Hyundai A-League Round 12 Weekend Wrap
Round 12 once again didn’t disappoint football fans around the country, except if your team was on the losing side.
Round 12 once again didn-t disappoint football fans around the country, except if your team was on the losing side. Funnily enough for only the second time in the short history of the Hyundai A-League, all four home teams won their matches with Melbourne victorious in the top of the table clash with Central Coast, while Adelaide were good value for their win over Sydney. Wellington moved further clear of the bottom with a 2-0 win over Newcastle, while Queensland got the home ground monkey off their back for this season, with a 4-1 win over Perth.
Results - Round 12 MELBOURNE VICTORY 2 beat Central Coast Mariners 1 ADELAIDE UNITED 2 beat Sydney FC 0 QUEENSLAND ROAR 4 beat Perth Glory 1 WELLINGTON PHOENIX 2 beat Newcastle Jets 0
Friday nights top of the table clash saw Melbourne Victory take on Central Coast Mariners at Telstra Dome in a match that didn-t disappoint. In what was effectively a six-point game, Melbourne came from behind to eventually get the points over the Mariners and put them six points clear at the top (albeit only overnight). It was a fairly even first half with neither side able to really dominate, although the Mariners were looking dangerous at set pieces - at one stage having five corners in succession. No surprise then that the Mariners were to take the lead from a set-piece, although the circumstances were probably somewhat unusual. John Hutchinson-s free kick from 40 metres was curled into the box; the ball eluding everybody, including a hapless Michael Theoklitos. Victory-s response was emphatic and when Dylan Macallister-s poor cross-field pass was cut out by Tom Pondeljak, who played a one-two with Archie Thompson on the edge of the box, with Pondeljak dispatching his volley past Danny Vukovic. The game was in the balance after the break, when Billy Celeski-s incisive through ball saw Thompson break the offside trap and raced into the penalty box and powered his shot past Vukovic for the eventual winner.
Adelaide United ended a light week on the training track after their exhaustive excursions throughout Asia, to record a well-deserved 2-0 win over a disappointing Sydney FC. The win ended a run of four-straight losses in all competitions for Adelaide and saw them keep the pressure on Melbourne at the head of the table. It was a tight first half, with neither side-s defence giving much away. The turning point came deep into first half injury time, when Adelaide was awarded a free kick on the right edge of the penalty box. Kristian Sarkies inviting cross to the back post, found Saso Ognenovski who powered his header past Ivan Necevski and the home side had a half time lead. Sydney dominated the early stages of the second half, but when an injured Terry McFlynn, who was about to be substituted said something to referee Ben Williams, a red-card was instantly produced and Sydney-s task was now that little bit tougher. The Reds ensured victory with a little over ten minutes remaining, when Travis Dodd charged down Beau Busch-s attempted clearance; the ball rifling past a stunned Necevski.
Newcastle Jets hopes of defending their Championship crown are fading fast, after they went down 2-0 to Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Two late goals from Shane Smeltz and Troy Hearfield sealed the win against the Jets, who by that stage were down to nine-men after Joel Griffiths and Mark Milligan had been sent off. It was a fairly tame opening from the two sides, with Phoenix starting guest player Fred in an offensive formation. The first chance though went to young Newcastle striker Marko Jesic, whose snap-shot volley was inches wide of the post. Shortly after it went pear-shaped for the Jets, when Griffiths was the first to be shown a red card when he lashed out at Karl Dodd as they tangled for the ball. Phoenix though found it difficult to manufacture good chances and after the break it Newcastle with Tarek Elrich thrust forward that looked the more dangerous as he attacked the Phoenix defence at pace. But just when the Jets were looking threatening, Milligan found himself with an early shower, after he dived studs up in what was deemed a dangerous tackle by referee Matthew Breeze. Phoenix pressed again and again and the home fans hopes were raised when Smeltz met Hearfield-s perfect cross and glanced his header past Ante Covic. Hearfield made it 2-0 with minutes to go, flicking home Leo Bertos- low cross. To add to Newcastle-s miserable day, Elrich saw his penalty kick saved by Mark Paston in the last minute.
Craig Moore inspired Queensland Roar to an emphatic 4-1 win over Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium, to end a horrendous run of form at the venue. Moore, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer just 12 days ago, took his place in the centre of defence and went close to scoring early, when his header flashed across the face of goal from a corner kick. It was Perth though that looked the more threatening in the first half and Jamie Harnwell, Nikita Rukavytsya and Adrian Trinidad all had good opportunities to open the scoring. Queensland would have been happy to go into the break at 0-0, but in an amazing couple of minutes they went into the break 2-0 up. The first goal came with 45 minutes up on the clock, when Tahj Minniecon-s pace got the better of Nikolai Topor-Stanley and was fouled in the box. Serginho van Dijk made no mistake from the spot. Two minutes later and the crowd were stunned but overjoyed, as van Dijk brilliantly turned Dino Djublic in the box and his attempted shot was headed across the face of goal, but Minniecon raced in to finish from 2 yards out. Ten minutes after the break, the result was sealed when Charlie Miller met Michael Zullo-s cross with a magnificent volley that gave Tando Velaphi no chance. Harnwell gave Perth fans some hope minutes later when he finished off good work from Rukavytsya, but Roar substitute Mitch Nicholls finished the scoring with a delicate chip over Velaphi into the top corner to make it 4-1. The win moved Queensland into third spot on the table.
Weekend Goals Tally: 12
Card Count: 10 yellows - 3 reds
Attendance/Average: 45,582 / 11,395.5
Goal of the Week A couple of cracking goals on the weekend, but none better than the execution of the Charlie Miller volley that put Queensland 3-0 up at Suncorp Stadium. Miller hadn-t scored for a while, but he showed his class by keeping his head over the ball and his shot low and hard and Tando Velaphi had no chance.
Player of the Week For sheer courage, we can-t go past Queensland captain Craig Moore. 12 days ago, he underwent surgery for testicular cancer, but he was back in training late in the week and after a solid session on Saturday he decided all was ok and was in the line-up to play Perth. Once again he was his usual clam and assured self, never flinching from the hard work and challenges that needed to be made.
One to Watch He has proven to be one of the best imports that came to these shores when he helped Melbourne Victory to a Championship in Season 2. Fred is back again, this time for a guest stint with Wellington Phoenix and helped them to a valuable 2-0 home win over Newcastle. Fred was handy for Phoenix and certainly gave them more impetus in attack then seen in previous games. With five games to go, no doubt Wellington fans will be hoping he can take them to the brink of the finals.
Leading Goalscorers 8 - Matt Simon (CCM), Shane Smeltz (WP) 7 - Charlie Miller (QR) 6 - Danny Allsopp (MV), Nikita Rukavytsya (PG), Travis Dodd (AU), 5 - Cristiano (AU), Joel Griffiths (NJ), Eugene Dadi (PG), Archie Thompson (MV) 4 - Mile Jedinak (CCM), Kevin Muscat (MV), Sasho Petrovski (CCM)