There’s nothing quite like a derby win to bring the good vibes back to a football club.
A brace from Besart Berisha and a solo effort from Panagiotis Kone earned the win for Western United as the A-League newcomers snapped a three-game losing streak to down Melbourne Victory 3-1 yesterday.
Falling behind in the 14th minute after a scintillating solo run and shot from Andrew Nabbout, United rallied to pull themselves back level just three minutes later when Berisha rose above Leigh Broxham and Kone to bundle a Connor Pain cross over the line.
The 34-year-old – who hadn’t scored since round three – then followed that up with another in the 43rd minute when he glanced an inch-perfect cross from Josh Risdon inside the far post to make it 3-1.
Though his reaction after his first goal was subdued, after his second the striker and teammates revelled in boisterous celebrations around the United dugout.
While some players refuse to celebrate when scoring against their former club, Berisha insisted after the game that his celebration wasn't meant to insult his former side.
Rather, he said, it was a celebration born of pride in his new club.
“I wanted to celebrate my goals today,” said Berisha. “If I score, I really want to celebrate.
“If you have to move on, I move on and focus on the new boys, on the new team and the new club.
“The most important thing is what I have in my heart for Victory – not celebrating or not celebrating.
“You have to show a little bit of love! We’ve had such a tough three weeks: not scoring, losing and arguing.
“Honestly, I needed to show a bit of love today. We deserved that and I think this win was so important for us as a team.”
As well as securing his side the day's chocolates, Berisha’s brace also serves as an important circuit breaker for both himself and the club.
Making waves across the internet for his incredulous reaction to being substituted in United's round seven in the loss to Central Coast Mariners, the striker was benched in the following game against Sydney FC for tactical reasons, according to coach Mark Rudan.
Combined with the club’s losing streak and Rudan’s frustrations with his group becoming increasingly apparent, tensions in the United locker room were elevated.
Well, they were, until the love was brought back to Tarniet.
“This week, [there was] all the love, I promise you,” a smiling Berisha said. “Honestly? The last three weeks [there was] not. It was a really difficult situation, a lot was said, a lot was talked about but I’m happy that this week was so much love!
“We are back to this vibe that we had in the beginning. Really like a team, like a family and I enjoy it personally. I really enjoyed this moment and I hope we keep going.
“We reminded each other what we really support. Especially the older guys, which is really important in football.
“You can lose games and you cannot change that but one thing you can change is to keep the environment, keep going, not lose each other and stick together.
“And we showed today, I really thought today there was a lot of love.”