How your team fared and who made the headlines from the latest round of Hyundai A-League football, the last before the league takes a break for the Asian Cup.
Sydney FC was left to rue their wastefulness in front of goal as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Newcastle Jets in Wollongong on Saturday night. Graham Arnold will be wondering just how his side were denied as they did everything but score, with marquee man Marc Janko hitting the post as well as have an absolute cracking volley controversially disallowed for offside. The Sky Blues have now gone more than six hours without scoring a goal. They will enjoy the Asian Cup break to bring in a few reinforcements and start again to try and snap their seven-game winless run when they take on Central Coast Mariners on January 24.
It was a good response by the Jets to keep their first clean sheet of the season just three days after copping a 5-2 hiding at the hands of Melbourne City FC. They rode their luck for much of the night, especially in the first half, but showed a great resilience to steal a point in this 0-0 draw, something they have struggled to do all campaign. Attacker Jeronimo Neumann dislocated his shoulder but fortunately it went straight back in and he should be right for their clash with former club Adelaide United in three weeks.
Wellington confirmed their reputations as the hottest team in the Hyundai A-League right now with a crushing 3-0 win over champions Brisbane Roar FC. That’s now four wins in a row for Ernie Merrick’s side, who are doing their best to chase down league-leaders Perth Glory. Striker Jeremey Brockie – who played his final match before heading to South Africa to play for SuperSport United - made the perfect farewell with two goals in the second half, while a rare Manny Muscat strike early on started the rout. Phoenix will have both Nathan Burns and Roy Krishna available when they return to action on February 2 against Roar again.
Brisbane Roar FC
After some initial improvement under new boss Frans Thijssen, Roar seem to have hit a bit of a wall in recent weeks. They were incredibly flat against Phoenix and paid the price with a 3-0 reversal. Brisbane are simply struggling for goals, and relying too much on the speed and skill of Henrique to make things happen. The break has come at a perfect time for them with the likes of Thomas Broich, Michael Theo and new skipper Matt McKay all likely to be available when they return to action at the start of next month.
Central Coast Mariners
The Mariners produced their most complete performance of the season to stun the in-form Melbourne City FC 2-0 at Central Coast Stadium on Sunday. A first-half brace to Mitchell Duke set up the victory, just their second of the campaign and first since the opening weekend of the season. Goal-keeper Liam Reddy was also outstanding, making a couple of vital saves to ensure the Mariners kept a second straight clean sheet, while Glen Trifiro, Isaka Cernak and Anthony Caceres had their most influential games in a while. The challenge will be replicating that on a consistent basis, starting with former coach Graham Arnold’s Sky Blues on January 24, Arnold’s first visit to his old home ground since taking the reins at Sydney FC.
Melbourne City FC
What a difference a week makes for City. Just five days after smashing the Jets, John van‘t Schip watched on as his side was out-muscled and out-played by the struggling Mariners, losing 2-0. The absence of centre-back Connor Chapman and young midfielder Jacob Melling proved pivotal for the visitors, who appeared rather subdued in the hot conditions in Gosford. Key men Robert Koren, Damien Duff and Aaron Mooy also didn’t have the same impact they have had in recent weeks. The second half dismissal of goal-keeper Tando Velaphi capped a miserable day for City, with the gloveman to miss their first game back after the break against Western Sydney Wanderers FC.
Glory saw their 10-game unbeaten run come to an end in the Hyundai A-League with a 2-1 defeat to Adelaide United at a scorching nib Stadium on Monday. Despite taking the lead early on through Nebojsa Marinkovic, Glory were unable to hold on against their nemesis from last month’s Westfield FFA Cup decider. While the defeat ends their impressive eight-game winning run at home, Kenny Lowe’s side still head into the Asian Cup break with a four-point cushion at the top of the ladder. Lowe revealed they will use the transfer window to bring in a winger too replace the injured Youssouf Hersi, with their first game back against Melbourne Victory on January 25.
The Reds continued their stranglehold over Glory this season with an impressive road win thanks to goals in each half from Craig Goodwin and Jimmy Jeggo. Josep Gombau’s side remain the only team to beat Glory this campaign – Monday’s triumph in sweltering conditions their third already this season. After a difficult month of results, this performance confirms the Reds are still strong contenders for the title. They return to action on January 24 with a home clash against Newcastle Jets.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC
A much improved performance, particularly in the second half. But they remain winless after a 1-2 loss at Pirtek to Victory. The home side struggled to create many chances in another disappointing first half, going in 1-0 down. But things looked to have changed in the second half – new signing Nick Kalmar with a nice strike to level it and they looked like they may go on and win it. But it wasn’t to be with Victory hitting them on the break to win it - the red and black must now use the Asian Cup break to regroup.
An excellent three points on the road after a loss last time out to Glory. A rare and quite brilliant strike by Carl Valeri gave the Victory the upper-hand in the first half before the Wanderers came right back in it to level proceedings after the break. But after a counter-attack Bes Berisha made himself a nuisance in the box and Gui Finkler slammed home the loose ball to make it 2-1. Victory held on for an excellent win in western Sydney and they go into the Asian Cup break on a high.