A-League Season review

Official A-League 2009-10 Season review

Season Review

This is a quick look back at the ups and downs of the 2008-09 A-League season. It was a drama packed, record breaking season.

Round 1: Sydney kick off with victory against Fowler-s hopefuls

Last season-s Minor Premiers and Grand Final winners Melbourne Victory began their campaign with a surprise 2-0 home defeat to the Central Coast Mariners.

Other pre-season hopefuls Sydney FC faired a little better with a 3-2 away victory over North Queensland in Townsville. Star man Robbie Fowler announced his arrival to the A-League with a debut goal but a John Aloisi scored a penalty which decided the match with just under 20minutes left on the clock.

There were also no draws in the opening round, with Adelaide, Gold Coast and Newcastle all kicking their seasons off with a victory.

Round 2: First draws of the season while Gold Coast are on fire

The first draw of the season saw Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle grab a point a piece after a 1-1 score line at the Bluetongue stadium.

Gold Coast handed out the first hammering of the season with a 5-0 home victory against North Queensland who would-ve been disappointed after a good show in their previous fixture.

Melbourne got their points tally off the mark with a thrilling 3-3 home draw with Brisbane Roar, whilst Sydney and Wellington both notched up wins in their first home games of the season. Round 3: Gold Coast the only side to keep their 100% record

With a 2-0 away win in Adelaide, Gold Coast kept their impressive run going and had conceded only one goal to their 10 scored.

Sydney were held for the first time this season by the Central Coast and Melbourne got their first three points of the season with an away win at the struggling North Queensland.

Perth notched up an impressive home victory against Newcastle, whilst Brisbane and Wellington shared the points in the match in Queensland.

Round 4: Gold Coast lose record, North Queensland get off the mark

North Queensland came away from Adelaide disappointed to only get a point after Fowler-s opening goal on 5minutes and two in the last 10 minutes looked to have secured the three.

A Pantelis goal in the 90th minute was enough to ensure the points were shared and North Queensland hearts were broken.

Perth made it two home wins on the trot after beating last season-s champions 2-1, whilst Brisbane got their first win of the season against the Central Coast.

The Jets got back to winning ways against the early season goal-getters Gold Coast, as Sydney beat the men from the Kiwi capital 2-0 at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Round 5: Gold Coast back to winning ways and a few draws to boot

Gold Coast got back to the top of the table after last week-s stumble with a 2-1 victory over Premier hopefuls Sydney at Skilled Park. The impressive Shane Smeltz took his tally to eight goals with a brace against the Sydneysiders.

In Canberra, a terrible blunder by Perth goalkeeper Tando Velaphi saw the Central Coast Mariners snatch a 2-1 victory over the Glory through Matt Simon's 89th-minute winner.

The other three matches ended up as 1-1 draws with all the sides seemingly happy to share the points.

Round 6: North Queensland get first victory in Sydney

North Queensland registered their first A-League win against Sydney after a Robbie Fowler moment of magic was enough to send the side back to Queensland in party mode.

After Fury keeper Paul Henderson had saved a first half penalty, a stunning Robbie Fowler goal in the second half ensured the three points were going north.

Adelaide grabbed their first win since the opening day of the season, by beating the Mariners 1-0 at home, whilst Brisbane Roar humbled the Jets 3-0 in their own back yard.

The other matches ended up in stalemate with Wellington holding Melbourne in Victoria, as an unlucky Perth managed to contain the free scoring Gold Coast who grabbed a last minute goal to save the tie.

Round 7: Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Mariners win

The rematch between last year-s finalists saw Melbourne come away with an easy victory as they won 2-0 at the Hindmarsh stadium.

Central Coast Mariners secured the best result of the season so far as they beat table topping Gold Coast 3-0 at the Bluetongue stadium. The Mariners moved into second place and also kept a clean sheet against the top of the table opposition.

An improving North Queensland again built on impressive recent performances after they got a 94th minute equaliser against the Phoenix.

