Hyundai A-League Season 6

Controversial Goal Helps Sydney Sink Wellington
By Jeremy Ruane
(with the compliments of

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 16
7:00pm, Wednesday 01 December, 2010 - Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 3
(Brendan Gan 14', Mark Bridge 73', Alex Brosque 76')
Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Dylan Macallister 82')

(Photo linked from FFA site)

The Hyundai A-League’s reigning champions, Sydney FC, moved within sight of the play-off places for the first time this season on 1 December, after scoring a 3-1 win over a Wellington Phoenix side which was hard done by on a couple of occasions in the game, particularly with the crucial third goal.

An uninspiring opening spell at a rain-soaked Sydney Football Stadium exploded into life in the twelfth minute when Mark Bridge gathered a clearance, flicked it over Jade North’s head and ran round to collect it before letting fly from twenty yards.

Mark Paston parried the effort, and recovered quickly to prevent Alex Brosque from turning home the loose ball - a fine double-save from the ‘keeper, who was unsighted two minutes later as Sydney opened the scoring to the delight of the measly, 4,012-strong crowd - the home team’s lowest ever attendance.

Brosque played Bridge in through the inside left channel, and the striker took the ball to the by-line before curling over a teasing cross to the far post. Arriving late on the scene was Brendan Gan, and the unmarked midfielder guided a cushioned header across Paston into the far corner of the net, the ‘keeper’s view having been obscured by a covering defender’s unsuccessful attempt to head Bridge’s cross to safety.

Nick Ward, with a twenty-five yard thunderbolt which brought the best out of Ivan Necevski, and Brosque, with a curling twenty yarder which wasn’t too far away, exchanged shots on goal before Wellington gained the upper hand in proceedings.

Ward played Paul Ifill through the inside right channel in the eighteenth minute, the striker standing up Hayden Foxe before clipping a cross to the far post from the by-line. Daniel was his intended target, but a fine tracking run by Shannon Cole prevented the Brazilian from having the chance to turn home the equaliser.

The visitors continued to press, and just before the half-hour mark, produced a flurry of chances from which they came desperately close to scoring. Daniel played Ifill in on the right, and his first-time shot on the run required a quality save from Necevski in the 26th minute.

Seconds later, Ward gave Cole the runaround in the penalty area and angled an inviting low cross into Ifill’s stride on the edge of the goal area. The striker’s attempt to hit the target was denied by a timely block from Terry McFlynn.

Still Wellington pressed, Manny Muscat leading the charge this time with a powerhouse tackle which stripped Stuart Musialik of possession near the centre circle. The midfielder then picked out Daniel with his pass, and he held the ball up well before crossing to the far post, where Tim Brown, arriving on cue, was unable to direct his header on target.

Sydney weathered this storm, and regained the upper hand after a midfield arm wrestle to finish the half looking the likelier team to score. But they enjoyed little change from a Wellington rearguard in which Andrew Durante was again in sound form, his best moment before half-time being a timely tackle which denied Brosque a shooting chance.

Wellington quickly gained the ascendancy in the second spell, but it was Sydney who were first to flex their attacking muscles, a 53rd minute counter-attack sparked by Sebastian Ryall seeing McFlynn, Hirofumi Moriyasu and Bridge combine, before the last-mentioned brought Brosque into play.

The striker scampered unchallenged through the inside left channel before, on reaching the penalty area, angling a shot across the advancing figure of Paston which scraped the paint off the base of the ‘keeper’s left-hand upright.

Wellington responded with a superb attack from which they should have equalised. Ricki Herbert had made a double change by the hour mark, the introduction of Marco Rojas again offering an injection of initiative which, until his arrival on the pitch, the visitors appeared to lack.

It was from a Rojas-led raid that Wellington earned a corner, which Ifill worked short to Muscat. His cross was a gem, as was the timed run of the other newcomer to the fray, Chris Greenacre, whose glancing header was superbly parried by Necevski.

But the ‘keeper could only look on in horror as the ball dropped invitingly into the stride of Brown, who stepped in ahead of Scott Jamieson to surely level the scores. Somehow, the midfielder contrived to prod his eight yard shot inches the wrong side of the post with the ‘keeper beaten and the goal at his mercy.

Sydney looked to capitalise on the let-off virtually straight away - Brosque just failed to get on the end of a miscued Cole shot in the 63rd minute. Cue a long-range attempt from Ward, which Necevski smothered, and a fine raid ignited by Greenacre in the 68th minute.

The substitute fed Brown, who sprayed a pass wide to Ifill. The striker roasted Ryall inside the penalty area, only to drill his shot wide of the near post - a moment when Wellington surely had to score to maintain their momentum.

