How your team fared and who made the headlines in the latest round of #SummerFootball in the Hyundai A-League.
The Jets threw their recent resurgence out the window with a crushing 5-2 defeat to Melbourne City FC at Hunter Stadium on Tuesday. Newcastle’s horror afternoon starting inside three minutes when they gave away a penalty and it just got worse from there. Coach Phil Stubbins has some big decisions to make in the Asian Cup break with a host of his players and needs to try and find a way to fix their troubles. Edson Montano again showed he has goals in him – scoring his third of the season – while Andrew Hoole is getting better every game but they have some serious defensive issues to solve ahead of their game with Sydney FC in Wollongong on Saturday night.
See Phil Stubbins' post-match press conference
Melbourne City FC
John van‘t Schip’s side appear to be hitting their straps at just the right time. They were simply superb in demolishing the Jets, with marquee man Robert Koren and Irishman Damien Duff leading the way. Koren, making his first start, finished with a hat-trick while Duff scored one and had a hand in two others. It looking like they will finally start reaching their potential now all their key players are fit and finding form. But they still need to sort out a few defensive lapses before they can be considered genuine title chances. Start 2015 with a trip to Central Coast on Sunday.
Brisbane Roar FC
Brisbane are still searching for their first home win this season after being held to scrappy 0-0 draw with Sydney FC at Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday night. Frans Thijssen’s side couldn’t get their flowing passing game going on a bumpy surface and had to settle for their third draw in six games under their new boss. Having conceded three times against Central Coast last time out, the clean sheet will have come as a relief for Roar but there is a concern over Luke Brattan’s fitness, with the midfielder limping off in the second half with a leg problem. He is unlikely to be right for the trip to Wellington to play Phoenix on Sunday.
The Sky Blues managed to break out of their mini-losing run with a hard-earned point on the road. Coach Graham Arnold wanted a clean sheet after shipping 10 goals in their previous four matches and his patched-up side managed to deliver. Youngster Aaron Calver did well at right-back on his first start for the season, while ‘keeper Vedran Janjetovic continued his impressive season with a couple of key saves. They will now look to build on this result against the struggling Jets in a home match at WIN Stadium in Wollongong on Saturday.
It was a disappointing end to 2014 for the Reds, going down 3-1 at home to Wellington Phoenix on New Year’s Eve. Adelaide was without playmaker Marcelo Carrusca (injured), skipper Eugene Galekovic (Socceroos duty) and defenders Nigel Boogaard and Tarek Elrich (both suspended) and their absences showed. Sergio Cirio continued his hot-streak with the Reds’ solitary goal while stand-in ‘keeper Paul Izzo pulled off some great saves in a rare appearance deputising for Galekovic. Coach Josep Gombau will be hoping for some improvement though ahead of the trip to Perth on Monday.
Phoenix produced another performance on the road to stun the Reds and leapfrog them on the Hyundai A-League ladder to sit in third heading into the year. Even without leading scorer Nathan Burns, Ernie Merrick’s side still found goals when they needed them, thanks largely to a two-goal haul from ‘super sub’ Tyler Boyd. Not even a touchline fracas involving Manny Muscat, Pablo Sanchez, Andrew Durante and Gombau could halt the Kiwi side from knocking off the Westfield FFA Cup winners on their home patch. Only inconsistent Brisbane on Sunday stand between Phoenix and a fourth straight win before the Asian Cup break.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC
The Wanderers drew a blank for the fourth straight game as they were held 0-0 at home by the Central Coast Mariners on New Year’s Day. Tony Popovic’s misfiring squad has now gone seven hours of play without finding the back of the net in the Hyundai A-League. Imports Vitor Saba and Seyi Adeleke were again both left out of the squad, making it increasingly likely they will be on their way out of the club in the January transfer window. New signing Nick Kalmar made an encouraging start to his Wanderers career but the Wanderers will need to find some more cutting edge ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Melbourne Victory.
Central Coast Mariners
The Mariners produced a strong defensive display to come away from ‘Wanderland’ with a well-deserved point. While they didn’t have the same attacking potency they had against Brisbane a few days earlier, their defence held firm which will have been pleasing to coach Phil Moss. They may have even taken all three points if not for a crucial triple save by Wanderers goal-keeper Ante Covic just before half-time. Attacking reinforcements are on the agenda in the upcoming transfer window but they will need to get more from the likes of Simon, Duke, Caceres and Trifiro for Sunday’s visit of the in-form City.
Victory missed the chance to close the gap on the league-leaders, going down 2-1 to Perth Glory on Friday night. More than 21,000 fans packed into Simonds Stadium in Geelong but the home side was made to pay for a slow start as they trailed 2-0 at the break. They threatened a come-back and pulled one back through Besart Berisha’s penalty but weren’t able to muster an equaliser and have now lost two of their last three matches but remain in second spot. The defeat was also Victory’s first in 12 matches in front of their home fans. A fifth booking of the season to defender Adrian Leijer capped a disappointing night for Kevin Muscat’s side, meaning he will miss the clash with the Wanderers on Tuesday.
If there were still any doubts over Glory’s title prospects they have well and truly been dispelled now with a huge win on the road over many expert’s favourites for the championship in Melbourne Victory. Kenny Lowe’s impressive outfit is now seven points clear at the top of the table and look good things to go on and win the Premiers’ Plate. Leading scorer Andy Keogh continued his stellar season with a classy opener while Chris Harold also got on the score-sheet to make it 10 games unbeaten, the first time Glory have managed that in the Hyundai A-League. They now get a chance for revenge for their Westfield FFA Cup final defeat to Adelaide when they play the Reds on Monday night.