Hyundai A-League Season 6

Sigmund inspires Wellington
to upset Adelaide
By Jeremy Ruane
(with the compliments of

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 17
Sunday, 5 December 2010
at 'Caketin' - AMI Stadium, Wellington NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 2
(2 (Tim Brown 46’, Ben Sigmund 90’+4)
Adelaide United FC 1
(Sergio van Dijk 14')

(Linked from FFA site)

Wellington Phoenix scored their first come-from-behind victory of the season at AMI Stadium on December 5, Christchurch native Ben Sigmund setting up the equaliser and scoring a dramatic winner as the local side downed ten-man Adelaide United 2-1, much to the delight of the 14,108 fans present - Wellington’s biggest crowd of the season by some distance.

A generally quiet first half saw the first incident of note take place in the eleventh minute. Following a neat interchange down the left between Daniel and Vince Lia, the Brazilian’s cross found Nick Ward arriving on cue, but he blazed his shot over the bar.

Three minutes later, Adelaide responded with the game’s opening goal. A Cassio free-kick from ten yards inside Wellington’s half picked out the head of Sergio Van Dijk, who climbed all over a defender to meet the ball twelve yards out and power home a header via Mark Paston’s left-hand upright.

Three minutes later, the scorer almost struck again. Paul Reid sent Cassio off on a run down the left which saw the overlapping fullback give Ward the runaround before picking out Van Dijk at the near post.

The striker’s shot on the turn was blocked at point blank range by Andrew Durante, who was booked for a foul on the marksman six minutes later, and further incurred Adelaide’s ire just before half-time when felling Marcos Flores at the start of a Wellington attack which culminated in Paul Ifill hitting the side-netting after he burst into the box, picking up the pieces after Daniel had been brought down, fairly in referee Peter O’Leary’s eyes.

Flores found himself in the wars in this match, firstly clashing heads with Lia in the 24th minute, then earning himself a booking as he allowed his frustrations to get the better of him - the man-marking job of Manny Muscat was clearly having the desired effect, and led to the Argentine’s withdrawal from the fray eleven minutes from time.

The title contenders were able to cause problems despite their playmaker’s problems, such as in the 31st minute, when Iain Ramsay rampaged down the left and whipped in a cross which Wellington defenders simply admired. Fabian Barbiero raced up from fullback to meet the ball on the volley and send it sizzling over Paston’s crossbar.

Ward had also fired another effort over Adelaide’s crossbar prior to this effort, and it was his deflected twenty yarder which brought the first save of note in the match ten minutes before half-time.

Eugene Galekovic dealt capably with this attempt, and more flamboyantly when Lia let fly an acute angled drive four minutes before the interval. But Adelaide’s ’keeper took up the task of fishing the ball out of the back of his net right at the start of the second half, as Wellington equalised 33 seconds after the resumption of play.

Sigmund had been a central figure throughout the first half as Wellington looked to get back into the match, and he certainly played a pivotal role in the equaliser, his well-timed run rewarded by Ward’s defence-splitting pass which allowed the fullback to pick out the fast-arriving figure of Brown in the goalmouth - from four yards, he couldn’t miss.

1-1 then, a goal which set up a stirring second half, and sparked a lively response from the visitors, who saw this match as a chance to close the gap on leaders Brisbane Roar, ahead of United’s upcoming schedule which sees them playing six games in a twenty-three day spell.

This was Wellington’s fifth game in sixteen days, and it showed on the occasions United were allowed to string together some rapier-like thrusts which carved their opponents apart.

Such as the one in the fiftieth minute, Travis Dodd’s stirring run culminating in a slide-rule pass for Iain Ramsay to deliver a first-time cross beyond the far post. Van Dijk, on cue, rose to head the ball across for Flores, but his minder was on duty - Muscat’s headed clearance averted the danger.

Cue another riveting Adelaide raid eight minutes later. Dodd, Reid and Flores were all involved, as was Ramsay, whose low cross had Van Dijk as its target. So did Durante - the defender thwarted the striker’s attempt to turn the ball home again.

On the hour, Lia’s lunge denied Van Dijk as he looked to get on the end of a Flores header, following Barbiero’s angled cross, while in the 66th minute Flores pounced on a sloppy Troy Hearfield clearance to superbly set up Ramsay, fifteen yards out and with Paston to beat.

A deft chip was the right option, but the striker’s execution was of the steepling kind - over both ‘keeper and crossbar it soared, much to the relief of the Wellington players and their Christchurch-based supporters.

Spurred on by this let-off, and the attacking forays of recently introduced substitute Marco Rojas, Wellington gradually got the better of Adelaide, and should have done so on the scoreboard in the 68th minute.

Ward - his best game yet in a Wellington shirt - sprayed the ball wide to Rojas, who got the better of Cassio before whipping in a low cross which Iain Fyfe allowed to pass behind him, only to discover Ifill was lurking with intent.