Rojas looked to maintain it - why the youngster and Mirjan Pavlovic are used so sparingly in a team which too often errs on the side of caution in attack defies logic. All too often in this match, however, it was the delivery of the final ball which was Wellington’s downfall, and after Paston had gathered a thirty-yarder from substitute Terry Antonis, the visitors were made to pay for both their inaccuracy and their profligacy.

Seventeen minutes from time, Sydney stunned Wellington on the counter-attack to double their lead. Jamieson and McFlynn won a battle for possession in midfield, and Antonis swiftly took charge of the situation.

Bridge and Brosque - “The Killer Bs”, as they’re nicknamed - were buzzing around ahead of him, providing the youngster with options. Antonis went with Bridge, and the striker gleefully steered his shot across Paston into the far corner of the net to make it 2-0 with his first goal of the campaign.

Wellington were still reeling from this blow when they were dealt a savage one by referee Gerard Parsons. The official - perhaps due to being unsighted (i.e. what you can’t see, you can’t give) - ignored the visitors’ claims for a blatant handball offence by Ryall, as he guided the ball away from Ben Sigmund.

A couple of white-clad opponents instantly stopped playing to the whistle, and when Ryall, who was anticipating it being blown, never heard anything, on he went, swiftly linking with Bridge, who played Brosque in on the far side of the penalty area.

The striker’s finish beyond Paston was unerring - 3-0 - but Wellington players instantly converged on the referee to vent their feelings about the incident in the build-up which blew the scoreline out to such an extent that it in no way reflected the game.

Angered by the decision having gone against them, Wellington used their ire to set about reducing the deficit, and within six minutes, had struck gold. Vince Lia’s scintillating defence-splitting pass was latched onto in an instant by substitute Dylan MacAllister, and he deftly steered the ball first time beyond Necevski - 3-1.

Buoyed by their goal, the visitors piled on the pressure, Ifill leading the charge. Time and time again, he feinted, jinked and dribbled his way into the penalty area off the left flank, having more often than not found a way through the two defenders who were entrusted with containing him.

In the 84th minute, his industry resulted in Rojas blazing a twenty yarder over the bar, while Ifill should have had a penalty in the 87th minute, when Gan felled the striker in the area after he had evaded Ryall’s clutches once again.

Referee Parsons waved play on … one suspects he would have awarded a free-kick had the incident occurred outside the eighteen yard box, but like so many match officials these days, he lacked the courage of his convictions when it came to courting controversy.

Suffice to say, Ifill and company were not amused. With normal time all but up on the clock, they launched another raid, this time with Muscat enjoying the run of the left flank. His deep cross dropped beyond the far post into the stride of Ifill, who unleashed a quite exquisite volley - its technical excellence was flawless - which would have been a goal of the season contender had Necevski not produced a reflex parried save to keep it out.

His opposite number, too, had a parried save of his own to make in the time remaining, Paston denying Bridge with a solid stop to his right after the striker had rampaged in off the right upon springing the offside trap on receipt of a Dimitri Petratos pass.

That attack was the last of the match, and meant the reigning champions, 3-1 winners in this match, are now within a point of seventh-placed Wellington and well in play-off contention - who would have picked that after their horror start saw them fail to win any of their first ten games?

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 16
7:00pm, Wednesday 01 December, 2010 - Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 3
(Brendan Gan 14', Mark Bridge 73', Alex Brosque 76')
Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Dylan Macallister 82')

    Crowd: 4,012 (midweek, and rain all day and night)


    Sydney FC :
    Player listing:
    20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 5. Hayden FOXE, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU (16. Terry ANTONIS 64'), 7. Brendan GAN, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE (24. Dimitri PETRATOS 79'), 15. Terry McFLYNN (c), 19. Mark BRIDGE, 21. Scott JAMIESON (3. Stephan KELLER 75')

    Substitutes not used: 1. Liam REDDY (rgk)

    Coach: Vitislav Lavicka

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards: Nil

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Emmanuel MUSCAT, 4. Nick WARD (23. Dylan MacALLISTER 78'), 6. Tim BROWN, 8. Paul IFILL, 11. DANIEL (21. Marco ROJAS 56'), 13. Troy HEARFIELD (9. Chris GREENACRE 56'), 15. Jade NORTH, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c)

    Substitutes not used: 19. Danny VUKOVIC (rgk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Ben Sigmund 78'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Gerard Parsons 3/10
    Assistant referees: Daniel Dewhurst, Scott Edeling; Fourth official: Kurt Ams

    Pitch rating: 6/10

    Game rating: 4/10

    BOTN Player Points :

    3. Mark Bridge (SFC)
    2. Paul Ifill (WP)
    1. Terry McFlynn (SFC)

    Match Report by Jeremy Ruane

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here, unless attributed, are as supplied by FFA and used by permission.

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