Victory belt poor Mariners 4-1 in A-League

Melbourne Victory have delighted home fans with a 4-1 A-League demolition of Central Coast.
Melbourne Victory have delighted home fans with a 4-1 A-League demolition of Central Coast.

Melbourne Victory have delivered a stunning statement of A-League intent, thrashing Central Coast 4-1 at AAMI Park.

The champions were ruthless from the kickoff on Sunday night, with Keisuke Honda, James Troisi and Corey Brown scoring in a vintage first-half display.

Mario Shabow's first professional goal gave the Mariners something on an otherwise sorry night, before Josh Hope rounded out the scoring.

Mike Mulvey's team were reduced to an amateur outfit in front of 16,508 fans, who also cheered Ola Toivonen's debut from the bench.

The Swedish marquee emerged with the game already won, but played in Hope in second-half stoppage time to leave a late mark.

Kevin Muscat's side played like the Harlem Globetrotters, streaming forward with style only to miss a hatful of chances.

Honda's opener came as a result of Victory's relentless press.

The Japanese star was on hand to hassle Antony Golec out of possession, running away to score on the half-hour mark.

Five minutes later, Troisi scored with a dinked finish after being played in by Terry Antonis.

Even Leigh Broxham had chances to score in Victory's rampant opening half which ended when Brown volleyed home a loose ball in the box.

Jacob Melling and Golec had woeful nights, compounded by a late clash between the pair that appeared to injure the centre-back.

Even Central Coast's consolation appeared fortunate, with Shabow guiding home the ball from close range with his first touch.

Georg Niedermeier might have joined Brown in scoring his first Victory goal, only for the German to volley Honda's flicked free kick onto the post.

Instead, it was Victory's young Tasmanian midfielder who grabbed his first A-League strike from Toivonen's centre just before fulltime.

Victory's second-straight win lifts them to fourth on the table, while Central Coast stay bottom, looking every inch the wooden spooners in waiting.

Australian Associated Press