Sydney marched on with a 2-1 victory against the Jets whose winless record on the road now stretches back for 12 games.

Perth, who have also struggled away from home, recorded an emphatic win at Suncorp Stadium as the Roar were out of sorts in front of their home crowd.

Round 8: Perth and Melbourne notch two away wins on the trot Perth seem to have put their away day blues behind them with their second away win in a row as they downed Newcastle 1-0. A Mile Sterjovski penalty was enough to ensure that Perth went home with the three points.

The tie of the round saw Victory come away with an emphatic 3-2 win at a dusty Skilled Park. Despite the game looking destined for a draw, a Kevin Muscat penalty in the last five minutes was enough to grab the points for the Victory.

Sydney were put to bed by a late header from Brisbane striker Sergio van Dijk who ensured that his side claimed the latest Queensland win in the battle between the two cities.

Adelaide added to North Queensland-s woes with a 2-0 victory at the Dairy Farmer-s stadium, whilst Wellington and the Mariners drew a blank in the New Zealand capital.

Round 9: Victory march on, Sydney grab narrow win

Melbourne Victory made it five matches unbeaten after downing an unfortunate Brisbane side who played well at the Etihad. The win was surprisingly Victory-s first at home this season but it-s their third in a row as they bid to repeat the successes of last year.

Gold Coast and Wellington shared the points in a 0-0 draw, as did Perth and North Queensland in Western Australia.

Despite the Jets having the lead for over 70 minutes, a sizzling shot from Cassio meant that honours were even at Hindmarsh.

Round 10: Sydney defeat Melbourne in clash of the titans

Sydney emphatically outlined their title aspirations with a 3-0 win at the Etihad, leaving defending champions Melbourne wondering how they-re going to hang onto their crown.

The Sky Blues have a poor record against Melbourne having beaten them only once in the previous nine encounters but the record crowd of over 30,000 was sent home in silence after Sydney demolished the home side.

Perth continued their impressive home record with the 1-0 defeat of Adelaide, whilst early season hopefuls Gold Coast rediscovered their winning touch after they-d not won in their last four outings.

Central Coast Mariners and the Fury played out a 1-1 draw whilst the other round 10 match between the Phoenix and the Jets was played at a later date (see round 13)

Round 11: Sydney humbled while Melbourne win well away

Sydney were defeated by an inexperienced Adelaide line up, who were a man down after just 8minutes. The setback was no hindrance for United though, who deservedly went on to win.

Central Coast were flattered a little by the score line but deserved the three point against a Brisbane side who had lost their coach earlier in the week. Despite having over 20 shots on goal, the Roar just couldn-t find a way through.

North Queensland managed to salvage a point after Fowler scored with just over 5minutes left on the clock. Wellington had the lead for almost 80 minutes in the game and would have been disappointed to leave the Dairy Farmer-s with only a point.

Some Carlos Hernandez magic managed to help Melbourne win away at Newcastle whilst the Gold Coast beat Perth 2-1 at home.

Round 12: Five home victories as Welli score six

All five of the home fixtures saw home fans walk away happy in this round, with the Kiwi fans going home happiest. After setting a new A-League record of six consecutive draws, Wellington put six past a deflated Gold Coast outfit, who were swept aside.

Sydney put last week-s loss to Adelaide behind them by defeating Brisbane 2-1 at the Sydney Football Stadium and Melbourne secured a comfortable 3-1 win over Adelaide at the Etihad.

North Queensland also managed an important win, if they are to avoid bottom spot at the end of the season. Fowler and Daal scored mid way through the second half to give them the three points after coming from behind.

Newcastle rounded off the 100% home round by defeating neighbours Central Coast 2-1 in a tense derby at the Energy Australia Stadium in Newcastle.

Round 13: Fury make it two wins in a row

North Queensland made it two wins on the trot as they embarrassed state rivals Gold Coast in front of their smallest crowd of the season. A Robbie Fowler double was enough to give the Fury their first back to back victories of the season.

