Melbourne City’s Youth will take to the pitch for their final regular season match against the Melbourne Victory in the Y-League Melbourne Derby on Saturday.
City will come into the derby off the heels of their first defeat of the 2017/18 Y-League season, having gone down 3-1 to a previously winless Perth Glory in Perth last Saturday.
A brace by senior listed Glory striker Joel Chianese within the first 10minutes rocked City, who despite pegging one back after 17 minutes were unable to force themselves back into the contest in the remaining 70 minutes of the contest.
A 61st minute effort by Daniel Stynes secured the win for the Glory, and consigned an uncharacteristically sloppy City side to their first defeat since January 2nd, 2017.
Speaking on the game, Y-League Head Coach and Head of Academy Joe Palatsides’ made no excuses for his side:
“It wasn’t our best performance,” he said.
“In particular the first half hour; Perth started the game much better, they dominated possession and we weren’t defending with the right principals.
“It could have been 4-1 [To Perth] in the first 20 minutes.
“We made mistakes on the ball,
“Perth didn’t overly press us – but they did look to pressure us in certain areas and they were successful in that.
“We didn’t hit our targets with our passes which then left us exposed.”
This week’s opponents the Victory will be coming into the contest off a 4-3 win over Adelaide United and unbeaten in their past four games.
A ten-minute hattrick from striker Pierce Waring and a goal to 15-year-old Birkan Kirdar brought the Victory from behind to defeat the Reds in that contest, securing the Victory their third win of the season.
It was the third week in a row that the Victory had been forced to come from behind, and Victory Head Coach Gareth Naven has singled out the opening stages of games as an area his side needs to work on:
"You can't concede, especially if you have the majority of the play,” Naven said.
“We'd like to think we can move towards a more consistent approach and making it really difficult for other teams to affect us early in those games as well."
The last meeting between the two sides produced one of the most lopsided scores in Y-League history, with City defeating the Victory 9-2 back in Round 3.
Coming off a loss however, Palatsides says that his side will not be complacent coming into this week’s contest:
“It’s not about winning the Grand Final, it’s about having players play at their maximum level in every minute of every game and in every training session,” he said
“We’ve addressed that this week and I’d be looking for a much-improved performance this weekend.”
“Even at youth level they’re [Melbourne Derbies] always very intense, there’s usually some good football and that willingness to win and fight to make sure you win this particular game.
We were the better team [In the last Y-League derby between the sides], but that’s probably because we took all of our chances.”
With Academy product Connor Metcalfe recently making his senior debut against the Central Coast Mariners, Palatsides also flagged this weekend’s importance to the A-League aspirations of his players:
“We’re elated as an academy to see Nathaniel doing well, Arzani doing well and now Connor Metcalfe making his debut,” he remarked
“We think there’s another two or three boys knocking on the door as well that are ready to go, and Warren’s [Senior Head Coach Warren Joyce] very much aware of them so he’ll probably be looking at the Victory performance to see who gets another shot at it.
“Because if we pull our minds back to the first game [Against the Victory], that was probably Nathaniel Atkinson’s audition before he played A-League football.”
Foxtel Y-League Round 9
Saturday, 20 January 2018
Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
Venue: Epping Stadium, Epping, Melbourne
Kick-off: 4.00pm AEDT