Hyundai A-League Weekend Wrap - Round 17
Ladder-leading Melbourne rescued a late point despite playing a man down for the final 51 minutes in the opening match of the round in New Zealand against Wellington, with Sydney FC narrowing the gap at the top to three points when it emphatically got back to winning ways at home against North Queensland.
Results - Round 17 Wellington Phoenix 1, Melbourne Victory 1 Adelaide United 0, NEWCASTLE JETS 2 SYDNEY FC 4, North Queensland Fury 1 GOLD COAST UNITED 2, Central Coast Mariners 1 Perth Glory 1, Brisbane Roar 1
Game Wraps Ladder-leading Melbourne rescued a late point despite playing a man down for the final 51 minutes in the opening match of the round in New Zealand against Wellington, with Sydney FC narrowing the gap at the top to three points when it emphatically got back to winning ways at home against North Queensland.
The battle of third versus fourth saw Gold Coast United come from behind to also jump above Central Coast on the table, Newcastle jumped into the top six with an away win that kept Adelaide in the cellar and Perth and Brisbane had to be content with a point each after drawing 1-1 in the final game of the weekend.
A late goal by Rody Vargas earned 10-man Melbourne a 1-1 draw against the Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Friday night.
Tim Brown's 57th-minute header, after Nick Ward had been sent off for a second yellow card moments before the break, had looked to have been enough for the Phoenix until they were undone by some sloppy defending at the set piece with four minutes to go which allowed Vargas to steal in and head home the equaliser.
Sydney FC finally returned to winning ways after a clinical 4-1 victory over North Queensland Fury at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night.
Vitezslav Lavicka's men, led by man-of-the-match Karol Kisel, Alex Brosque and Steve Corica, produced champagne football at times, conjuring up images of their emphatic performance against Melbourne Victory back in October at Etihad Stadium as Brosque netted a double and Corica and John Aloisi also scored.
Gold Coast United produced a stellar come-from-behind effort to down the Central Coast Mariners 2-1 at Skilled Park on Saturday night.
Super-sub Andrew Barisic secured all three points for United midway through the second half to follow up Shane Smeltz's equaliser after Matt Simon had given the visitors the lead seven minutes before half-time.
Newcastle continued its recent impressive form with a 2-0 victory over Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night.
Coming off a big win over Sydney FC the week before, the Jets withstood everything the desperate Reds could throw at them, and the visitors' superior composure and conversion shone through, with skipper Matthew Thompson and Jin-Hyung Song coming up trumps with a goal apiece.
And a late goal to Perth veteran Jamie Harnwell secured a 1-1 draw for the Glory against Brisbane at ME Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Roar struggled to find any rhythm during the opening half but scored against the run of play just after the break when Luke DeVere prodded home before Harnwell eventually cracked through some staunch defence in the 78th minute, his scrappy goal sparking an exuberant celebration as he marked his return from a two-month absence with a knee injury.
Weekend Goals Tally: 14
Attendances (total / average): 39913/7983
Goal of the Week - John Aloisi A week after setting up a consolation goal for Alex Brosque in the home loss to Newcastle, only the former Qantas Socceroo's second goal for Sydney FC since Round 4 helped his club arrest a worrying three-game losing streak. After grabbing three goals inside the first month of the campaign only to then struggle with a knee injury, Aloisi smashed home for the fifth time this season to signal the start of his team's four-goal blitz.
Player of the Week - Shane Smeltz The Kiwi striker's prolific goal-scoring of the early season may not have been as evident in recent games but his 12th score of the season 20 minutes after half-time helped turn the momentum in Gold Coast's favour as it then went on to claim all three points and jump back to third on the table and cut the deficit behind the Victory to four points.
One to Watch - Rostyn Griffiths Just days after picking up the November nomination for the inaugural NAB Young Footballer of the Year award, Rostyn Griffiths marked the occasion with North Queensland's only goal in its disappointing trip to the New South Wales capital. His team may have been comfortably beaten but the 21-year-old found the net for the third time this season as he continues to impress in his first full season in the Hyundai A-League.
Leading Goalscorers after Round 17
12 - Shane SMELTZ
9 - Robbie FOWLER
8 - Archie THOMPSON, Sergio VAN DIJK
6 - Mark BRIDGE, Carlos HERNANDEZ, Paul IFILL, Matt SIMON
5 - John ALOISI, Alex BROSQUE, Chris GREENACRE, Branko JELIC, REINALDO, Mile STERJOVSKI
4 - Michael BRIDGES, Tim BROWN, Steve CORICA, Labinot HALITI, Victor SIKORA, Matt THOMPSON
3 - CRISTIANO, Rostyn GRIFFITHS, HENRIQUE, John HUTCHINSON, Daniel MCBREEN, Nik MRDJA, Lucas PANTELIS, Jin-Hyung SONG, Wayne SRHOJ
2 - Leo BERTOS, Pedj BOJIC, CASSIO, DANIEL CORTES, Jason CULINA, Dyron DAAL, Mate DUGANDZIC, Steven FITZSIMMONS, Jason HOFFMAN, Adam KWASNIK, Matthew LECKIE, Adrian LEIJER, Adriano PELLEGRINO, Joel PORTER, Nicky TRAVIS, Nick WARD
1 - Danny ALLSOPP, Costa BARBAROUSES, Andrew BARISIC, Nigel BOOGAARD, Grant BREBNER, Scott BULLOCH, Isaka CERNAK, Kofi DANNING, Luke DEVERE, David DODD, Travis DODD, Ahmad ELRICH, Ney FABIANO, Iain FYFE, Brendan GAN, Chris GROSSMAN, Jamie HARNWELL, 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, Rodrigo VARGAS, Alex WILKINSON