Hyundai A-League - 2010/2011 - Season 6

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Wellington downed by a team
with greater Heart
By Jeremy Ruane
(with the compliments of

2010/2011 Hyundai A-League - Round 7
3:00pm, Sunday 19 September 2010
at Melbourne Football Stadium (AAMI Park)

Melbourne Heart FC 2
(John Aloisi 51', Alex Terra 66')
Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Tim Brown 75')

(Photo linked from FFA site)

A strong second half showing from Melbourne Heart saw the home team secure a hard-earned but well deserved 2-1 win over Wellington Phoenix at Melbourne Football Stadium (AAMI Park) on September 19, a result which continued the visitors' indifferent run of form on the road in the Hyundai A-League.

5,698 fans - including a healthy vocal contingent supporting the New Zealand team - saw a largely tame first half unfold, Simon Colosimo's glancing header in the fifth minute, from a Josip Skoko free-kick, the only action of note in the first quarter-hour.

During this period, and beyond, referee Peter Green signalled his intentions, or, more to the point, didn't! To say he was lenient is an understatement! Players from both teams weren't slow to pick up on this, and while the official generally halted proceedings when they took the spirit of the Laws of the Game too far, he certainly didn't referee by the book, something which the players generally welcomed.

Green's approach contributed to a largely free-flowing game - if only the opportunities to score had been as uninhibited! Wellington squandered a glorious chance to open the scoring in the seventeenth minute, following a lovely move involving Chris Greenacre, Ben Sigmund, Andrew Durante and Leo Bertos.

The last-mentioner's cross into the goalmouth found Greenacre arriving on cue, but the outstanding Michael Marrone - he had a whale of a game - nicked the ball off the striker's toes as he was about to shoot. At the very least, Wellington should have had a corner as compensation, but Greenacre wasn't alone in being left open-mouthed when a goal-kick was awarded '

Melbourne central defender Brendan Hammill had picked up an injury prior to this incident, and his departure saw Rutger Worm introduced from the bench. He wasted little time in making his mark on proceedings, latching onto a Skoko pass in the 22nd minute before picking out the head of John Aloisi with a measured cross which the striker headed down towards Gerald Sibon.

It was a difficult volley which the midfielder sent sailing over the bar by a similar margin to that which Nick Ward missed the target in the 27th minute, at the end of a Wellington raid which featured the mercurial talents of Paul Ifill and Bertos.

After the lively Alex Terra had rattled the side-netting on receipt of an Aloisi through ball, Manny Muscat's mis-timed twenty yarder gave Clint Bolton little cause for concern on the half-hour, while Sibon had Vukovic scrambling across his goal six minutes later to ensure his low twenty-five yarder fizzed past the post, after the midfielder cut inside off the right flank in order to let fly.

Five minutes before the interval, Wellington spurned another good chance to open the scoring when Tim Brown was unable to capitalise on clever play by Ward, who wriggled through two challenges inside the penalty area before setting up his fellow midfielder.

Three minutes later, a defensive lapse by Sibon let in Bertos, only for Bolton to react swiftly and scramble the ball to safety. The resulting corner saw Brown unleash a screamer from the edge of the penalty area which cannoned to safety off a defender - it was a sure-fire certainty for the 'Goal of the Season' finalists had it been on target!

The final act of the half saw Worm go desperately close to breaking the deadlock with a wickedly struck swerving drive, which missed the far post by a matter of inches as the half-time whistle blew.

The goal the game desperately needed came five minutes after the resumption. And it was worth the wait! A gorgeous move ignited by Worm saw Aloisi link with Sibon, whose one-two in the penalty area with Terra allowed the Dutchman to steer an inviting low cross into the goalmouth, where Aloisi - fine off-the-ball movement - was arriving on cue to stab the ball home from close range.

Having taken the lead, Melbourne's confidence sky-rocketed, and they twice came agonisingly close to extending their advantage in the next eight minutes. The first chance deserved better fate, Worm again the instigator. He linked with Sibon and Skoko, who spread play wide for the rampaging figure of Marrone.