Sydney and Melbourne Victory both marched towards ensuring at least a play-off position come the end of the season, with home and away wins respectively.

Central Coast Mariners were held at home by Adelaide, as were Brisbane by Newcastle.

In the Round 10 catch-up game, Wellington beat Newcastle convincingly by three goals to nil in the Kiwi capital.

Round 14: Mariners hammer Melbourne in their own back yard

Central Coast tore the Victory apart at the Etihad and made it two wins from two so far this season against last year-s champions.

Despite having just one win in the last six matches, goals from Kwasnik, Simon, Heffernan and Mrdja left over 18,500 supporters shocked in the Victory-s biggest defeat of the season.

Brisbane kept their finals aspirations alive as Sergio van Dijk netted a brace to give the Roar a drought-breaking 2-0 win over United at the Hindmarsh Stadium. The result saw them in seventh spot at the half way point in the season.

Gold Coast United put a turbulent week behind them and ensured they had third spot in the league after Shane Smeltz was on target. The early season pace setters have faltered of late but this result showed they might be heading in the right direction again.

Wellington were held by the Glory, as Newcastle won 2-0 at home against the Fury.

At the half way point in the season, Sydney top the table, with Melbourne hot on their heels just a point behind. Gold Coast were just two back at the time, with a three point cushion between them and Central Coast in fourth. Perth Glory and Wellington made up the other spots in the top six, whilst North Queensland propped up the table on 15 points. Three sides sat only one point above them though: Newcastle, Adelaide and Brisbane were all separated by goal difference.

Round 15: Central Coast on fire again

The Mariners were again on fire away from home as they hammered the Fury by the second four-goal margin in as many weeks.

The Mariners made the class difference show in a frenzied 15 minute period that saw Bojic and Mrdja score and effectively kill off the Fury. Three second half goals further emphasised the gulf in class and any travelling support would-ve gone home ecstatic for the second week in a row.

The Phoenix maintained New Zealand-s football purple patch with a hard fought 1-0 win over Newcastle in stifling 40 degree heat. Despite playing lots of the better football Newcastle just couldn-t find an equaliser.

Perth broke their run of four matches without a win as they secured a solid victory over Sydney who missed the chance to go back to the top of the table, whilst table toppers Melbourne won 1-0 in Brisbane.

Round 16: Melbourne cement top spot as Newcastle win in Sydney

Melbourne won 4-0 against the Gold Coast whose season of inconsistency continued at the Etihad. Their consolidation of top spot came thanks to a brace from Archie Thompson who put in an inspiring performance to down a depleted Gold Coast side.

North Queensland looked a much improved side from last week-s hammering at the hands of Central Coast. Fowler and McBreen scored the goals in a 2-1 victory over Adelaide at the Dairy Farmers stadium.

Newcastle notched up a great result to beat Sydney 3-1 after English import Michael Bridges marked his return to his former club with a brace.

The former Leeds United star ensured the Jets inflicted Sydney-s second home defeat of the season and left them five points behind rivals Melbourne in the chase for the title.

Brisbane managed their first home win since beating Sydney in Round 8 and were good value for their win in a 4-1 defeat of Wellington at Suncorp.

The Central Coast were held at home by Perth in a goalless affair at the Bluetongue stadium.

Round 17: Sydney back on track as Newcastle win away

Sydney put four past the Fury with a clinical display in front of their home fans. The win puts them back in touch with the leaders Melbourne who were held to a draw by Wellington in New Zealand.

Newcastle made it two wins on the bounce after they withstood everything a desperate Adelaide United threw at them. United-s poor season continued despite having some good chances but Newcastle came away with the points after scoring in both halves.

Gold Coast United produced a stellar performance to down the Mariners at Skilled Park and come from behind to grab all three points.

Golden boot chaser Shane Smeltz was again on target as the Gold Coast kept their play-off hopes looking more probable than possible if they were to keep their form up.

Perth kept their unbeaten run going with a 1-1 draw with Brisbane, thanks to a late goal from Harnwell.

