How your team fared and who made the headlines from the weekend’s round of Hyundai A-League football.
What a relief for the Jets and coach Phil Stubbins as they finally secured their first win of the season at the 11 th attempt against Adelaide United on Friday night. Goals from Scott Neville and former Red Jeronimo Neumann handed Newcastle a morale-boosting victory against the Westfield FFA Cup champions. Without a host of experienced players, Stubbins used a new 3-4-3 formation which seemed to suit them well and could be the way forward. The only concern was a calf injury to the impressive Edson Montano who hobbled off in the second half. The Jets will hope he’s alright for the trip to Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
The Reds came back down to earth following their Westfield FFA Cup triumph on Tuesday night, going down to the desperate Jets. Whether Josep Gombau’s side was suffering a hangover from securing the season’s first piece of silverware 72 hours earlier is unknown but they certainly looked a little flat. Craig Goodwin’s goal drew them level but they were undone late-on by the player they let go – Jeronimo – at the end of last season. While Adelaide are still well-placed on the ladder, it’s now three defeats from their last four Hyundai A-League matches which they will want to arrest, starting with the game against Sydney FC on Boxing Day.
City secured bragging rights against their fierce local rivals with a gripping 1-0 at AAMI Park on Saturday night. Erik Paartalu bobbed up to head home the winner in stoppage time to make it back-to-back wins for John van’t Schip’s men who move into the top six in time for Christmas. With marquee man Robbie Koren making his long-awaited debut off the bench after a long-term injury and with Josh Kennedy to be available in the New Year, things are looking more promising for City to make a genuine push for the finals. A Boxing Day clash with league-leaders Perth Glory will answer a few more questions.
Kevin Muscat’s side will be left to rue a late defensive lapse as they slumped to their first defeat of the season to lose ground on leaders Perth at the top. While it wasn’t Victory’s most fluent performance of the season, they will feel like they deserved a draw after Fahid Ben Khalfallah’s second-half goal was controversially chalked off for offside. Skipper Mark Milligan’s absence – serving the first of a three-game ban – was sorely felt in the middle of the park but the return from injury of the influential Gui Finkler was a positive ahead of a home clash against a resurgent Newcastle next Saturday.
Glory overcame their disappointing Westfield FFA Cup final defeat in style, crushing the struggling Central Coast 4-1 at nib Stadium on Saturday night. The emphatic victory meant Kenny Lowe’s troops moved six points clear at the top as well as becoming just the second team in Hyundai A-League history to win nine of their first 11 matches of the campaign. Two goals to Chris Harold indicates Glory have the depth to fill the void of injured duo Youssouf Hersi and Mitch Nichols while Daniel De Silva underlined why he’s heading to AS Roma next season with an audacious volleyed goal.
It was another forgettable night for the Mariners who simply had no answer to Glory’s pace, power and finesse in the west. The pressure is continuing to build on coach Phil Moss, whose side have now gone 10 games without a victory. Matt Simon continues to impress though and grabbed a well deserve goal in the second half but the Mariners need to get more out of those around him to stop the rot. Central Coast face a season-defining three matches before the Asian Cup break which will go a long way to determining their finals fate, starting with a visit of champions Brisbane Roar FC next Saturday.
The Sky Blues patchy run of results continued as they went down 2-0 to Wellington Phoenix at a sun-drenched Allianz Stadium on Sunday. Despite dominating the first half, Graham Arnold’s side couldn’t capitalize one a number of good chances and were made to pay after the break. It’s now just one win from their last seven matches as Sydney have now dropped to fifth on the ladder. Already without Ali Abbas, Corey Gameiro and Nick Carle to season-ending knee injuries, there cause wasn’t helped with skipper Alex Brosque forced to withdraw with a groin strain. News Sasa Ognenovski’s hip problem is showing no signs of improvement means it will be a concerning Christmas around Moore Park before their vital Boxing Day clash with Adelaide United.
Ernie Merrick’s revolution at Phoenix continues to take shape with a hard-earned road win against the Sky Blues. The result was not only Wellington’s second straight on the road but it also saw them leapfrog Sydney up to fourth on the ladder. Nathan Burns continued his incredible run of form with both goals, taking his tally for the season to 10 to lead the scoring charts. He is a near certainty for Ange Postecoglou’s Asian Cup squad. But it will also be the resolute defensively performance that will please the boss ahead of a crunch home match with a desperate Western Sydney Wanderers FC next Sunday.