Hyundai A-League Weekend Wrap - Round 16
Reigning champion Melbourne has opened up a five-point lead at the top of the Hyundai A-League table after Round 16 thanks to its demolition of a depleted Gold Coast United and Sydney FC's third-straight defeat, this time at home to Newcastle.
Results - Round 16 Central Coast 0, Perth Glory 0 MELBOURNE VICTORY 4, Gold Coast United 0 NORTH QUEENSLAND FURY 2, Adelaide United 1 Sydney FC 1, NEWCASTLE JETS 3 BRISBANE ROAR 4, Wellington Phoenix 1
Game Wraps Reigning champion Melbourne has opened up a five-point lead at the top of the Hyundai A-League table after Round 16 thanks to its demolition of a depleted Gold Coast United and Sydney FC's third-straight defeat, this time at home to Newcastle.
In other results, Central Coast failed to continue its recent prolific scoring feats as it failed to find the back of the net in a scoreless draw with Perth Glory, North Queensland bounced back from its disappointing loss the week before to down Adelaide United and Brisbane powered away in the second half to comfortably account for Wellington.
Victory coach Ernie Merrick and his players spent the days leading up to Saturday night's clash at Etihad Stadium declaring that they wanted to start playing as well at home as they have been on the road and against a Gold Coast team missing half a dozen regulars because of injury or suspension the team certainly lived up to its word.
Robbie Kruse's first goal in a Melbourne jersey from distance got the ball rolling and Nick Ward doubled the advantage moments before the break from outside the area as well. The loss of Grant Brebner before the interval to an ankle injury couldn't slow the hosts after the resumption either as Archie Thompson's seventh and eighth goals of the campaign put the result beyond doubt.
A week after surrendering the points at home to the Phoenix, the Jets responded in emphatic fashion to grab their first victory at the SFS in four-and-a-half seasons of trying. Michael Bridges struck either side of half-time before Matt Thompson made it 3-0 near the hour mark before Alex Brosque's goal made the final 15 minutes tense but only proved a consolation.
Ange Postecoglou's men handed him his second win in charge of the Roar in convincing fashion at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday night. Reinaldo opened the scoring only for Chris Greenacre to have the Phoenix level at half-time but Reinaldo's second, quickly followed by the dismissal of Manny Muscat, saw the floodgates open as Sergio van Dijk and David Dodd also got on the scoresheet.
The Fury were out to atone after being thumped 5-1 at home the previous week by the Mariners and atone they did at Dairy Farmers Stadium thanks to goals either side of half-time to Daniel McBreen and skipper Robbie Fowler. The Reds did pull one back in stoppage time through Cristiano but it was too late as North Queensland grabbed its fourth win of the campaign and climbed off the bottom.
And the Mariners were unable to maintain the recent form that had seen them put four goals past the Victory and five past the Fury as they had to settle for a point from their first game at Bluetongue Stadium in six weeks against the Glory. The point gained did, however, lift Central Coast above Gold Coast United to third on the ladder thanks to a far superior goal difference.
Weekend Goals Tally: 16
Attendances (total / average): 50171/10034
Goal of the Week - Archie Thompson On a weekend that featured plenty of spectacular long-range goals it was arguably Archie Thompson's second that stood out thanks to his clinical finish and the superb build-up. With some smart interplay from defender Rody Vargas and Robbie Kruse the ball found its way to Thompson lurking inside the area and from an acute angle he finished well from side on giving Scott Higgins no chance and wrapping up the 4-0 result.
Player of the Week - Michael Bridges Playing against his former team, the Englishman struck two killer blows in his first return to the SFS wearing the Jets jersey. Having had a goal disallowed for offside earlier, Bridges delivered the first goal from the spot after his one-two with Jin-Hyung Song resulted in the South Korean being brought down by Rhyan Grant. For his second he ran onto a superb through ball from skipper Matt Thompson and then with Clint Bolton to beat he guided his shot superbly into the left corner with little space between the post and Bolton, who had expected him to cut his shot back across goal. The points helped the Jets climb to eighth and within a point of the top six.
One to Watch - Nick Ward Only just back in the line-up the week before after a layoff that dated back to Round 5 following an infection in a groin injury, Ward was one of Melbourne's best in the win over Gold Coast and will have appreciated the second game under his belt. Having last just under an hour in Round 15 and then played the full game on Saturday night, expect to see Ward getting even more involved in coming weeks.
Leading Goalscorers after Round 16
11 - Shane Smeltz
9 - Robbie Fowler
8 - Archie Thompson, Sergio Van Dijk
6 - Mark Bridge, Carlos Hernandez, Paul Ifill,
5 - Chris Greenacre, Branko Jelic, Reinaldo, Matt Simon, Mile Sterjovski
4 - John Aloisi, Michael Bridges, Labinot Haliti, Victor Sikora
3 - Alex Brosque, Tim Brown, Steve Corica, Cristiano, Henrique, John Hutchinson, Daniel McBreen, Nik Mrdja, Lucas Pantelis, Wayne Srhoj, Matt Thompson
2 - Leo Bertos, Pedj Bojic, Cassio, Daniel Cortes, Jason Culina, Dyron Daal, Mate Dugandzic, Steven Fitzsimmons, Rostyn Griffiths, Jason Hoffman, Adam Kwasnik, Matthew Leckie, Adrian Leijer, Adriano Pellegrino, Joel Porter, Jin-Hyung Song, Nicky Travis, Nick Ward
1 - Danny Allsopp, Costa Barbarouses, Nigel Boogaard, Grant Brebner, Scott Bulloch, Isaka Cernak, Kofi Danning, David Dodd, Travis Dodd, Ahmad Elrich, Ney Fabiano, Iain Fyfe, Brendan Gan, Chris Grossman, Troy Hearfield, Dean Heffernan, Todd Howarth, Adam Hughes, Karol Kisel, Robbie Kruse, Michael Mcglinchey, Terry Mcflynn, Charlie Miller, Tahj Minniecon, Milson, Craig Moore, Kevin Muscat, Jason Naidovski, Mitch Nichols, Lloyd Owusu, Tomislav Pondeljak, Sean Rooney, Ben Sigmund, John Tambouras, Danny Tiatto, Alex Wilkinson