Hyundai A-League Weekend Wrap
With only three games played this weekend, with the top of the table clash postponed due to Adelaide’s involvement at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, it was the chance for the teams just below to cement their spots in the top four.
With only three games played this weekend, with the top of the table clash postponed due to Adelaide-s involvement at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, it was the chance for the teams just below to cement their spots in the top four. The highlight clash was the local derby between the Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC at Bluetongue Stadium, with the home side getting the points with a late penalty goal. Queensland also needed a late goal to maintain its top four aspirations, with its first win at home against Newcastle, whose position at the foot of the table is now looking more permanent after Perth Glory grabbed a point on their travels to Wellington on Saturday.
Results - Round 15 Wellington Phoenix 1 drew Perth Glory 1 CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 2 beat Sydney FC 1 QUEENSLAND ROAR 2 beat Newcastle Jets 1
Perth Glory traveled to Westpac Stadium, looking for a rare result away from home and managed to secure a 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix. The result did neither side chances of claiming a top four position much good, especially Glory , who had taken the lead, but surrendered it late in the match to a fast finishing Phoenix. Wellington had the better of the early exchanges with former Glory midfielder Leo Bertos proving a handful for his former teammates. However the best chance of the half fell to leading goalscorer Shane Smeltz, whose shot from just outside the penalty box was inches the wrong side of the post. The second half saw the tempo of the game lift and soon after the restart Nikita Rukavytsya should have scored when he met a cross from the left, but his lunging effort from six yards hit the crossbar. It was the case of the same up the other end, with Smeltz unable to capitalise on an errant backpass, his first shot saved by Tando Velaphi, before he fired wildly over the bar from the rebound. The breakthrough came with 15 minutes remaining, when Eugene Dadi brilliantly converted his volley from side on. The Phoenix though fought back and equalised seven minutes later when Tim Brown was on the spot to head home after Velaphi could only parry Daniel-s shot into his path. Bertos almost stole the points with a terrific shot in injury time, which Velaphi tipped onto the crossbar at full stretch.
Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC fixtures are always full of entertainment, drama and a fair few goals. While the goals were not flowing in as they usually do at Bluetongue Stadium, there was no shortage of drama, intrigue and entertainment for the 11,000+ fans. The Mariners grabbed the early initiative with a goal from Dylan Macallister from just two metres out, after Clint Bolton was forced to save a wicked deflection that had come off Brendan Gan. The Mariners continued to dominate, but were unable to add to the score by half time. It was the same after the break, with the Mariners holding the ascendancy until a brain-snap from Danny Vukovic enabled Sydney back into the match. Vukovic cannoned into John Aloisi on the right edge of the box with little danger of Aloisi getting the ball and the for Mariner stepped up take the spot kick. Vukovic however appeared to redeem himself when he saved Aloisi-s penalty, but Aloisi was given a second chance when Pedj Bojic encroached too far for Ben Williams liking and he made no mistake this time. Sydney thought they had a second penalty shortly after, but were denied by a close offside call. As is the case with games between these two, the drama didn-t stop there and in the dying minutes, Macallister was stopped in his tracks in the penalty area by Iain Fyfe and Mile Jedinak put his penalty high into the net for the winning goal and a valuable three points that moved them to fourth spot, one place above Sydney.
The final match of the round, Saw Queensland Roar out to end one of the strangest anomalies since the inception of the Hyundai A-League. Not once in five previous meetings at Suncorp Stadium had Queensland managed a point at home against Newcastle, or for that matter even scored a goal. This fixture belongs to Joel Griffiths and his magnificent goal scoring record against Roar and from that end the trend continued, with Jobe Wheelhouse threading a beautiful through ball to Griffiths, who delightfully dinked his shot over the advancing Liam Reddy into the empty net. A change of plans by Frank Farina saw Mitch Nichols introduced to the game after 36 minutes and it proved a masterstroke, with Nichols heading home a Matt McKay cross with virtually the last play of the first half. The second half was an entertaining affair with both sides having good moments to add to their score. The turning point came with 20 minutes to go when a lunging tackle from Wheelhouse on Tahj Minniecon earned him a second yellow card and the Jets were down to ten men. Queensland upped the tempo and Danny Tiatto and Michael Zullo were denied by the woodwork within a matter of seconds. But Queensland-s relentless pressure finally paid dividends, when Tiatto crossed from the left and Serginho van Dijk neatly tucked his volley past Ante Covic for the winner. The win moved Queensland up to third place on the ladder, while Newcastle stay rooted to the foot of the table.
Weekend Goals Tally: 8
Card Count: 8 yellows - 1 red
Goal of the Week There was no absolute spectacular goals this weekend, but there was two pieces of finishing that were executed superbly. Perth Glory striker Eugene Dadi-s flying side-kick volley was perfectly hit and gave Glen Moss no chance, while Serginho van Dijk-s volley from cross showed deft touch to angle the ball across and past the outstretched dive of Ante Covic.
Player of the Week Dylan Macallister is making every post a winner at the moment and he was again superb for Central Coast in the win over Sydney. He might score many goals, but he did what a striker should do and capitalise on any mistake inside the box and it was his instinctive play that earned the Mariners the late penalty that eventually won them the game. As usual he worked hard, held the ball up brilliantly for his teammates and created chances for himself and others.
One to Watch Once again Frank Farina has given another promising youngster the chance to show his wares in the Hyundai A-League with the recently turned 17-year-old Thomas Oar making his debut against the Jets. Despite his small stature, Oar showed no signs of nerves and his first few runs down the left wing, saw him take on his defender one-on-one, which had the Roar of approval from fans.
Leading Goalscorers 9 - Shane Smeltz (WP) 8 - Matt Simon (CCM), Nikita Rukavytsya (PG), Eugene Dadi (PG), 7 - Charlie Miller (QR), Danny Allsopp (MV), Travis Dodd (AU), Cristiano (AU)} 6 - Joel Griffiths (NJ), Mile Jedinak (CCM) 5 - Archie Thompson (MV), Sasho Petrovski (CCM)