The overlapping fullback's cross was a beauty, finding Aloisi arriving at full stretch beyond the far post. He steered his shot on target, but Vukovic was perfectly placed to deny him.

In the 58th minute, Aloisi squandered a glorious chance to make it 2-0, after beginning a move which featured Wayne Srhoj and the outstanding Worm, whose cross was inch-perfect for Terra to direct goalwards.

Vukovic pulled off a magnificent save diving to his left to keep the ball out by the post, but could only parry the ball into the stride of Aloisi, who did the unimaginable - two yards out, ' keeper prone, untended goal at his mercy ' the underside of the crossbar shook as the striker's shot cannoned off it back into play.

It was a real let-off for Wellington, to which they responded via Ifill, whose shot deflected into the stride of Ward. Bolton was out before the midfielder could blink to save at his feet on the hour.

Worm and Terra both went close soon after, while Sibon, from a Dean Heffernan corner, directed his header straight at Vukovic as Melbourne piled on the pressure, their ascendancy threatened in the 64th minute when Brown sent Ifill charging through the inside left channel. Sibon's superbly timed challenge denied the striker, and maintained Melbourne's one-goal advantage.

Which they doubled in the 66th minute. Ward was caught in possession just outside his penalty area by the ever-industrious Sibon, and Terra quickly appeared on the scene, scything into the eighteen yard box before unleashing an unerring shot across the diving figure of Vukovic and into the far corner of the net.

2-0 up and cruising, Melbourne took their foot off the throttle, and nearly paid the price. Wellington 's share of possession - something they had largely been starved of when their hosts were in the ascendancy - began to increase visibly, and fifteen minutes from time, they got back into the contest from left field.

The left-hand side of the field, to be exact. That ' s where Ifill popped up to deliver a super cross out of broken play which found Brown steaming in on the far post completely unmarked. Tap-in, 2-1, game on.

Try as they might, the visitors couldn't get back on level terms, though it wasn't for the want of trying. Melbourne's defence held firm in the face of numerous assaults on goal by Bertos, Ifill MacAllister and substitute Troy Hearfield, but when the final whistle sounded, Melbourne took great heart from a hard-earned 2-1 win over mid-table opponents with whom the league debutants are now level on the standings.

2010/2011 Hyundai A-League - Round 7
3:00pm, Sunday 19 September 2010
at Melbourne Football Stadium (AAMI Park)

Melbourne Heart FC 2
(John Aloisi 51', Alex Terra 66')

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Tim Brown 75')

    Crowd: 5,698


    Melbourne Heart FC :
    Player listing:
    1.Clint BOLTON (gk), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Brendan HAMILL (7.Rutger WORM 19), 4.Simon COLOSIMO (c), 6.Matt THOMPSON, 9.Gerald SIBON, 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 11.ALEX TERRA (19.Eli BABALJ 68), 15.John ALOISI, 20.Josip SKOKO (22.Nick KALMAR 62), 23.Dean HEFFERNAN.

    Substitutes not used: 12. Peter Zois (rgk)

    Coach: John van 't Schip (Netherlands)

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards: Nil

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    19. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Tony LOCHHEAD (23.Dylan MACALLISTER 62), 4.Nick WARD (11.DANIEL 72), 6.Tim BROWN, 7.Leo BERTOS, 8.Paul IFILL, 9.Chris GREENACRE (13.Troy HEARFIELD 56), 15.Jade NORTH, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c)

    Substitutes not used: 1. Mark PASTON (rgk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Manny Muscat 45'+2
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Peter Green 5/10
    Assistant referees: Shaun Evans, Hakan Anaz; Fourth official: Kevin Docherty

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Rutger Worm (MH)
    2. Gerald Sibon (MH)
    1. Michael Marrone (MH)

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    Game rating: 5/10

    Match Report and ratings: by Jeremy Ruane

Picture Gallery


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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