Round 18: Away wins for Sydney, Victory, Adelaide, home wins for Fury and Jets It was a mixed bag of results this weekend with Sydney and Melbourne both notching up away wins against Wellington and the Mariners respectively. The Victory eased to a 3-0 triumph over the Mariners.

Wellington-s undefeated home run in the kiwi capital still stands though, as they played in Palmerston North. They may think twice about playing away from fortress Westpac though as their unbeaten run there stretches back 14 matches.

Adelaide-s away win over Brisbane meant they went a step towards avoiding the wooden spoon but North Queensland also won 1-0 against Perth, meaning both sides were in touch with the pack.

Newcastle continued their impressive run and moved into fourth spot after an impressive 3-2 win over Gold Coast United. The Jets secured the win nine minutes from time before the impressive Shane Smeltz scored with five minutes left but the Jets managed to hang on to the three points.

Round 19: Fractured Round 19 results… (Round 19 was played on the 16th, 23rd December and 13th, 19th December)

Brisbane defeated the Fury 2-0 at Suncorp (on the 16th December), to win the Queensland derby. Two first half goals from van Dijk meant that Brisbane went home with the points.

Sydney FC secured a 1-0 victory against the Mariners (23rd December) to begin a busy period in the A-League before the week-s break. The other two fixtures (played 13th January and 19th January) saw Gold Coast and Perth pick up maximum points. Gold Coast beat Newcastle 2-0 at home, whilst Perth won 3-2 in Adelaide.

Round 20: Titans draw as Brisbane hit the top six

The match between Sydney and Melbourne ended up a draw but Melbourne were the better side throughout. Kevin Muscat reached a huge milestone as he notched up his 500th club match, made all the better by his side sitting top of the table.

Two Queensland sides all had good results with the Roar winning 3-2 away at the Mariners. The result surged Brisbane into the top six and at this time of the season, it-s a good place to be.

The Jets, sneaked home against the Fury as they scored in the last 10 minutes to make it 3-2. The Fury put up a good show though and Newcastle were lucky to take the three points in the end.

Adelaide held the Phoenix 1-1 at home after the visitors scored fairly late on to see honours even.

Round 21: Gold Cost United find early season form as Perth score four

Gold Coast United secured bragging rights after they hammered local rivals Brisbane 5-1 at Skilled Park. A hat-trick from Smeltz and a double from Rees gave United-s biggest home crowd of the season plenty to cheer in a game that had everything.

Perth weren-t to be outdone though and on the opposite coast, they thrashed Newcastle Jets on boxing day, a result that saw them enter the top six. With just one win in nine, Glory fans would-ve been forgiven for thinking that their season was over.

Sydney grabbed an important win in the race for the Minor Premiership as they beat Adelaide 1-0 at home. The result made all the more important by Melbourne-s loss away to the Fury.

Daal scored the only goal of the game to ensure that the bottom of the table beat top and leapfrogged two of their rivals into eighth position.

Barely 24 hours had passed after Fury-s game and Wellington overtook them again. The Phoenix pulled off an impressive away at the Central Coast to see them move away from the bottom.

Round 22: Melbourne falter and Wellington win

Melbourne-s grip on the Minor Premiership loosened as they suffered their second straight loss at the hands of Newcastle. The ten-man Newcastle outfit were just too strong for the visitors and were unlucky not to win by more.

Sydney failed to capitalise on Melbourne-s slip up as they were held 0-0 in Perth whilst the Mariners drew with the Fury at home.

Gold Coast and Adelaide could also not be separated but Wellington continued their move upwards with a solid 3-1 home win at fortress Wellington.

Round 23: Wellington breezing towards the finals

Wellington made it three wins from three and announced themselves as serious play off contenders with a 3-0 win over North Queensland in windy Wellington.

Despite the wind and rain making conditions hard, Dadi continued his dream start to his Wellington career as he scored his third in two games for the yellow and blacks.

