Hyundai A-League Season 6

Gold Coast Down Wellington
In Rugged Contest
By Jeremy Ruane
(with the compliments of

A-League - 2010/2011 Season - Round 18
8:15pm, Saturday 11 December 2010
at Skilled Stadium, Robina

Gold Coast United FC 2
(Bas van den Brink 21’, James Brown 66’')
Wellington Phoenix FC 0

(Linked from FFA site)

Gold Coast United scored a comfortable 2-0 victory over Wellington Phoenix at a rain-soaked Skilled Park on December 11, 1,716 fans braving the elements to witness a rugged Hyundai A-League encounter which never rose to any great heights, apart from the eight-strong booking count.

There were few chances inside a scrappy first twenty minutes, with Wellington first to go close to scoring. Daniel’s corner was cleared to Manny Muscat, who played the ball back to the corner-taker. Chris Greenacre dashed in to meet his near post cross, and the striker was mere inches away from opening the scoring.

The home team retorted six minutes later via a Jason Culina free-kick which picked out the unmarked Dino Djulbic. Like Greenacre, he should have done far better - his glancing header fizzed wide of Mark Paston’s left-hand upright.

Wellington were conceding free-kicks like confetti around this time, and it was a wonder their physical approach to the contest didn’t incur the ire of referee Allan Milliner more often than it did.

Tim Brown was very fortunate to escape a booking for scything down Zenon Caravella, seconds after the substitute had entered the fray to replace the injured Robson. Vince Lia was rightly booked for clattering into Bas Van den Brink, who had got his retaliation in beforehand - in the 21st minute, to be precise.

For it was the defender whose well-timed run saw him dart in ahead of Andrew Durante to meet Culina’s outswinging corner and send a bullet header flashing past Paston and into the net off the base of his left-hand upright - 1-0 Gold Coast.

Another Culina set-piece - this time a 25th minute free-kick - found Kristian Rees coming in behind all-comers beyond the far post, and the former Wellington defender saw his header beat Paston, only to cannon to safety off the outside of the upright.

Wellington regrouped, and it was Paul Ifill who led the charge, after Muscat had won possession in midfield. The striker set off on a slaloming run which saw him thrash an angled 27th minute drive over Glen Moss’ crossbar, three minutes before the ’keeper needed two attempts to save a rasping twenty-five yarder from Muscat.

Ifill then combined with Sigmund on the right to present Daniel with the chance to run at Gold Coast’s defence, something which the Brazilian did with aplomb. His rifled drive deflected narrowly past Moss’ left-hand post.

While the resulting corner was cleared, the ball found its way back to Daniel, whose teasing cross only just failed to pick out Greenacre, but still gave Moss cause aplenty for concern. The ‘keeper did well, however, smothering the ball well as it landed on the greasy and treacherous playing surface.

Three minutes before half-time, Caravella played the ball over the head of Troy Hearfield for Bruce Djite to pursue. The striker collided with Paston as he looked to lift the ball over the advancing goalkeeper, and the sight of the All Whites’ custodian being stretchered off with what was later diagnosed as torn knee ligaments was a sobering note on which to conclude a hard-fought first 45 minutes.

It seemed to affect referee Milliner more than most, for the second half contrasted starkly with the first, in terms of the way foul play was addressed. Where in the first half, tackles had largely gone unpunished, anything which hinted at being of an unruly nature after half-time saw the yellow card brandished without hesitation.

It made for a stop-start affair with players left in two minds about committing themselves to a challenge. As a result, there was little quality play of note - at least that aspect of the game was consistent with what had gone on in the first spell!

Both goalkeepers were tested inside the first ten minutes of the second half, with Moss grabbing a goal-bound header from Ifill moments before Danny Vukovic smothered a driven twenty-yard free-kick from Culina, the set-piece awarded for yet another foul by Wellington in their defensive third.

The contest was settled half-way through the second spell. Culina’s latest free-kick was cleared to Van den Brink, who headed the ball back into the danger zone. As Wellington defenders stood watching developments, Rees lashed a shot at the target, which Vukovic parried.

He was unable to recover in time to prevent James Brown from stealing in to turn home the loose ball, however - 2-0, and Wellington faced with a mountain to climb, especially given coach Ricki Herbert was sitting up in the stand, watching developments from on high while fulfilling his one week suspension.

The visitors offered little attacking initiative in response - even game-breaking substitute Marco Rojas was subdued by his standards. Their only chance came nine minutes from time, when Muscat sent Ifill through one-on-one with a superb pass.

Moss spread himself superbly to thwart the striker, three minutes after Vukovic, at the other end, had turned a Culina shot to safety after Gold Coast’s captain had turned Durante inside out following a Steve Pantelidis - inspired raid.

2-0 was Gold Coast’s lot, however, one with which they were quite satisfied, given it maintained their third placing. Wellington, meanwhile, drop out of the play-off spots again, but such is the closeness of the teams placed fifth to tenth that the teams which fifth and sixth are unlikely to be known much before the final round-robin fixtures take place.

A-League - 2010/2011 Season - Round 18
8:15pm, Saturday 11 December 2010
at Skilled Stadium, Robina

Gold Coast United FC 2
(Bas van den Brink 21’, James Brown 66’')
Wellington Phoenix FC 0

    Crowd: 1,716


    Gold Coast United FC :
    Player listing:
    1.Glen MOSS [gk], 3.Michael THWAITE, 5.ROBSON (7.Zenon CARAVELLA 20’) (2.Steve PANTELIDIS 72’) , 6.Dino DJULBIC, 10.Jason CULINA (c), 11.Bruce DJITE (19.Andrew BARISIC 82’), 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 16.Kristian REES, 18.James BROWN, 22.Adama TRAORE, 24.John CURTIS
    Substitutes not used: 20. Scott HIGGINS (gk)

    Coach: Miron Bleiberg

    Yellow Cards: Dino Djulbic 50’, James Brown 70’, Andrew Barisic 84’, Kristian Rees 89’
    Red Cards: Nil

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    1.Mark PASTON [gk] (19.Danny VUKOVIC [gk] +43’), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 6.Tim BROWN, 8.Paul IFILL, 9.Chris GREENACRE (7.Leo BERTOS 69’), 11.DANIEL (21.Marco ROJAS 59’), 13.Troy HEARFIELD, 15.Jade NORTH, 17.Vince LIA, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c)
    Substitutes not used: 23.Dylan MACALLISTER

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Vince Lia 26’, Ben Sigmund 49’, Andrew Durante 52’, Jade North 65’
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Allan Milliner 2/10
    Assistants: David Walsh, Ashley Beecham; Fourth official: Nathan MacDonald

    Pitch rating: 3/10

    Game rating: 3/10

    BOTN Player Points :

    3. Sebastian Van den Brink (GCU)
    2. Manny Muscat (WP)
    1. Jason Culina (GC)

    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. FFA has not this season accredited any Photographers for BOTN, so any photos used here, unless attributed, are as supplied by FFA and used by permission.

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