The striker was so stunned by his opponent’s blunder that he made an even worse one himself - prodding the ball wide of the target from six yards, much to Galekovic’s relief, and, no doubt, that of Fyfe.

Twenty minutes from time, Ward unleashed a stinging twenty-five yard free-kick which cleared the crossbar by not a lot, while a Durante-inspired counter-attack saw Rojas, Ifill and Ward all fail to take chances when they were offered - too many touches were taken when trigger-pulling was preferred.

Wellington came desperately close to taking the lead in the 76th minute. Hearfield cleared the ball upfield to Ifill, who held up play intelligently while team-mates raced up in support.

Leading the charge was Brown, who was provided with a peach of a pass, onto which he strode and struck a first-time angled rising drive from eight yards out which Galekovic tipped onto the underside of the crossbar. The ball bounced back into play, allowing Cassio to hook it clear.

That was a real let-off for Adelaide, and more were to follow. Ifill and Rojas combined ten minutes from time, but the youngster’s cross went behind Brown. Fortunately for Wellington, Ward was on his team-mate’s shoulder, and deftly back-heeled the ball into Ifill’s stride.

The striker’s deft chip narrowly cleared the crossbar, while Rojas’ rasping drive two minutes later was blocked by Galekovic, after the substitute had set up Ward, only for Robert Cornthwaite to block the midfielder’s shot at close quarters.

Seven minutes from time, referee Peter O’Leary made an error of judgement which Dodd was rightly miffed by. Adelaide’s captain was involved in a tussle with Lia which left the visiting player off-balance, and as Lia fell forward, his head and Dodd’s boot briefly connected.

The official was right on the spot, and stopped play immediately before reaching for his back pocket. Out came the red card - Dodd was sent off, to the disbelief of all-comers, let alone the dismissed player.

Down a man, Adelaide were further incensed sixty seconds later when the official chose to award a free-kick - and nothing more - for what was certainly a bookable incident. But the late-arriving figure of Ward escaped punishment for colliding with Galekovic … while in the ninetieth minute, referee O’Leary intervened again, this time to send Wellington coach Ricki Herbert from the technical area, for reasons unknown.

Thankfully, the official’s attempts to steal the limelight in the dying minutes were upstaged by a grandstand finish, during which Galekovic smothered Ifill’s shot before producing a brilliant point-blank save to deny Brown in a one-on-one situation, after Ifill and Dylan MacAllister had combined to prise open Adelaide’s defence.

In between these close calls came the closest one of all, Ifill again the instigator. This time, he turned Cassio a treat before whipping an inviting cross across the face of goal. The diving figure of Chris Greenacre was inches away from connecting with it, as were Brown and, on the far post, MacAllister - how the ball stayed out defied logic.

But stay out it did, and a 94th minute Wellington raid resulted in a corner. Rojas whipped the ball in, and leaping salmon-like through the gathered throngs was Sigmund, the local boy made good.

He certainly did on this occasion, guiding his header wide of Galekovic and in by the post to clinch a deserved come-from-behind 2-1 victory for Wellington, who have leapt into fifth place with this win, which could well prove a springboard towards their principle target - the end-of-season play-offs.

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 17
Sunday, 5 December 2010
at 'Caketin' - AMI Stadium, Wellington NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 2
(2 (Tim Brown 46’, Ben Sigmund 90’+4)
Adelaide United FC 1
(Sergio van Dijk 14')

    Crowd: 14,108


    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 4. Nick WARD (23. Dylan MACALLISTER 88’), 6. Tim BROWN, 8. Paul IFILL, 11. DANIEL (21. Marco ROJAS 61’), 13. Troy HEARFIELD (9. Chris GREENACRE 81’), 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: Andrew DURANTE 23’, Chris GREENACRE 85’, Nick WARD 87’
    Red Cards: Nil

    Adelaide United FC :
    Player listing:
    1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 4.Iain FYFE, 6.CASSIO, 8.Adam HUGHES, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 10.Marcos FLORES (7.Lucas PANTELIS 79’), 12.Paul REID (85’), 13.Travis DODD (c), 17.Iain RAMSAY (24.Cameron WATSON 79’), 18.Fabian BARBIERO

    Substitutes not used: 30. Mark Birighitti (rgk)

    Coach: Rini Coolen

    Yellow Cards: Marcos FLORES 38’, Robert CORNTHWAITE 42’'
    Red Cards: Travis DODD 84’

    Referee: Peter O’Leary 3/10
    Assistant referees: Mark Rule, Glen Lochrie; Fourth official: Matthew Conger

    Pitch rating: 7/10

    Game rating: 7/10

    BOTN Player Points :

    3. Ben Sigmund (All Wellington - no-one from Adelaide stood out)
    2. Manny Muscat
    1. Andrew Durante

    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 or made available by FFA and used by permission.

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