Melbourne Victory stalwart Leigh Broxham cut a relieved figure after his side’s 2-1 defeat of Wellington Phoenix on Sunday night.
Broxham turned the ball into his own net in the 23rd minute to give the Phoenix an unlikely lead over the more fancied Victory, but he was saved from embarrassment in the game’s final 10 minutes when Leroy George converted a penalty won by Kenny Athiu in the 83rd before Athiu himself added a diving header in the 87th.
Speaking after the game, Broxham admitted that he had made an error in judgement in the lead into the own goal but made clear his pride in Victory’s playing group for getting a result in the dying stages of the game.
“I suppose as me and (Tom) Doyle fell I think, in my mind, it was clear I was going to hook it clear,” Broxham said.
“I just sort of got it all wrong, it came off the end of my foot. Looking back at the replay, if I’d left it Stef (Stefan Nigro) and Loz (Lawrence Thomas) could have cleared it, so it was the heat of the moment.
“In hindsight, I could have done better, but those things happen in football, we moved on and got a result out of the game.
“We played Saturday against Western Sydney, in Ulsan on Wednesday and then coming back and pushing it all the way to the end of the game is a credit to everyone; all the boys who travelled, there’s a few of us who played all the games as well.
“Credit to the boys who came on as well, the sub timing was great and they all had a big impact as well when we needed it.”
Victory’s attention will now turn to Friday night, when they will travel to Sydney to reignite Big Blue hostilities with Sydney FC in the season’s final round.
With a home final secured after their win combined with Adelaide United’s loss against the Sky Blues, Victory still have an outside chance of overhauling Melbourne City for third place on the A-League ladder.
With City travelling across the Tasman to take on the Phoenix in their final match of the regular season however, the odds are against Victory closing the two-point gap on their Melbourne rivals, but Broxham says that he is still looking forward to the challenge of taking on the Harboursiders.
“I think it’ll be a good measure for us to go up there and try and get a result against them,” he said.
“They’re obviously doing well. It’ll be a good test and seeing how things pan out it’ll be a game we want to get maximum points from, to see where we end up on the ladder.
“I think they’re battle-hardened and they’re good at getting results when they need to.
“They’ll take the game very seriously and I think they’re a team who manage to get results out of games even when they’re not going their way.
“I think Arnie will be solely focused on the job at hand. He loves getting results against us as we do them so I’m sure they’ll be well up for it.”