The False 9: Round 12 - Victory must start winning again

If Melbourne Victory aren't genuinely worried about the potential their current run of outs has to ruin their chances of making it back-to-back A-League championships, they are kidding themselves.

Melbourne Victory

False 9: Round 12 Source: Getty Images

Before this stretch of four straight losses and a draw began, Victory were on top of the competition table with a game in-hand. Now they are fifth, nine points behind leaders Western Sydney Wanderers and seven behind second-placed Brisbane Roar. All 10 teams have played 12 games.

We're almost at the halfway mark of a 27-round regular season and that will be followed by a short finals series that stretches over just three weekends and is heavily weighted towards the first and second-placed teams.

In the three seasons since the current finals format was introduced, the top two teams have both made the grand final every time.

Granted, three seasons is not a big sample size, but the top two teams get the first week of the finals series off and then play at home in the second week. That is a huge advantage and one even a team like Victory wouldn't want to battle against.

The first half of the season was when Victory would have wanted to bank a lot of competition points that they might need during the potentially difficult times when their schedule becomes more crowded due to AFC Asian Champions League commitments beginning in late January.

But they have failed to do that, collecting just one point from the last 15 available. Whatever it is that is stopping them from being the ruthless team they normally are, they need to fix it. Now.

That just happened!

As if we needed any further evidence that goalkeeper is the loneliest position on the field, Glen Moss proved it playing for Wellington Phoenix against Adelaide United on Saturday night.

Craig Goodwin's shot from a distance was low and moved a bit in the air, but Moss should have made a regulation save of it and he would be the first to admit that. But, unfortunately, he didn't get his body behind the ball and it went through his hands and into the back of the net.

False 9's advice to Moss is to listen to his long-lost brother, Ian, from Cold Chisel, and move on. Goalkeepers will drive themselves mad if they dwell on things.

"Saturday night's already old . . . "

What does an Albanian salesman sell exactly?

A dive for a penalty, according to Perth Glory goalkeeper Ante Covic.

Covic and Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha have had run-ins before, when Covic was playing for Western Sydney Wanderers and Berisha for Brisbane Roar, and they came together again when Covic was yellow-carded for allegedly bringing Berisha down in Sunday's game.

After the game had ended in a 1-1 draw, a still seething Covic said: "I got a yellow card and a penalty against me for absolutely nothing. You can get the honesty from me or you can ask the Albanian salesman and get his version."

How did that feel?

Not real good when it's your sixth loss in a row, your ninth in the 12 rounds to date and you haven't won since round one.

After the 4-1 loss to Sydney FC on Saturday, Central Coast Mariners captain Nick Montgomery appealed to the team's fans to come out in force for the home game against Wellington Phoenix on New Year's Eve as the shell-shocked outfit tries to bounce back.

"We need the fans now more than ever," Montgomery said.

"This season was going to be a transition. We started the season well, with some good performances, and confidence has dropped a little bit now.

"We've got a young squad and, you know, that's going to affect a lot of the young boys, but there are some good lads here and they're getting stronger mentally.

"We'll dust ourselves off and work hard this week and we'll go to the Wellington game full of confidence and hopefully with a good crowd and get three points, which we desperately need."

Tweet, tweet #1

Maybe a mince pie or two at Christmas, but no mincing of words by ex-Central Coast star Danny McBreen about another loss by his old team, this time against Sydney FC.

Tweet, tweet #2

Those jokes inside the Christmas crackers are really corny, and sometimes very hard to understand!

Tweet, tweet #3

Central Coast Mariners can't win anything at the moment, not even the coin toss, or the Christmas cracker pull!

Hair today, please be gone tomorrow!

Points to Shane Stefanutto for being willing to try something different, but out of the many hairstyles he has had over the years the tiny man bun the Brisbane Roar defender has recently been sporting takes the cake, or whatever it is you award bad haircuts.

Are his teammates not having a word to him about it, or is he just not listening?

Brisbane Roar

Can't wait for

Bruce Djite to score his next A-League goal. No doubt Djite can't wait either. The big fellow has never been a heavy goal-scorer, but for a striker his current run of outs is getting a bit ridiculous.

Maybe he can end the drought and ring in the New Year with a goal and a win when his Adelaide United team play Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium on Friday.

Wanderers was the last team Djite scored against, in round 18 last season on February 21. Adelaide won 2-1.

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5 min read
Published 29 December 2015 at 7:29pm
By Greg Prichard