Hyundai A-League Weekend Wrap - Round 11
There was no shortage of drama and intrigue as we go past the half way mark of the season.
With a shortened round this weekend, with the Central Coast and Adelaide United game being played next weekend, there was no shortage of drama and intrigue as we go past the half way mark of the season. Wellington Phoenix upset Sydney FC for the second time this season; Archie Thompson returned to once again drive more pain into Queensland Roar-s home ground curse and there was late drama at Members Equity Stadium, as Perth Glory salvaged a point against Newcastle Jets.
Results - Round 11 Sydney FC 1 lost WELLINGTON PHOENIX 2 Queensland Roar 0 lost MELBOURNE VICTORY 1 Perth Glory 2 drew Newcastle Jets 2 Central Coast Mariners v Adelaide United - being played Saturday 15 November @ 7.30pm
Wellington Phoenix maintained its psychological stranglehold over Sydney FC, with a 2-1 win at the Sydney Football Stadium. It-s the third win this season (including Pre-Season Cup) for Wellington over Sydney and was thoroughly deserved, even though it came in fairly controversial circumstances. Wellington, having spent the previous four days in camp in Sydney, came out of the blocks strongly and looked the more likely to score and duly did after 34 minutes when Leo Bertos headed home a superb cross from Tim Brown. Sydney were handed a lifeline with 12 minutes remaining, when Stuart Musialik-s speculative shot from distance somehow squeezed underneath Mark Paston-s body. Wellington though were not to be denied and when Shane Smeltz- s cross from the right, struck Tony Popovic on the arm with just a minute of regular time remaining. Smeltz stepped up and made no mistake from the spot to move him level with Matt Simon at the leading goalscorers list. The win moved Wellington off bottom spot and just three points out of the top four.
After successive victories on the road, Queensland Roar returned home looking to break the hoodoo that is, winning at Suncorp Stadium. But once again the gods were against them, as a thunderstorm struck prior to kick-off and during the game and were up against a fired up Melbourne Victory side, who had Archie Thompson and Ney Fabiano returning from suspension. Both showed plenty of attacking endeavour in a pulsating first half, with Queensland-s Massimo Murdocca a constant threat, while Fabiano went close with a header that struck the crossbar. After the break it was Melbourne that created the better chances with Liam Reddy making a great save to deny a Fabiano free kick, while Billy Celeski saw a powerful shot strike the base of the post. The winner came with 20 minutes left, Danny Allsopp flicking on Celeski-s corner and Thompson was unmarked at the back post to head home. Queensland fought valiantly for an equaliser, but again rued the clinical touch in front of goal, much to the disappointment of their loyal fans.
Sunday-s bottom of the table clash between Perth Glory and defending Champions Newcastle Jets produced plenty of thrills, spills, drama and controversy at Members Equity Stadium. The match eventually finished 2-2, which was probably a fair result, but did neither sides hopes of a top four finish or avoiding the wooden spoon any good. Newcastle jumped out to an early lead, Joel Griffiths capitalising on good work by Jobe Wheelhouse and Tarek Elrich, with Griffiths smashing his shot past Tando Velaphi. A poor pass by Jets keeper Ante Covic, which went straight to Wayne Srhoj resulted in an equaliser after 27 minutes. Srhoj played ball to Nikita Rukavytsya, who created space for himself and thumped the ball past Covic. Newcastle then made it 2-1 right on half time, Mark Milligan picking out Elrich with a superb long ball, with Elrich chesting down brilliantly to his advantage and then holding off the attentions of Scott Bulloch and hitting his shot past Velaphi. On the hour, Perth-s hopes of comeback looked over when captain Jamie Coyne was sent off, but within nine minutes both teams were down to 10 men, after Daniel Piorkowski was sent off for his lunge at Scott Bulloch. Perth came home the stronger in looking for an equaliser and with regular time all but over, Adrian Trinidad with some skill, worked his way into the box, where he was blocked by Jade North after the Argentine was first to a header, resulting in a penalty to the home side. There was more drama to follow with Eugene Dadi having to successfully convert his spot kick twice, after Perth encroached during the first attempt.
Weekend Goals Tally: 8
Card Count: 7 yellows - 2 reds
Attendance/Average: 32,715 / 10,905
Goal of the Week Several terrific goals this week, but none better than Tarek Elrich-s, not only for its execution, but its timing as well. The 30-mtere pass from Mark Milligan was perfect and the way Elrich brought it down to his advantage off his chest was superb. He then had to fend off the attention of Scott Bulloch before burying his shot past Tando Velaphi. This all coming with just a minute left before half time.
Player of the Week It-s never easy coming to Sydney and winning games, but Wellington Phoenix are making a habit of it, with two wins in successive appearances at the Sydney Football Stadium. Chief architect of the win was midfielder and captain Tim Brown who was outstanding both in attack and defence. It was his cross that saw Wellington open the scoring and his work in breaking up Sydney attacks was pivotal throughout the game.
One to Watch Tim Smits is another player from the Queensland youth production line. He has been on the verge of cracking the Hyundai A-League for several years and was finally rewarded for his excellent Queensland State League form with a contract at the start of this season. Has been in and out of the side so far this season, but is starting to show some of the form that Frank Farina knows he possesses.
Leading Goalscorers 7- Matt Simon (CCM), Shane Smeltz (WP), 6 - Danny Allsopp (MV), Charlie Miller (QR), Nikita Rukavytsya (PG), 5 - Cristiano (AU), Travis Dodd (AU), Joel Griffiths (NJ), Eugene Dadi (PG) 4 - Mile Jedinak (CCM), Archie Thompson (MV), Kevin Muscat (MV)