Melbourne got back to winning ways at the Etihad stadium, as they smashed Perth Glory 6-2, which included a Robbie Kruse hat-trick. Only Archie Thompson has scored a hat-trick for the Victory and it-s the second most goals ever scored in an A-League match.

Newcastle beat Brisbane 2-0 at the Suncorp, while Gold Coast dented Sydney-s title ambitions with a 1-0 at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Adelaide United were held 0-0 at home by the Mariners and looked as if they could end up as the bottom club this season, maybe they were looking forward to a successful Asian Champions League campaign.

Round 24: Perth enjoyed playing catch-up as the table toppers win

Perth won twice in four days as they put the Melbourne disaster to bed in the best possible fashion.

After winning their Round 19 catch-up game in Adelaide, they backed it up with a solid 2-0 home win over play-off chasers Wellington Phoenix. Emphasising their own play-off credentials, they scored two first half goals to put themselves in with a great chance of making the top six.

Melbourne Victory put themselves one step closer to the Minor Premiership and were now sure they would be in the play-offs at least. Their 2-0 defeat of bottom place Adelaide put them in a good position but with Sydney winning at Newcastle it meant things were still in the balance.

The Fury and Brisbane shared the spoils in another Queensland derby, as did the Mariners and the Gold Coast.

Round 25: Melbourne enjoy their catch-up too!

The last catch-up from Round 19 saw Melbourne score an emphatic 4-0 victory against Wellington, denting the kiwi-s play-off ambitions. They then lost on the road to Gold Coast after a 20-yard screamer from Caravella was good enough to separate the sides.

Brisbane put a dent in Sydney-s title aspirations with a 1-0 win at Suncorp, whilst Wellington again proved that they can-t be beaten in the kiwi capital with a 1-0 win over Adelaide.

A first-half brace from Perth striker Daniel McBreen ensured the Glory cast Central Coast out of the Hyundai A-League finals for the first time through a solid 3-1 victory.

The Fury also took a step closer to making sure they weren-t bottom of the pile after the final two rounds. They beat Newcastle 2-1 at home.

Round 26: Almost time for the fat lady to sing and Mariners win

Melbourne Victory made sure that they went into the last match on top of the table with a 2-0 victory at home against the Fury. The win wasn-t enough to tie up a second consecutive Minor Premiership though, with Sydney beating Perth at home.

Two Aloisi goals gave Sydney a pulsating 3-2 win over Perth at Parramatta Stadium, setting up a mouthwatering final day clash with the top two in Sydney.

Adelaide did their best to avoid the wooden spoon, after beating Brisbane 2-0 and ending any chance the Roar had of making the finals. Adelaide broke the drought that-s not seen them win since Round 18.

Wellington Phoenix put an end to any hopes Gold Coast had of taking the Minor Premiership title with a 1-0 away win.

The Mariners put their long suffering fans out of their misery with their first home win since Round 7 when they beat the Gold Coast. The 3-0 win was the club-s first since November against the Newcastle Jets and highlighted why they were out of contention for a play-off spot.

Round 27: Sydney take out the Minor Premiership

Wellington ended up in fourth, the best ever finish by a kiwi side in the A-League, after they convincingly beat the Mariners 3-0 at home. The play-off beckoned for the kiwis for the first time.

Adelaide won 2-1 away at Newcastle but still unfortunately ended up with the wooden spoon, just one point off the Mariners and Brisbane.

Perth ended a poor season for Brisbane by beating them 2-0 at home and ending up in fifth, just behind Wellington by one point.

North Queensland made sure they ended up in seventh after a final day 2-1 win over Gold Coast made sure they finished in a reasonable position. Gold Coast finished third.

At the time of publishing, it seems as if Adelaide were saving all their efforts for the Asian Champions League. They've won three from four of their group games and only two heavy defeats and a complicated set of other results would see them failing to qualify.

In contrast, A-League powerhouse Melbourne Victory have lost all three matches and their qualification hangs by a thread.