Thompson makes his mark
Archie Thompson opened his account for the season against North Queensland Fury as defending champions Melbourne Victory picked up their first win. Thompson's strike secured a 1-0 victory at Farmers Stadium.
The two-time A-League winner with Melbourne struck in the last minute of the first half following a pinpoint long ball from new signing Adrian Leijer, as Ernie Merrick's side bounced back from an opening-day defeat by Central Coast Mariners and last week's draw with Brisbane Roar. The win moves Melbourne up to fifth place in the early standings, although they are already five points adrift of Gold Coast United, who have won all three games at the start of their maiden season in the Australian top-flight.
North Queensland, unlike fellow expansion side Gold Coast, continue to struggle to adapt to A-League life after suffering a third straight defeat, although they will be boosted by a much-improved performance against Melbourne.
At Bluetongue Stadium, goalkeeper Clint Bolton saved Adam Kwasnik's 90th-minute penalty to preserve Sydney's unbeaten start to the season after holding on to secure a 0-0 draw with Central Coast, who have also yet to lose.
In another tense local derby between the near neighbours, Kwasnik had a chance to hand the Mariners a second win of the season after Simon Colosimo and Sung Hwan-byun had combined to bring down John Hutchinson. But he was unable to ruin Bolton's 34th birthday as the Sydney goalkeeper produced a low diving save before then denying Dylan Macallister in stoppage-time with an equally impressive low save.
"I was confident I was going to save it," said Bolton. "I was very happy with the second save. It would have been disappointing to save the penalty and then lose the match with another goal."
Second-placed Sydney trimmed Gold Coast's lead at the top of the table to two points, while the third-placed Mariners moved within four points of the early pacesetters. Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna said: "Over the 90 minutes a draw is a fair result, but after getting two chances like that it's two points lost."