Round 27 felt like the Finals Series had come a week early. So grab your coffee and check out the heart-pumping drama of a thrilling weekend as the Premiers’ Plate was won in the final game of the final round of the season, a round that also included one of the greatest ever A-League goals.
Brisbane Roar FC
A goal from young defender Lachlan Jackson means Brisbane head into the Finals Series in winning form after a 2-1 victory over Newcastle Jets last Friday night. Sub Kofi Danning and Jackson, playing just his third Hyundai A-League game, with the goals giving Roar a timely boost ahead of their Elimination Final with Adelaide United on Friday night.
A poor campaign for the Jets ended in defeat meaning they will finish with the club’s second wooden spoon. Edson Montano with a poacher’s goal gave the visitors some hope but two goals to home side at Suncorp condemned Phil Stubbins’ men to a 2-1 loss.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC
A young Wanderers outfit could not end their domestic campaign with a win, losing 2-1 at home to Perth Glory. After heavy hail caused a delay in the kick-off, teenage debutant Liam Youlley’s goal early in the second half was one bright spot for the red and black who now only have the ACL to think about.
A 10-man Perth Glory ended their turbulent season on a high with a spirited 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers FC at a hail-hit Pirtek Stadium on Saturday night. Jamie Maclaren’s fifth goal from his last five matches had them 1-0 up at the break before the home side drew level. But Andy Keogh grabbed a winner 13 minutes later – his 12th of the season - to hand Glory their first-ever win at Wanderland.
The Reds stormed back into form with a thumping 4-1 win City – which included a contender for goal of the season and one of the greatest ever A-League goals by new Socceroo Tarek Elrich. Two goals in the space of four minutes to Spanish pair Miguel Palanca and Pablo Sanchez were followed by Elrich’s world-class solo goal as the Reds ripped apart City. Substitute Cameron Watson slotted a penalty to make it 4-0 before City got one back.
Melbourne City FC
A forgettable end to the regular season for City with a 4-1 loss in Adelaide on Saturday. "We were not in the game at all the first half-hour," coach John van 't Schip lamented after the game. "Before we knew it we were 3-0 behind.” Aaron Mooy with the lone goal, but overall the Cityzens with plenty of improvement required ahead of their Elimination Final in Wellington on Sunday.
The Sky Blues got the job done, securing a precious top-two finish with a 2-1 win over Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon. First-half goals from Bernie Ibini and Shane Smeltz (pen) gave Sydney FC the points after dodging a bullet when Roly Bonevacia missed an early penalty for the home team. Graham Arnold’s men now with next weekend off.
Phoenix secured a home Elimination Final clash after a disappointing loss to Sydney FC by 2-1 at Westpac Stadium. Michael Boxall pulled a goal back early in the second half after the home side conceded twice before the break. Phoenix pushed for an equaliser but were unable to find the net and will now host Melbourne City FC on Sunday.
It was party time at AAMI as Victory wrapped up the Premiers’ Plate with a 3-1 win over Central Coast Mariners. Georgievski, Thompson and Berisha with the goals to ensure the club’s third Premiers’ Plate. Kevin Muscat’s men join Sydney FC in having next weekend off.
Central Coast Mariners
In John Hutchinson’s final ever game, the Mariners couldn’t take him out a winner, losing 3-1 to Victory, the newly crowned Premiers’ Plate winners, at AAMI Park. Eddy Bosnar with a trademark rocket free-kick the only joy for the away side. It ended a tumultuous season for the Gosford club who now look to next season. Meanwhile, all that’s left to say is thank you “Hutcho” and congratulations on a wonderful career.