Jake Brimmer scored twice in the last four minutes against his former club as Melbourne Victory snatched their first points of the season in a dramatic 2-1 comeback win against Perth Glory.
Brimmer had not scored in 60 A-League games for Glory before signing for his hometown team in the off-season and his new side Victory seemed to be heading for a third straight A-League defeat after Bruno Fornaroli put Glory ahead against the run of play in the 62nd minute at AAMI Park.
But the 22-year-old headed his first competition goal in the 86th minute from Adama Traore’s delivery to give the hosts hope, before 16-year-old Perth defender Josh Rawlins was punished for handball and Brimmer grabbed the ball and finished an ice-cool 90th-minute penalty kick to flip the result on its head.
Robbie Kruse, starting his first match in more than a year following a serious knee injury, proved to be Victory’s danger man early on and the Socceroos attacker forced a pair of outstanding saves from Glory goalkeeper Tando Velaphi as the hosts dominated the first 45 minutes.
Velaphi had replaced the benched Liam Reddy in one of five changes made by coach Richard Garcia following Perth’s wild 5-4 loss to Western United, and the 33-year-old looked assured on his first A-League start in almost three years as the Navy Blue controlled throughout but could not find the net.
Fornaroli had Victory reeling when he powered in Carlo Armiento’s pin-point cross but, with star recruits Rudy Gestede and Callum McManaman sidelined, Brimmer stepped up to rescue Victory as Grant Brebner’s side were staring down the barrel of their worst ever start to an A-League season.
Glory were quick to assert themselves on the game with Neil Kilkenny’s set-piece deliveries causing problems. Ryan Shotton was forced to knee the ball back to his goalkeeper under pressure with Bruno Fornaroli and Andy Keogh lurking. Making a comeback to the Victory attack, Marco Rojas threatened with a mazy dribble and another returning forward, Robbie Kruse, was blocked by a fast-reacting Dane Ingham.
Shotton’s sloppy pass almost cost Victory as Keogh lead the counter but a loose touch by Nick D’Agostino meant the chance slipped away. The tempo continued to quicken as Kruse tested veteran gloveman Tando Velaphi – in for the benched Liam Reddy – and the Socceroos attacker Kruse broke away once more, finding Brendan Laughton with a sharp back heel, but the youngster could only whip his strike wide.
Victory’s Jake Brimmer almost put his former club to the sword in the 29th minute from Jacob Butterfield’s cutting through ball but Velaphi was able to punch away the ex-Glory man's effort, before Big V gloveman Max Crocombe came to his side’s rescue shortly afterwards, blocking with his feet, after another defensive turnover while playing out from the back allowed Kilkenny to find Fornaroli 12 yards out.
The Navy Blue were finding their rhythm as half-time approached, with Adama Traore's cross fired goalward by Kruse but Velaphi once again dived full-length to parry away the strike. Although they had allowed Perth chances by turning over the ball, Victory did have the edge in the opening 45 and they continued to push when Butterfield's fizzing 30-yard strike drew a superb one-handed save from Velaphi in the 47th minute.
The game was opening up as Carlo Armiento almost caught Crocombe out with a floated cross-shot and Victory replied as Butterfield played Brimmer through on goal but the midfielder could not get a clean strike away. Armiento then almost found Keogh, but the Irishman missed the ball while attempting a back-heel feel, but Fornaroli made no mistake in the 64th minute, clinically heading in Armiento's left-wing delivery.
Victory were rocked after once again falling behind and it took until the 68th minute for substitute Elvis Kamsoba to fashion a chance for Kruse but the striker could not find the target from a tight angle. With time ticking away, Glory were sinking deeper and Victory claimed an equaliser in the 86th minute when the marauding Adama Traore picked out Brimmer with a teasing cross and the ex-Glory man scored with a glancing header to net his first A-League goal.
Within minutes of getting themselves back in the game, Victory were back on the front foot and forced a corner. Brimmer's delivery struck teenager defender Rawlings square in the hand and referee Shaun Evans promptly pointed to the spot. Brimmer did not hesitate to grab the ball to punish his former employers and complete a dramatic late turnaround to send his hometown crowd wild.
Ways to watch
Next fixtures – Matchweek 6
Western United v Melbourne Victory
Saturday, 30 January 2021
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEDT
Venue: AAMI PARK
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505, ABC TV
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
Melbourne City v Perth Glory
Sunday, 31 January 2021
Kick-off: 6.40pm AEDT
Venue: AAMI Park
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports