appearance for the Victory.
Ono flicked a clever ball in behind for Kresinger who won the race to the ball when Gallagher appeared to trip over his own feet after some initial contact from the Wanderers striker.
A desperate Gallagher made contact with the Wanderers striker on the edge of the penalty box and referee Ben Williams immediately produced a red card.
Ono narrowly missed the ensuing free-kick as the Wanderers started to dominate the undermanned Melbourne side.
Mark Bridge had a gilt-edged chance in the 22nd minute after a clever cross from Aaron Mooy but he bounced his header over the bar from point-blank range.
Ono again came within centimetres of scoring the opener with a free-kick late in the half before disaster struck for the hosts in the shadows of half-time.
Gui Finkler made a rare raid into the edge of the box and fired in a skidding cross that deflected off Beauchamp's outstretched left leg and straight past a helpless Ante Covic to silence the home crowd.
The Wanderers came out swinging after the break and had a spirited appeal for a penalty turned down four minutes in after Adama Traore appeared to handle the ball in the box four minutes in.
Tony Popovic's men continued to dominate general play but it was the Victory who doubled their advantage against the run of play on the hour.
The visitors swooped on a loose pass from Beauchamp and stung the hosts on the counter attack.
Marco Rojas sprinted down the left wing and crossed for Thompson who hit the target from an acute angle to stun the Wanderers.